OpenBSD 6.8 Released With Support For New PowerPC64 Platform

Yesterday, marking the 25th anniversary of the OpenBSD project, its founder Theo de Raadt, officially announced the release of a new version, OpenBSD 6.8.

Starting in October 1995, OpenBSD 6.8 is its 48th release that comes with numerous updates, a new arm64 and armv7 hardware support, security and kernel improvements, and new userland features.

As you may know, OpenBSD is a free, open source, and security-oriented 4.4BSD-based UNIX-like operating system. It is also one of the most popular distributions of the BSD family.

Also Read: 20 Years of The FreeBSD Foundation: Interview With Deb Goodkin

OpenBSD 6.8: What’s New?

As OpenBSD already supports a number of platforms such as alpha, amd64, arm64, armv7, hppa, i386, landisk, macppc, octeon, loongson, and sparc64, version 6.8 has now added support for a new powerpc64 platform including POWER8 and POWER9 CPUs.

OpenBSD 6.8 now features time-counting in userland to eliminate the need for context switching whenever a process needs the current time. Subsequently, it improves the speed and responsiveness of several real-world software like browsers and office suites.

Additionally, it has also brought new userland features along with bug fixes and tweaks. For instance, the ability to set and display video control values directly on the command line, control for backlight compensation to video utility, and a darker xenodm (X Display Manager) login widget.

Furthermore, v6.8 also includes various kernel improvements including a new kstat utility that allows kernels to expose statistics to userland.

Here’s a brief summary of other key updates to OpenBSD 6.8:

  • Improved hardware support and driver bugfixes
  • New abl driver to control backlight brightness on Intel-based Apple machines
  • New bcmtmon (Broadcom BCM2711 temperature monitor) driver for the temperature sensor on the Raspberry Pi 4
  • Made OpenBSD boot on the ODROID-C4
  • Improvements to wireless network drivers
  • IEEE 802.11 wireless stack improvements and bugfixes
  • Install images called *.fs changed to *.img to accommodate some UEFI bootloaders
  • Converted macppc, octeon and loongson to use machine-independent installboot
  • Improvements in the FFS2 file system such as improved reliability and speed of checking
  • Addition of wg in-kernel driver for WireGuard VPN communication
  • New features and other enhancements to LibreSSL 3.2.2 and OpenSSH 8.4

The list of changes does not end here. For complete details, you can read the official OpenBSD 6.8 changelog.

How To Get OpenBSD 6.8?

If you’re already using the previous OpenBSD 6.7, you can simply upgrade your sysetm to v6.8 by following the instructions as given in the Upgrade Guide.

You can also install OpenBSD 6.8 from scratch by downloading the installation image for your respective architecture from the download page or from a number of alternate mirror sites.