FreeBSD/RISC-V is a architecture port for FreeBSD to run on the RISC-V Instruction-Set Architecture (ISA), able to boot to multi-user mode on the QEMU emulator, Spike simulator and real hardware.


Following a number of commits to the FreeBSD subversion repository in January 2016 (see riscv/history), FreeBSD was the first operating system to have bootable in-tree support for RISC-V. This work was supported by the DARPA CTSRD Project at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory led by RuslanBukin.

The FreeBSD Foundation posted a blog article describing the FreeBSD RISC-V porting effort and merge of architectural support to the FreeBSD base system in January 2016.

Current Status

FreeBSD's support for the RISC-V architecture is currently classified as Tier-2, beginning with FreeBSD 13.0. It was present with Tier-3 support in FreeBSD 12.

Earlier versions of the privileged ISA and ELF psABI was supported in FreeBSD 11, but both saw breaking changes in the interim so FreeBSD 12 is the first version with which the current port is backwards compatible.

Address Space

Though RISC-V can support up to a 57-bit virtual addressing scheme, the FreeBSD/RISC-V port currently supports the 39-bit virtual addressing scheme (02a371289a37) and partially supports (userspace only) the 48-bit (31218f3209ac) scheme.

There is sv39, which is required, and sv48 and sv57, which are optional. Each is just the previous one with an extra level, nothing else. Hardware supporting sv57 is required to support sv48, and hardware supporting sv48 is required to support sv39. The svXX designation is the number of bits of virtual address supported; however, the encoding for sv64 mode is reserved.

Given that the current page table formats are limited to a 56-bit physical address space it's unclear how useful anything above sv57 would be.

Supported Platforms

Available Platforms




Tested Features





fully supported




fully supported

SMP, virtio-block, virtio-net



in review

SMP, mmcsd

abandoned (a few FreeBSD developers have the prototype boards)

Future products may use the same or a similar SoC

HiFive Unleashed (SiFive FU540)


fully supported

SMP, mmcsd, ethernet

discontinued; "basically impossible to obtain" -- KristofProvost

HiFive Unmatched (SiFive FU740)


fully* supported in 14-CURRENT

SMP, PCIe, NVMe, USB, ethernet

Order on Mouser; Order on Crowd Supply

*: except for SD card (see board-specific page)

Announced Platforms

These are boards that we believe will be supported at some point.




Tested Features



PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit


status unknown

Purchase on Crowd Supply

Nezha RISC-V Linux SBC


status unknown

Purchase on AliExpress

Unsupported Platforms

The Kendryte K210 based systems will not be supported on FreeBSD due to MMU and RAM limitations.

There is no existing or planned support for 32-bit RISC-V systems at the time of writing (April 2021). This choice could be revisited if this proves to be a popular hardware configuration, but so far it has not.



A non-comprehensive list of committers who currently work on RISC-V:

IRC channel

See IRC/Channels.

Mailing List



After r356499, the default toolchain is the in-tree clang/lld.

ExternalGCC is also supported.


All FreeBSD RISC-V sources have been upstreamed and development happens in HEAD. For the development history, see riscv/history.

HEAD build status: https://ci.freebsd.org/job/FreeBSD-main-riscv64-build/

13-STABLE build status: https://ci.freebsd.org/job/FreeBSD-stable-13-riscv64-build/

Quick Start

This section describes how to boot the official release snapshots in QEMU.

To build your own image for development or customization, see #Build Instructions, below.

Install required packages

sudo pkg install opensbi u-boot-qemu-riscv64 qemu

Note: emulators/qemu-devel also works.

Download FreeBSD/RISC-V virtual machine image

fetch https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/snapshots/VM-IMAGES/14.0-CURRENT/riscv64/Latest/FreeBSD-14.0-CURRENT-riscv-riscv64.raw.xz
xz --decompress FreeBSD-14.0-CURRENT-riscv-riscv64.raw.xz

Optionally, extend the image using truncate(1). The root filesystem will grow to fill the free space upon first boot.

truncate -s 10G FreeBSD-14.0-CURRENT-riscv-riscv64.raw

Boot image in QEMU

Spawn a VM with 2 CPUs and 2GB of memory:

qemu-system-riscv64 -machine virt -m 2048M -smp 2 -nographic \
    -bios /usr/local/share/opensbi/lp64/generic/firmware/fw_jump.elf \
    -kernel /usr/local/share/u-boot/u-boot-qemu-riscv64/u-boot.bin \
    -drive file=FreeBSD-14.0-CURRENT-riscv-riscv64.raw,format=raw,id=hd0 -device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
    -netdev user,id=net0,ipv6=off,hostfwd=tcp::8022-:22 -device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0

Log in as root without password. You can connect ssh into the VM using port 8022 on the host.

For more information on running in QEMU, see riscv/QEMU.

Build Instructions

This section describes how to build a bootable riscv64 image from source.

In order to compile FreeBSD for the riscv64 target, a cross-toolchain is needed. By default the in-tree LLVM will be bootstrapped during the build, and the system toolchain can also be used on any FreeBSD system with base LLVM version 9 or greater, but if you wish to use an external GCC toolchain instead then see the documentation towards the bottom of this page.

Cross-compile FreeBSD

Build FreeBSD world

No different than other architectures:

make TARGET_ARCH=riscv64 buildworld

Using GCC package

make CROSS_TOOLCHAIN=riscv64-gcc9 TARGET_ARCH=riscv64 buildworld

Using a toolchain built by hand

setenv CROSS_BINUTILS_PREFIX $PREFIX/riscv64-unknown-freebsd12.0/bin/
setenv CROSS_COMPILER_PREFIX $PREFIX/bin/riscv64-unknown-freebsd12.0-

setenv X_COMPILER_TYPE gcc

make TARGET_ARCH=riscv64 buildworld

Build FreeBSD kernel

make TARGET_ARCH=riscv64 buildkernel

For QEMU add KERNCONF=QEMU in make parameters. As above, set the appropriate arguments if using GCC.



OpenSBI is a RISC-V bootloader and SBI firmware. It is a recommended alternative to BBL that has a larger feature set and is more actively maintained.

To get started with OpenSBI, please install sysutils/opensbi. This will install the OpenSBI firmware files for various platforms. See the section below on running QEMU for an example of booting with OpenSBI. Note that a version of OpenSBI is shipped with QEMU, as of QEMU version 4.2. It can be selected with the "-bios default" option, but it may lag behind the OpenSBI version available in ports.

OpenSBI can also be built from source. It requires the RISC-V bare-metal toolchain to be installed. Install the riscv64-none-elf-gcc and riscv64-none-elf-binutils (a FLAVOR of devel/binutils) packages.

git clone https://github.com/riscv/opensbi.git
cd opensbi
gmake CROSS_COMPILE=riscv64-none-elf- PLATFORM=generic

The firmware files will be available by default in build/platform/generic/firmware/. Add FW_PAYLOAD_PATH=/path/to/riscv/kernel to the gmake parameters to embed a custom payload into the fw_payload binaries. Add FDT_PAYLOAD_PATH=/path/to/fdt.dtb to the gmake parameters to embed a static device tree blob.

Consult OpenSBI's documentation for information on its supported platforms.

BBL (Berkley Boot Loader)

BBL is the RISC-V bootloader originally used by FreeBSD. It is slowly becoming legacy software in favor of OpenSBI, but it is still maintained and may be useful for bringup on platforms not yet supported by OpenSBI.

To build BBL:

git clone https://github.com/riscv/riscv-pk.git
cd riscv-pk
mkdir build && cd build
setenv PATH ${PATH}:${PREFIX}/bin
setenv CPP cpp
setenv CFLAGS "-nostdlib"
setenv WITH_ARCH rv64gc
../configure --enable-logo --prefix=$PREFIX --host=riscv64-none-elf --without-payload
gmake bbl
unsetenv CFLAGS
unsetenv CPP

This will generate the bbl firmware binary in the current directory.


Install FreeBSD world and kernel

setenv DESTDIR /home/${USER}/riscv-world
make TARGET_ARCH=riscv64 -DNO_ROOT DESTDIR=$DESTDIR installworld
make TARGET_ARCH=riscv64 -DNO_ROOT DESTDIR=$DESTDIR distribution
make TARGET_ARCH=riscv64 -DNO_ROOT DESTDIR=$DESTDIR installkernel

Build a complete rootfs image to run in QEMU

sed -E 's/time=[0-9\.]+$//' METALOG > METALOG.new
echo 'hostname="qemu"' > etc/rc.conf
echo "/dev/vtbd0        /       ufs     rw      1       1" > etc/fstab
echo "./etc/fstab type=file uname=root gname=wheel mode=0644" >> METALOG
echo "./etc/rc.conf type=file uname=root gname=wheel mode=0644" >> METALOG
makefs -D -f 1000000 -o version=2 -s 10g riscv.img METALOG

Or get from artifact.ci.freebsd.org/snapshot/head/latest/riscv/riscv64/riscv.img.zst

Boot FreeBSD

QEMU Emulator

Support for RISC-V has landed upstream in qemu. The easiest way to get started is to install emulators/qemu-devel.


Load tap kernel module if not loaded:

sudo kldload if_tuntap

Configure the network with tap(4):

ifconfig tap0 create up
ifconfig bridge0 create up
ifconfig bridge0 addm em0 addm tap0 # em0 might depends of your ethernet devices

Run QEMU, specifying FreeBSD with -kernel and SBI firmware with -bios

sudo qemu-system-riscv64 -machine virt -m 2048M -smp 2 -nographic -kernel /path/to/kernel -bios /path/to/sbi/firmware -drive file=/path/to/riscv.img,format=raw,id=hd0 -device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 -netdev tap,ifname=tap0,script=no,id=net0 -device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0

If you get mountroot prompt, then indicate to the kernel the location of rootfs:

mountroot> ufs:/dev/vtbd0

This parameter can also be passed into the qemu-system-riscv64 string, specifying the device and partition such as "vtbd0" or "vtbd0p3":

-append "vfs.root.mountfrom=ufs:/dev/vtbd0"


Create sdcard using 'Quick instructions' on https://github.com/ucb-bar/fpga-zynq, then copy bbl to sdcard (to the first msdos partition). Once you have booted linux from sdcard on Zedboard, then you can run FreeBSD/RISC-V:

./fesvr-zynq /mnt/boot/bbl

Ports on RISC-V

See riscv/ports.


A collection of in-progress and planned work as well as some future ideas. Contributions are welcome, so if you'd like to work on something please contact the owner or ask in IRC.


Query RISC-V related bugs here.

New/Missing Features





Fix failing tests


Check the latest run from CI



SBI PMU extension has been proposed, awaiting inclusion in the spec



Investigate the state of ptrace on RISC-V. Make improvements as necessary.

Kernel ifunc support


Support landed in lld here, should be present in lld 11

Port concurrencykit to RISC-V


Currently we use the generic implementation. Upstream: https://github.com/concurrencykit/ck



Add support for EFI runtime services.

Performance Improvements





pmap fixes


Address TODO comments in riscv/pmap.c

pmap Global bit



pmap ASIDs


QEMU supports ASIDs. See: D21922

Future/Larger Projects







Add the MD support for FreeBSD's Linux subsystem

RISC-V Vector Extension Support


Vector extension spec is not yet ratified, but support is beginning to land in GCC/Clang.

RISC-V hypervisor


Necessary support present in OpenSBI. Some resources here.

Useful Links


RISC-V ISA Specifications

RISC-V ABI Specification

RISC-V Supervisor Binary Interface Specification

RISC-V Platform Specification

ELF handling for thread-local storage


FreeBSD Fridays: Introduction to RISC-V

FreeBSD/RISC-V workshop slides video

FreeBSD Foundation blog post on the RISC-V port

FOSDEM 2019 Embedded FreeBSD on a five-core RISC-V processor using LLVM

See Also

Overlap With Other Documentation

ARM board documentation

/!\ The following pages were specifically written for ARM boards. However, much of the information is not ARM-specific, and should be generalized for RISC-V -- but that has not happened yet.


External GCC Toolchain Setup

Follow these instructions if you wish to use an external GCC toolchain rather than the in-tree LLVM toolchain or your host's LLVM toolchain.

Install External GCC Toolchain

Install the riscv64-gcc9 (devel/freebsd-gcc9@riscv64) and riscv64-binutils (devel/binutils@riscv64) packages:

sudo pkg install riscv64-gcc9 riscv64-binutils

This provides /usr/local/share/toolchains/riscv64-gcc9.mk to be used as CROSS_TOOLCHAIN=riscv64-gcc9 when building FreeBSD.

Build GCC toolchain manually

If you prefer, a GCC toolchain can also be compiled from source. This fork is not actively updated or tested, but it should still work fine.

Set up toolchain installation directory

setenv PREFIX $HOME/riscv

Install required packages

sudo pkg install bison gmp mpfr mpc gawk gsed pkgconf texinfo


git clone https://github.com/freebsd-riscv/riscv-gnu-toolchain
cd riscv-gnu-toolchain
git submodule update --init --recursive
./configure --prefix=$PREFIX
gmake -j16 freebsd

riscv (last edited 2022-04-08T16:35:36+0000 by MitchellHorne)