OpenBSD Journal

Octeon and Beagle now Full-Fledged Architectures

Contributed by tbert on from the welcome-to-the-club-now-get-to-work dept.

As some of you may have noticed, the OpenBSD architecture family has two new members, Beagle and Octeon. Jasper Lievisse Adriaanse(jasper@) and Patrick Wildt(patrick@) were kind enough to tell us about their efforts bringing these ports up to spec.


I just tried to get that new ARM stuff running. I based my work on a WIP diff from miod@, debugged its problems to get the systems to boot, fixed some panics and other problems. Also I worked on getting the L2 cache usable, for some additional speed, but that's not enabled in the tree. Plus, I worked on making some drivers more generic, by putting them on a cortex0-bus, instead of having them attach on beagle0 or so.

PandaBoard related I have mostly/only worked on EHCI/USB and the drivers which were needed to set it up (clock control, gpio, ...).

Future work? I've been working and progressing on:

  • SMP
  • hard-float userland
  • "one kernel for them (= boards) all"
  • flattened device tree support (correlates a lot with the item before)
  • FreeScale i.MX6 SoC (runs very well)
  • Samsung Chromebook (Exynos 5250)
The first four items will still take a while until I have something stable
and well written for OpenBSD, but it's ongoing (though slow, because
of -ETooManyProjects) work.

OpenBSD/octeon is a port to systems with a Cavium Octeon (Plus) CPU using the MIPS64 architecture. This allows for using a lot of the low level MIPS64 code that's already part of OpenBSD. The port was originally developed by IIJ and imported into OpenBSD in 2010, however a lack of readily available hardware prevented this port from really taking off.

Then in 2013 Ubiquiti Networks released the EdgeRouter Lite (ERL) platform which sports an Octeon CPU. This sparked a renewed interest in the original port. The code that was already in OpenBSD was already fairly complete and just needed that final push to make it actually usable.

chris@ was friendly enough to send me an ERL as well as CAM-0100 board. The fact that the latter board had a CF slot made this my primary development board as currently it's the only way of having local storage on this platform. In the course of the next few months I worked on fixing various issues and wrote an installer to go along with it. During the t2k13 hackathon I also started working on sorting out the remaining issues with SMP support that was started by syuu@, and I also began working on a real bootloader. Neither of these are finished at the moment; but perhaps by the time OpenBSD 5.5 goes to the CD plant I have more to report on this.

There are still some outstanding projects such as USB support and a real standalone bootloader, but generally the port is maturing and 5.4 will be the first official release supporting OpenBSD/octeon.

Octeon hardware is still scarce among developers; do note that there is a request for various unsupported boards that will be able to run OpenBSD/octeon once a developer gets their hands on them.

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Renaud Allard (renaud) on

    This is really good news, congratulations.
    I think the "one kernel for them (= boards) all" would be marvellous. Keep up the good work.

  2. By Michael Schenck ( on

    I'm pretty interested in the effort around supporting OpenBSD on the ARM-based Chromebook. Apologies for the newbie question, but where can I look to see what work is needed to support these neat little netbooks?

    1. By raindog308 ( on

      > I'm pretty interested in the effort around supporting OpenBSD on the ARM-based Chromebook. Apologies for the newbie question, but where can I look to see what work is needed to support these neat little netbooks?

      Yes, that looks to be an ideal OBSD laptop. I'm partial to the SSD-drived Samsung Chrome 3 - cheap, full-size-ish keyboard, wireless, more than enough disk, etc.

      Might start by booting off a flash drive and seeing what dmesg has to report.

      The basic "how to boot off USB" is easy to find...for example:

      Might want to make a recovery disk first to restore your CB to pristine condition...just in case:

  3. By thomasw_ (thomasw_) on

    this is fantastic news, i've been looking forward to running my beaglebone black with OpenBSD. what a splendidly tiny, portable and cost-effective system for so many uses, especially in education where money is always tight. thanks heaps for the stellar work so far!!! i think i will have to make another donation to the OpenBSD foundation to express a small fraction of my gratitude; if only i had more to offer... You devs rock :)

  4. By Motley Fool (MotleyFool) on

    I know at least one D-Link DSR-500 is in developer's hands. Anyone else willing to donate one?

  5. By kapu (kapu) on

    Thank you very much for your work! I can't wait to get one of these boards. I'd like to see a video of your work on this. Too cool.

  6. By Janne Johansson (jj) on

    I just wanted to chip in with Brandon Mercers recount of the early stages which didn't make it into the article in time:
    Early on I was just trying to get the "experimental" beagle port to
    run on my Pandaboard. Shortly after that there was an arm hackathon
    that produced this giant diff. Shortly before g2k12 I got my hands on
    it and tried to see what it did. Patrick@ and I collaborated on making
    things work even though he wasn't at the hackathon. There were various
    things that needed ironed out to make it boot into multi user mode on
    -current. Fast forward a bit. There were a couple attempts to get this
    diff in tree but they failed because they broke the existing
    architectures. Eventually Patrick@ got things into tree which made it
    much easier to collaborate on changes. At the next general hackathon
    I'd hoped to bring the installer up to a usable state and get
    snapshots working, but those came a few weeks later. What I did start
    at the hackathon was porting the network driver over for the
    beaglebone. Now that we've got updated docs, snapshots, network and a
    working installer I hope that other folks can start to use OpenBSD on
    their arm boards. We've seen a couple new arm folks contributing
    recently which is really encouraging. It definitely helped take our
    beagle port to a supported platform.

  7. By sneaker (sneaker) on octeon mailing list?

    Will there be an openbsd-octeon mailing list?

    1. By Jasper (jasper) on

      > Will there be an openbsd-octeon mailing list?

      I don't think there's enough octeon-talk on the mailinglists yet to warrant that. But if you want to discuss octeon, please don't be afraid to use misc@ or tech@ ;-)


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