Running FreeBSD 10.1 on the Raspberry Pi

FreeBSD 10.1-RELEASE became available at 14 November 2014.
This is my experience with running it on the Raspberry Pi model B.


First and good news, this release available for the arm platform natively.
This mean that we can download versions for the arm platform from the main ftp site

New console driver
This release use the new console driver, vt(4).
We don’t need to change /boot/loader.conf file, but we still need to change terminal type in /etc/ttys file:


We still don’t have packages and package management tool for the arm platform:


So, we should compile applications from the ports tree.

GPIO and I2C
One of the most interesting for me is the i2c protocol support.
During boot we can see gpio, i2c and spi devices.


GPIO works as usually.

But standard i2c(8) utility still doesn’t work.


Surprisingly, my version of the i2c utility no longer work in this release.


I will investigate this issue.


15 thoughts on “Running FreeBSD 10.1 on the Raspberry Pi

  1. Hi,

    I am intending to use FreeBSD on a raspberry pi to run a server (Boa). I saw the reference to vt and /etc/ttys, and it made me think that it might help me with the problem I am facing. The text is running off of the screen on an old TV (RCA type plug). I have tried editing /boot/msdos/config.txt with overscan and framebuffer settings but the problem is still the same. I have also tried checking the /etc/ttys file which is the same as above so I assume that this is already included in the img that I downloaded.

    Do you have any advice?


    • Hi

      It’s look like you need to define the TV standard for composite output in the /boot/msdos/config.txt file:
      sdtv_mode=0 Normal NTSC
      sdtv_mode=1 Japanese version of NTSC – no pedestal
      sdtv_mode=2 Normal PAL
      sdtv_mode=3 Brazilian version of PAL – 525/60 rather than 625/50, different subcarrier

      You can read more about this here:

  2. Yes, I think that is a great resource. I have tried many permutations of those settings, eventually trying frame buffer settings i.e. “framebuffer_height=720”. Unfortunately this does not seem to work. I don’t understand why but it seems to me that if I could set the terminal or the system console characteristics I might have a usable configuration… When I use vidcontrol -i mode I get one entry repeated.



  3. Yes! Depending on what the overscan or framebuffer settings are in /boot/msdos/config.txt. It can be garbled or clear (more or less the same as when the system arrives at the login prompt). I can always read that screen/prompt. Although sometimes its off the bottom of the screen.

  4. Hi, just wanted to mention that I have gotten the Pi working with TV, composite inputs:

    With a screen that is 11.25 inches wide and 8.5 inches high. Also can shh and ftp to Pi.

    Have a good day,


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