FreeBSD preview for Ten64!

Yes, it’s here!

FreeBSD, and it’s downstream distributions (pfSense, OPNSense, FreeNAS/TrueNAS) have been the number one request we have had since first announcing the Ten64. I’m delighted to tell you it is now possible to run FreeBSD on a Ten64!

Dmitry Salychev has been working on a DPAA2 driver for a while now, and after a LOT of work it is now in a functional state. Given the complexity of DPAA2 this is no small feat!

The following functionality works in the current development branch:

  • PCI Express including booting from NVMe drive
  • USB3 including booting from a USB drive
  • DPAA2 Network Interfaces in unmanaged (legacy) mode
    Network interfaces will always appear as ‘UP’ regardless of physical status.

The following hardware features are currently not supported:

  • DPAA2 Network interfaces in managed mode
    • Full SFP support (e.g managing the SFP state, GPIOs, reading transceiver EEPROM and sensors) is likely to require further work as well
  • SD card (clock driver issue, to debug)
  • Real time clock (Epson RX-8035) - I have been working on a modified ds1307(4) driver, but need to troubleshoot issues with FreeBSD’s I2C (vf_i2c) driver first.
  • Hardware sensors
    • Including dynamic fan speed control
  • GPIOs driven by the PCA954x expander (including the ADMIN LED/button, SFP and LTE/cellular modem control)
  • DPAA2 Crypto/SEC engine (FreeBSD does have an armv8 crypto/AES driver, however)

This is a PREVIEW so there ARE bugs and performance issues

As the DPAA2 driver has not been optimized yet, as well as the FreeBSD kernel being compiled in debug (INVARIANTS) mode, performance isn’t as good as Linux. I am getting around 400mbps downstream from iperf3.

That said, so far the general FreeBSD experience on the Ten64 has proven to be surprisingly stable despite both the FreeBSD branch and driver not being ‘STABLE’. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past few weeks doing ‘shakedown’ testing and will continue to do so.

How do I try this?

Glad you asked! A FreeBSD preview image has been added to the appliance store, so you can do this in the recovery firmware to install it:

baremetal-deploy freebsd-dpaa2-preview /dev/nvme0n1

Alternatively, you can download and write this image (compressed qcow2, ~400MiB expands to 10GiB):

curl -O
write-image-disk freebsd-14.0-CURRENT-ten64-2022-06-01.qcow2 /dev/nvme0n1

If installing manually, you must change the network mode to legacy:

# In recovery firmware
fw_setenv sfpmode legacy
fw_setenv gbemode legacy
# In U-Boot
setenv sfpmode legacy
setenv gbemode legacy

Firstboot Instructions
On the first boot, FreeBSD will attempt to start DHCP on all interfaces.
As all network interfaces currently appear UP to FreeBSD (due to legacy mode), it will take a while for it to timeout.

# FreeBSD launching the async/background DHCP client
dpni0: link state changed to UP
# FreeBSD launching the normal (synchronous) DHCP client
Starting dhclient. 

Use Ctrl-C to stop these requests and get to the login prompt faster.

Edit /etc/rc.conf to set the ifconfig for your preferred interface:

ifconfig_DEFAULT="DHCP inet6 accept_rtadv"


ifconfig_dpni6="DHCP inet6 accept_rtadv"

Reboot or run /etc/netstart to make these changes effective.

DPNI’s are numbered the same as Linux, just with dpni instead of eth

Note: The kernel branch for DPAA2 is slightly behind the latest 14-CURRENT branch, so you may see kernel version warnings when attempting to install packages.

Known issues

What to do if you find a problem
Please check the DPAA2 driver issues on GitHub first.

When filing a bug report, please mention:
Hardware: Ten64 and/or VFIO
Kernel commit from uname -a:

FreeBSD ten64-freebsd 14.0-CURRENT FreeBSD 14.0-CURRENT #1 173aa2a1fe: Tue May 17 21:13:05 UTC 2022     matt@freebsd:/usr/obj/usr/src/freebsd-src/arm64.aarch64/sys/TEN64-DEV arm64

In this case, the kernel commit is 173aa2a1fe

As this code is from the development branch of FreeBSD, please do not bother official FreeBSD support channels with any issues, unless you can confirm the issue exists on an official image. (Hint: Running FreeBSD as a VM on Linux is one such way to do this)

(Note: From time to time, my tree may diverge from Dmitry’s. My source branch is at GitHub - mcbridematt/freebsd-src at ten64 )

Q: What does this mean for downstream projects like pfSense and OPNSense

It is still very early to tell, given this is being developed on the FreeBSD 14-CURRENT branch, so presumably one would need to wait until this driver is merged into FreeBSD and then those projects do a 14.0-STABLE release.

That said, someone (maybe you?) could try to compile a version of those projects with the DPAA2 driver…

Q: Does this work under VFIO (DPAA2 passthrough)?
Yes! (And special thanks to Dmitry for restructuring the driver slightly so it can work under the VFIO/QEMU ‘security model’)

Apart from the DPAA2 driver, running FreeBSD on the Ten64 has been made possible by previous work from:

  • Semihalf sponsored by Alstom added basic Layerscape support first for the LS1046 and later the LS1028A
  • Bjoern A. Zeeb who worked on the MAC and PHY aspects of the DPAA2 driver.
  • Various other FreeBSD developers who have written patches for NXP Layerscape hardware

I’ll try to do my best to merge the DPAA2 drivers to the FreeBSD 14-CURRENT within two months. The only obstacle is to free resources correctly in order not to cause kernel panics when driver is compiled as a module and unloaded.

Btw, I’m looking forward to compile pfSense with the DPAA2 support, so any help is welcome.

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Got also a Ten64 board recently, It’s a great news, thanks for your hard work.

How can I help you (I have little knowledge on Freebsd side).

Just try to install this FreeBSD preview image and check how it’ll work for you and report bugs if you want to be involved a bit deeply, or wait till the new versions of pfSense or FreeNAS/TrueNAS with DPAA2 available.

some kind of a warning:

If you’ll be building FreeBSD with DPAA2 drivers from sources in order to run on Ten64 with the latest firmware (0.8.9+), be careful with SoC overheating under load as fan speed isn’t controlled at the moment. I’d recommend to down-clock Ten64 to 1200 MHz (Cpu temperature and fan speed - #4 by mcbridematt) in this case to avoid some unexpected kernel panics.

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I have been running ten64 with main infrastructure components ( hostapd, idc-dhcpd, named, nginx, ipxe, vsftpd, no jails though) for a few days and I must say that this has been the most stable experience, despite the fact that 14.0 is still kind of alpha.
The boot is fast, the OS is responding. The only (very) annoying bit so far is the noise of the fan when the cover of the appliance is on.
I did not get any kernel panic at all , but I am cross-building sources from an amd64 computer.

Thanks for your work guys.


Great to hear!

There is a panic issue under heavy network load I’ve been working on debugging (not the make world panic above).

Another FreeBSD developer, Bjoern A Zeeb has done some initial work on the CPU temperature sensor.
It doesn’t seem like FreeBSD has a full temperature control framework like Linux yet, but maybe we could write a driver allowing the fan speed to be controlled via sysctl.

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I just ordered a ten64 myself, looking forwards to kicking FreeBSD arm64 tires on bz & dsl’s work. Pretty standard SOHO stuff.

Hi, is there a FreeBSD image available in the app store still?

root@recovery000afa242b15:/# appstore-list
Repository traverse
        traverse-openwrt-arm64       :Traverse OpenWrt build for ARM64 (disk devices)
        muvirt                       :muvirt (disk install)
Repository officialdistro
        opensuse-tumbleweed-jeos     :OpenSUSE Tumbleweed JeOS
        opensuse-leap-15.4-jeos      :OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 JeOS
        opensuse-leap-15.4-jeos-vm   :OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 virtual machine optimized JeOS
        rockstor                     :Rockstor rockstor
        home-assistant-os            :Home Assistant Operating System
        [10 entries hidden due to incompatibility with this platform]

root@recovery000afa242b15:/# baremetal-deploy freebsd-dpaa2-preview /dev/nvme0n1
ERROR: Appliance freebsd-dpaa2-preview not found in downloaded lists

I’ve downloaded the url and will try writing this directly.

That looks like the output from the initial factory release, it doesn’t have the extra compatibility features that were added later.

Update the system firmware and it should appear: Just received your Ten64? Update your firmware (v0.8.10 / 2022-03-15)

The DPAA2 driver landed in -CURRENT in October so it might be better to use a snapshot build rather than mine:
I haven’t had a chance to try them yet myself.


It’s amazing work on the firmware upgrade, and latest current snapshot works OOTB. Thanks everybody!

$ FreeBSD 14.0-CURRENT #0
  main-n259905-231d75568f16: Sun Jan  1 09:01:46 UTC 2023 arm64

Via my mastodon acct today:

I spent yesterday working on the replacement router a delightful ARM hardware products for Edge Computing and IoT Traverse Techn - not your standard pc. The team have done an outstanding open source experience here from design to docs and usage. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever used a piece of hw that is so thoroughly delightful. The rescue system is embedded, the serial console just works, and it’s all editable! Huge props to Dmitry, Bjorn and Matt who added the FreeBSD support which I will be using.

I’m looking forwards to fiddling with the rescue env and all the lua scripts that make this work.