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13 June 2012, 14:28

OpenBSD forked to create Bitrig

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FOSS icon A group of developers have created "Bitrig", a new fork of the OpenBSD free BSD-based UNIX-like operating system. The developers say that they forked from OpenBSD because they "want to be a bit more loose when it comes to experimenting with features"; as a security-focused distribution, OpenBSD tends to be more conservative when adding new features.

The project's goal is to make the new BSD distribution's base system "as small as possible", in order to allow it to run on embedded systems. Unlike OpenBSD, which supports current as well as more obscure architectures, Bitrig will only target actively developing hardware and architectures such as i386 and amd64; support for ARM devices such as the BeagleBoard and Pandaboard is also being planned. "Legacy platforms are fun to hack on however we are trying to go along with new trends", say the developers.

Instead of GCC, the OpenBSD fork will use the LLVM 3.1 compiler infrastructure with the Clang front end, which should, they say, result in "very significant performance gains" over the latest GNU toolchain – last month, the FreeBSD developers also announced that they would be using LLVM and Clang for version 10 of their operating system. Other planned new features include support for KVM virtualisation and journalling. They also plan to port libc++ and the compiler-rt runtime library in order to remove the GPL-licensed libstdc++ and libgcc.a libraries.

The developers are currently working on the project's first public release and note that their "plan is to have something available for public consumption by the end of June 2012." Following this, they expect to publish development snapshots throughout the year and release candidates on a quarterly basis, with a major new release every year. Further information about Bitrig can be found on the project's FAQ page; source code for the distribution will be "freely available under a non-viral licence".

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