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18 October 2012, 10:50

NetBSD 6.0 released with initial Raspberry Pi support

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NetBSD logo The developers at the NetBSD Project have released version 6.0 of NetBSD, a major update to their BSD-based operating system that includes a wide range of upgrades and enhancements. Among the notable changes are scalability improvements on multi-core systems, support for thread-local storage (TLS) and a new Logical Volume Manager (LVM).

NetBSD 6.0 has had its disk quota subsystem rewritten, and adds new subsystems to handle flash devices and NAND controllers. It also introduces a new packet filter (NPF) designed for multi-core systems: NPF can handle TCP/IP traffic filtering, stateful inspection and network address translation (NAT). Other changes include an experimental CHFS filesystem for flash devices, support for the Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) protocol and a BSD-licensed PGP implmentation (netpgp). Additionally, the new version of NetBSD improves hardware support by adding a number of new device drivers and updating existing drivers.

The 6.0 release also includes updates to several ports including ARM, PowerPC, Xen and MIPS. The ARM port now supports Cortex-A8 processors and a number of new systems-on-a-chip (SoCs), and has initial support for the popular Raspberry Pi mini-computer; full support for the Raspberry Pi and other "major ARM improvements" will be added in a future release. Symmetric multi-processing (SMP) has been improved on the PowerPC port, which now supports Book E Freescale MPC85xx (e500 core) processors. The Xen port includes SMP support for Xen domU kernels, initial suspend and resume support, and support for PCI pass-through. The developers point out that the MIPS port has also had a major rework, adding support for SMP and 64-bit processors, as well as other processor models and SoC boards.

An overview of all of the major changes and new features in version 6.0 of NetBSD can be found in the announcement blog post and in the release notes. NetBSD 6.0 is available to download for various platforms from one of the project's mirrors and documentation is provided.

The developers have dedicated the fourteenth major release of NetBSD to Allen Briggs, who passed away in March of this year. Briggs was a long-time developer at the project and "the main driving force behind the initial import of some of our hardware ports." He served on on the project's core team from 2003 to 2006 and is described as "a mentor to many on the project".


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