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FreeBSD Development Projects

In addition to the mainstream development path of FreeBSD, a number of developer groups are working on the cutting edge to expand FreeBSD's range of applications in new directions. Follow the links below to learn more about these exciting projects.

If you feel that a project is missing, please send the URL and a short description (3-10 lines) to

In addition, some of these projects regularly submit status reports, which can be viewed on the status reports page.


  • FreeBSD Documentation Project: The FreeBSD Documentation Project is a group of people who maintain and write the documentation (such as the Handbook and FAQ) for the FreeBSD project. If you want to help with the documentation project, subscribe to the mailing list and participate.
  • FreeBSD Resources for Newbies: A list of resources to help those new to FreeBSD and UNIX® in general.
  • RELEASE/SNAP finder for FreeBSD FTP servers: A resource that would allow anyone to find a FTP server that contains particular releases and SNAP of FreeBSD. The database is updated daily at 3am Melbourne time (10 hours ahead of UTC).
  • The FreeBSD Diary: A collection of how-to entries aimed at UNIX novices. The aim is to provide a set of step-by-step guides to installing and configuring various ports.
  • The FreeBSD Developers' Handbook
  • Contributing to the FreeBSD Ports Collection
  • The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide: This Web site serves as a supplement to The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide, with the principal goal of enhancing its usefulness. While books like fictional novels can be used and enjoyed for hundreds of years after initial publication, technical manuals like the Networker's Guide are obsoleted in a few years by changes in the product they are written for.


  • Java™ on FreeBSD: This contains information on where to obtain the latest JDK™ for FreeBSD, how to install and run it, and a list of Java™ software that you may find interesting.
  • GNOME on FreeBSD: This contains information on where to obtain the latest GNOME for FreeBSD, how to install and run it, latest project news and updates, FAQ covering FreeBSD-specific GNOME issues, application porting guidelines and much more.
  • KDE on FreeBSD: This contains links to the latest KDE releases for FreeBSD, as well as documentation and tutorials about how to install and run KDE on FreeBSD. Project news and a FreeBSD-specific FAQ are also available.
  • Mono on FreeBSD: Here you can find information about the state of Mono and C# for FreeBSD.
  • on FreeBSD: Information about the various ports.
  • FreeBSD Ports Collection: The FreeBSD Ports Collection provides an easy way to compile and install a wide range of applications with a minimum amount of effort. A list of current ports is available along with a search mechanism to see if a specific application exists in the Ports Collection.
  • FreeBSD Ports distfiles survey: A list which checks the Ports Collection for unfetchable distfiles and provides a summary for each port.
  • FreshPorts: Provides the most up-to-date list of ports and port changes. Add your favourite ports to your watch list and receive email notification of any changes.
  • Pointyhat: Is a server which checks the Ports Collection and keeps package building logs and error logs for each port.


  • Netperf: Network stack optimization for the FreeBSD 5.x and 6.x kernels, a follow-on to the SMPng network stack locking work for FreeBSD 5.3. This project is exploring and implementing optimizations strategies for a multi-threaded network stack.
  • Dingo: FreeBSD Network Cleanup and Consolidation Project, is a collection of work that needs to be done to clean up and advance the FreeBSD network stack. The goal is to remove duplicated functionality while also adding new features that will make FreeBSD simple to use, both for the network engineer, experimenter and the first time user.
  • KAME Project: A free IPv6/IPsec stack for BSD.
  • SYSLOG-SECURE: In August 2001 a standard of syslog was made: RFC3164. This RFC describes some extensions to add security to syslog. The project started in 2002 is to adapt RFC3164 to FreeBSD version of syslog, and to add some security extensions. At least syslog-sign. Both libc and syslogd will be modified. And optional some tools to verify/manage the security will made. All help is welcome. Send an email to for info.


  • Arla: A free AFS client implementation. The main goal is to make a fully functional client with all capabilities of normal AFS. Other planned and implemented things are all the normal management tools and a server.
  • Big Disk: The goal of the Large data storage in FreeBSD project is to make FreeBSD ready for multi-terabyte drive/volume capacities and file systems.
  • Coda: A distributed filesystem. Among its features are disconnected operation, good security model, server replication and persistent client side caching.
  • Journaling versus Soft Updates: Asynchronous Meta-data Protection in File Systems.
  • TCFS: A Transparent Cryptographic File System that is a suitable solution to the problem of privacy for distributed filesystem. By a deeper integration between the encryption service and the filesystem, it results in a complete transparency of use to the user applications. Files are stored in encrypted form and are decrypted before they are read. The encryption/decryption process takes place on the client machine and thus the encryption/decryption key never travels on the network.
  • Tertiary Disk: A storage system architecture to create large disk storage systems that avoid the disadvantages of custom built disk arrays. The name comes from twin goals: to have the cost per megabyte and capacity of tape libraries and the performance of magnetic disks. We use commodity, off the shelf components to develop a scalable, low cost, terabyte capacity disk system. Our target is to build a complete storage system with about 30-50% extra to the cost of the raw disk. Tertiary Disk uses PCs connected by a switched network to host a large number of disks. Our prototype consists of 20 200MHz PC PCs, which host 370 8GB disks. The PCs are connected through a 100Mbps Ethernet switch.
  • Vinum: A logical volume manager modeled after the VERITAS volume manager™. However, it is not a clone of Veritas, and attempts to solve a number of problems more elegantly than Veritas. It also offers features that Veritas does not have.
  • The PathConvert project: A project to develop utilities which make conversion between absolute path name and relative path name. It brings benefits mainly to the users of NFS and WWW.

Kernel, security

  • Kernel Scheduler Entities: A project to enhance the threading support on FreeBSD, using a threading system similar in design to Scheduler Activations.
  • Lottery Scheduling Kernel: This work is based on Waldspurger's lottery scheduling algorithm, which implements proportional-share resource management. The primary advantages are that users have strict control over the relative execution rates of their processes, and users are load-insulated from each other, preventing one user from dominating the CPU.
  • OpenBSM: An open source implementation of Sun's Basic Security Module (BSM) Audit API and file format. OpenBSM provides the userland libraries, tools, and documentation for the TrustedBSD audit implementation that will be integrated into FreeBSD.
  • Symmetric MultiProcessor Support: Documentation and other information about taking advantage of multiple processors under FreeBSD.
  • TrustedBSD: Provides a set of trusted operating system extensions to the FreeBSD operating system. This includes features such as fine-grained privileges (capabilities), Access Control Lists, and Mandatory Access Control. These features are being integrated back into the base FreeBSD distribution, as well as being ported to other BSD-derived systems.
  • Kernel Stress Test Suite: The purpose of this stress test is to crash the system. The stress test is composed of small test programs and scripts. Each test targets a specific area of the kernel. The key concept of this test suite is chaos. Each test sleeps for a random number of seconds before it starts up in a random number of invocations.

Device drivers

  • busdma and SMPng driver conversion: busdma provides a portable abstraction to the Direct Memory Access (DMA) hardware primitives used by many high performance device drivers. By using this abstraction, device driver authors avoid adding platform-specific DMA management code, improving the portability of drivers between hardware architectures. This page also tracks the progress of drivers towards being SMPng-safe.
  • A New Device Framework for FreeBSD
  • BSD ATM: implementation of ATM internetworking under 4.4BSD: New computer applications in areas such as multimedia, imaging, and distributed computing demand high levels of performance from computer networks. ATM-based networking solutions provide one possible alternative to meeting these performance needs. However, the complexity of ATM over traditional networks such as Ethernet has proven to be a barrier to its being used. In this paper we present the design and implementation of BSD ATM, a light-weight and efficient ATM software layer for BSD-based operating systems that requires minimal changes to the operating system. BSD ATM can be used both for IP-based networking traffic and for ``native'' ATM traffic.
  • Home Automation: Using FreeBSD to run appliance controllers, infra-red controllers, automated telephone systems, and more.
  • The FreeBSD Token-Ring Project: Information, files, patches, and documentation about adding Token Ring support to FreeBSD.
  • Xircom CEM Ethernet Driver: A mailing list exists for further development of Scott Mitchell's Xircom CEM ethernet driver. Send subscribe freebsd-xircom to to join.


  • Porting FreeBSD to IA-64 systems: This project is responsible for porting FreeBSD to the IA-64 architecture. Direct any questions specific to this project to the mailing list.
  • Porting FreeBSD to PowerPC® systems: Contains information on the FreeBSD PPC port, such as mailing list information and so on.
  • Porting FreeBSD to SPARC® systems: Contains information on the FreeBSD SPARC port including a FAQ, some early boot code, information on SPARC processors and motherboards, and other SPARC projects.
  • SysVR4 Emulation: This page describes an SysVR4 emulator for FreeBSD. It is currently capable of running (or walking, in some cases) a wide-ish variety of SysV executables taken from Solaris™/x86 2.5.1 and 2.6 systems. I have reason to believe that it will also run SCO UnixWare and SCO OpenServer binaries.
  • The OSKit: The OSKit is a framework and a set of 31 component libraries oriented to operating systems, together with extensive documentation. By providing in a modular way not only most of the infrastructure "grunge" needed by an OS, but also many higher-level components, the OSKit's goal is to lower the barrier to entry to OS R&D and to lower its costs. The OSKit makes it vastly easier to create a new OS, port an existing OS to the x86 (or in the future, to other architectures supported by the OSkit), or enhance an OS to support a wider range of devices, filesystem formats, executable formats, or network services. The OSKit also works well for constructing OS-related programs, such as boot loaders or OS-level servers atop a microkernel.


  • FreeSBIE: A live CD based on the FreeBSD operating system. It includes a broad range of useful applications, and can either run purely from CD, or can act as an installer to install FreeBSD on your hard disk.
  • NanoBSD: NanoBSD is a tool designed to create a possibly reduced FreeBSD system image, which is suited to fit on a Compact Flash card (or other mass storage medium) in a way which is suitable for use in appliance like applications. The FreeBSD documentation collection includes an introductory article about NanoBSD, which includes useful tips about setting up, running and using NanoBSD.
  • GLOBAL: A common source code tag system that works the same way across diverse environments. Currently, it supports the shell command line, the nvi editor, web browser, the emacs editor, and the elvis editor, and the supported languages are C, Yacc, and Java.
  • Enteruser: A Replacement for adduser.
  • ACPI on FreeBSD: A Project created to get ACPI working smoothly on FreeBSD.
  • Binary Updater: FreeBSD Update is a system for automatically building, distributing, fetching, and applying binary security updates for FreeBSD. This makes it possible to easily track the FreeBSD security branches without the need for fetching the source tree and recompiling (except on the machine building the updates, of course). Updates are cryptographically signed; they are also distributed as binary diffs using a binary diff tool, which dramatically reduces the bandwidth used.
  • The FreeBSD C99 & POSIX® Conformance Project: This project aims to implement all requirements of the ISO 9899:1999 (C99) and IEEE 1003.1-2001 (POSIX) standards.
  • CVSweb: A WWW interface for CVS repositories with which you can browse a file hierarchy on your browser to view each file's revision history in a very handy manner.
  • The FreeBSD Laptop Compatibility List: A comprehensive database of laptops and PCMCIA cards that work with FreeBSD. This site contains detailed information about known hardware and software issues.
  • The FreeBSD Tinderbox: The Tinderbox continuously builds the active branches of the FreeBSD source tree to detect build problems. When a tinderbox build fails it sends an email to the appropriate mailing list, so that the build can be fixed as fast as possible. The Tinderbox source code is maintained in the FreeBSD CVS repository in the directory src/tools/tools/tinderbox.
  • TET Integration: The Test Execution Toolkit from The Open Group is a light-weight open-source test execution framework that supports distributed testing. This project investigates using TET and existing TET-based open-source standards-compliance test suites (VSX-PCTS, VSC-Lite, VSTH-Lite, VSW5 and others) in FreeBSD.