FreeBSD/arm64 is the FreeBSD port to the 64-bit ARM architecture, also known as AArch64 or ARMv8. FreeBSD 11.0 and above include out-of-the-box support for ARMv8, and over 20,000 packages are available in the 3rd party software collection. Cavium's ThunderX is the initial reference platform for the FreeBSD/arm64 port.

See also the state of ports/packages on arm64.

Kyua tracking.


FreeBSD Release Engineering builds specific images for Pine64 and rpi3. The Cavium Thunder and SoftIron Overdrive series are supported via the normal build chain. Images for certain other boards can be built by crochet.


The basic FreeBSD/arm64 support is available in FreeBSD-CURRENT and FREEBSD-11-STABLE. (For reference, also see the history of FreeBSD/arm64 commits).

head build status:

STABLE-12 build status:

STABLE-11 build status:


Build script


The standard buildworld sequence works:

export MAKEOBJDIRPREFIX=<path-to-suitable-objdir>
make buildworld TARGET=arm64


The build sequence for the kernel is a fairly standard one:

export MAKEOBJDIRPREFIX=<path-to-suitable-objdir>
make buildkernel TARGET=arm64

This results in an image called 'kernel' created in:


** See the 'Source' section above for the svn-checkout-path.



ARM Foundation Model

The ARMv8 Foundation Model is available from ARM. You must read and accept a click-through license to obtain it. The Foundation model may be run in a Linux virtual machine, or by using the experimental 64-bit Linux emulation support.

AndrewTurner has a GitHub repo set up to help run on the Foundation Model.


QEMU now has aarch64 system mode emulation support. It is available by installing the qemu-devel package or emulators/qemu-devel port.

The Release Engineers build periodic snapshots, including for arm64 on QEMU. Instructions on where to find these are sent to the shapshots mailing list.

See arm64/QEMU for further details on booting FreeBSD/arm64 in QEMU, including links to AArch64 EFI firmware files that are not included with the QEMU port.

Single Boards


Gem5 instructions


The HiKey is a low cost (~$75 - $100 + shipping) ARMv8 board from Linaro.


Pine64 is pretty well supported system.

Raspberry Pi 3 (RPI3)

This section has moved to arm64/rpi3

Complete Systems

Cavium ThunderX

Cavium's ThunderX is the initial reference target platform for FreeBSD/arm64.

FreeBSD 11.0 supports the ThunderX EVB (evaluation board) and CRB (customer reference board) in SMP mode (48 CPU cores). SATA drives, PCIe expansion cards, and the on-chip network interface are fully supported.

FreeBSD is available on the 2 socket, 96 core Type 2A ThunderX systems at

Demo of SMP kernel on ThunderX

Lenovo ThinkSystem SR330/SR350

These servers are based on the Ampere eMAG chipset. There is ongoing active work to support them.

SoftIron Overdrive 1000

The FreeBSD 12.0R GENERIC memstick installation image works on the SoftIron Overdrive 1000 but requires opensolaris_load="YES" to be set in /boot/loader.conf. This can be performed at the end of installation or on first boot by typing ESC during the (likely garbled) "Beastie" boot screen, and typing:

load /boot/kernel/kernel
load /boot/kernel/opensolaris.ko
load /boot/kernel/zfs.ko

Otherwise, the first boot will hit mountroot>

Once booted, add "opensolaris_load="YES" to /boot/loader.conf with the editor of your choice.

To suppress the garbled Beastie boot screen, add beastie_disable="YES" to /boot/loader.conf

Other notes:

The power button is the vertical chrome rectangle on the front.

Be cautious not to frequently cut power to the OD1K as it may corrupt the firmware.

SoftIron Overdrive 3000

FreeBSD mostly works, other than the internal dual 10G networking, however support for this is being worked on. In the interim PCIe NICs work.



Useful Links

Known Limitations


Search for open PRs with Hardware = arm64.
arm64 port failures are tracked in PR201763

arm64 (last edited 2019-05-02 20:33:43 by MarkLinimon)