FreeBSD on Librem?

Anyone here ever give FreeBSD a try? I haven’t used it on my Purism laptop, but I’ve been playing with it on a new desktop I built, and it’s pretty awesome. Apparently it’s renown for it’s networking stack (Netflix uses it, for example), and even MacOS is based on FreeBSD (obviously with some secret sauce inbuilt).

Their development strategy is a bit different than the Linux GPL ecosystem, in that FreeBSD is developed as a singular item, a complete operating system, out of the box. In other words, they develop the kernel, system utilities, init system, networking stack, and key software components together, as a single package, rather than in “Linux” where all of these items have separate development organizations and get patched together in various “distributions” by different organization (Canonical, Redhat, etc). It typically makes for a more stable OS, particularly when talking about servers, because all of the component pieces are developed together as an integrated whole.

Another interesting aspect is the BSD license, which is super permissive, even more so that GPL. You have to credit the originators, but after that, it’s basically free game. Modify, distribute, even close the code and sell it. In comparison to GPL, you might think this incentivizes companies to “steal” the code and not give back to the community, but apparently upstream support is critical enough for companies like Mac, Netflix, Playstation even, that actually do give back to the community quite a lot.

At any rate, FreeBSD is a Unix-like system, with a similar feel to Linux,and some really cool features and philosophy of design, code, and license. As a final example, they invented and released the first sandbox containerization as security measure, back in 2000, called Jails (nowadays they also do hardware virtualization as well).

If I wasn’t so married to Qubes by now, I’d probably give it a whirl on my 15v4. Anyone else out there play with one of the BSDs?

I don’t have a Librem, but I have played with the BSD’s some.

I think you can get a FreeBSD or NetBSD qube going without too much hassle so that may be worth checking out for you.

The biggest thing I found is that while Linux has an acceptable amount of software choice for most people’s day to day use, the BSD’s have the software for some people’s day to day use.

I was personally most drawn to OpenBSD and it can be run as a desktop OS, but this is not something I recommend for most people as there is not enough software available for most people’s daily computing tasks, and even some of the software that is available isn’t quite the same.

This is just my experience with this and I do have a server running FreeBSD to test things on and my firewall is an OpenBSD firewall, but my combination Plex and NextCloud server running Debian; because, when I set it up, at least one of those couldn’t be easily made to work on *BSD.

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AFAIK Netflix also uses the Amazon infrastructure. do you happen to know for a fact what hardware those servers run on and how the whole thing is set-up ? i’d be interesting to know … for “sci3nc3” of course :mask:

I don’t know what their hardware is. I just know it’s one of the “selling” points in the FreeBSD community. Although I can say that I’m running a brand new Ryzen threadripper, nvidia GPU, totally new hardware, with no compatibility issues that I’ve come across so far. The nvidia firmware is basically a blob though.

I am trying to choose a hypervisor for my Librem Mini 2, and I have recently considered trying out FreeBSD.

dmesg shows this line:
DMI: Purism Librem Mini v2/Librem Mini v2, BIOS 4.12-Purism-4 12/11/2020

I am familiar with QEMU virtual systems, but if possible I would like the booted OS to be minimal so that I could maybe run 2 or 3 different OSs without hardware restarts.

I also want to try out either GUIX or other functionally specified OS configuration approaches.

Open to all input.

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Gnu Guix is very Good, Guix still Not yet been Infected by Fedora/Redhat Enterprise.


Qubes OS uses Xen as a type 1 hypervisor. Currently, I use it with Debian, Fedora, and Whonix.

Your SeaBIOS + Coreboot is outdated, so I highly suggest you update it using the instructions below first.

You can also choose PureBoot or one of its multiple variants, but that is up to you.


Hi Frankly,
Thanks for the tip, just updated my CoreBoot + SeaBIOS.

One thing that was unexpected, is that the screen in the boot process that allows me some time to press ESC and choose a system/drive to boot into now only shows very sporadically or it goes past so quickly that I can’t seem to catch it.

Any idea how to debug this and/or update the length of time to choose the OS to boot into?

I do eventually see the GRUB screen with the blue background, but pre-firmware update, I was getting the Purism logo with the “Press ESC to …blah…”

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No, I usually press/hold the Esc key within half a second of seeing the Purism logo using Coreboot.