Platforms Supported by NetBSD

Platforms (a.k.a. 'ports')


CPU architectures

Platforms (a.k.a. 'ports')


NetBSD calls a supported architecture a port. Most ports run on generic hardware and emulators, although some commercial hardware also exists. The NetBSD Ports History page details the inclusion date for each port.

The tier system

Ports are classified into three tiers based on the current importance of the architecture and the level of community activity. Summarizing, the tiers can be viewed to represent ports that NetBSD will support, ports that NetBSD does its best to support, and ports which may be desupported soon. The tier for each port may change over time and is decided by based on input from users and developers.

More exact guidelines for tiers along with the port taxonomy is presented below.


Tier I: Focus — support is part of NetBSD's strategy

Focus ports are the architectures that NetBSD targets as part of its strategy. The platforms consist of modern server, embedded and desktop architectures. The guidelines are as follows:

  • Machine independent (MI) changes should benefit these ports.
  • MI changes must be tested on at least one of these ports.
  • It is the developer's responsibility to implement machine dependent (MD) support necessary for changes, fix build problems and aid in debugging with any platform-specific problems.
  • Even within a port, common sense should be used (cf. the i386 port which still supports 486).
  • Regressions in the automated NetBSD test suite (/usr/tests) are not allowed.

Currently there are 8 ports with Tier I status. They are:

Port CPU Machines Latest Release
amd64 x86_64 64-bit x86-family machines with AMD and Intel CPUs 9.2
evbarm arm ARM evaluation boards 9.2
evbmips mips MIPS-based evaluation boards 9.2
evbppc powerpc PowerPC-based evaluation boards 9.2
hpcarm arm StrongARM based Windows CE PDA machines 9.2
i386 i386 32-bit x86-family generic machines ("PC clones") 9.2
sparc64 sparc Sun UltraSPARC (64-bit) 9.2
xen i386, x86_64 Xen Virtual Machine Monitor 9.2

Tier II: Organic — evolving at its own pace

Organic ports are highly valued by the NetBSD project, but their development is not as tightly mandated as that of the focus ports. Generally speaking, the hardware platforms of organic ports have lost their industrial relevance, or there is not enough community activity for the port to make it to the first tier. The guidelines are as follows:

  • Generally speaking, the port boots and works, but keeping it working is the responsibility of the user community. This includes, but is not limited to, kernel changes and toolchain upgrades.
  • Developers committing MI changes are still encouraged to keep ports up-to-date when it can be easily done.
  • MI architecture decisions may penalize organic ports if there is a benefit for focus ports.
  • If the port is not working at release time, a release is done without the port and the port is moved down to the life support tier.

Currently there are 49 ports with Tier II status. They are:

Port CPU Machines Latest Release
acorn32 arm Acorn RiscPC/A7000/NC and compatibles 9.2
algor mips Algorithmics MIPS evaluation boards 9.2
alpha alpha Digital Alpha (64-bit) 9.2
amiga m68k Commodore Amiga, MacroSystem DraCo 9.2
amigappc powerpc PowerPC-based Amiga boards 9.2
arc mips Machines following the Advanced RISC Computing spec 9.2
atari m68k Atari TT030, Falcon, Hades 9.2
bebox powerpc Be Inc's BeBox 9.2
cats arm Chalice Technology's Strong Arm evaluation board 9.2
cesfic m68k CES's FIC8234 VME processor board 9.2
cobalt mips Cobalt Networks' Microservers 9.2
dreamcast sh3 Sega Dreamcast game console 9.2
emips mips Machines based on "Extensible MIPS" 9.2
epoc32 arm 32bit PSION EPOC PDA none
evbsh3 sh3 Evaluation boards with Renesas (Hitachi) Super-H SH3 and SH4 CPUs 9.2
ews4800mips mips NEC's MIPS based EWS4800 workstations 9.2
hp300 m68k Hewlett-Packard 9000/300 and 400 series 9.2
hppa hppa Hewlett-Packard 9000 PA-RISC machines 9.2
hpcmips mips MIPS based Windows CE PDA machines 9.2
hpcsh sh3 Renesas (Hitachi) SH3 and SH4 based Windows CE PDA machines 9.2
ia64 itanium Itanium family of processors none
ibmnws powerpc IBM Network Station Series 1000 9.2
iyonix arm Iyonix ARM pc 9.2
landisk sh3 SH4 based NAS appliances by I-O DATA 9.2
luna68k m68k OMRON Tateisi Electronics' LUNA series 9.2
mac68k m68k Apple Macintosh 9.2
macppc powerpc Apple Power Macintosh and clones 9.2
mipsco mips Mips family of workstations and servers 9.2
mmeye sh3 Brains' mmEye Multi Media Server 9.2
mvme68k m68k Motorola MVME 68k SBCs 9.2
mvmeppc powerpc Motorola MVME PowerPC SBCs 9.2
netwinder arm StrongARM based NetWinder machines 9.2
news68k m68k Sony's m68k based "NET WORK STATION" series 9.2
newsmips mips Sony's MIPS based "NET WORK STATION" series 9.2
next68k m68k NeXT 68k 'black' hardware 9.2
ofppc powerpc Generic OpenFirmware compliant PowerPC machines 9.2
pmax mips Digital MIPS-based DECstations and DECsystems 9.2
prep powerpc PReP (PowerPC Reference Platform) and CHRP machines 9.2
rs6000 powerpc MCA-based IBM RS/6000 workstations 9.2
sandpoint powerpc Motorola Sandpoint reference platform 9.2
sbmips mips Broadcom SiByte evaluation boards 9.2
sgimips mips Silicon Graphics' MIPS-based workstations 9.2
shark arm Digital DNARD ("shark") 9.2
sparc sparc Sun SPARC (32-bit) 9.2
sun2 m68k Sun 2 9.2
sun3 m68k Sun 3 and 3x 9.2
vax vax Digital VAX 9.2
x68k m68k Sharp X680x0 series 9.2
zaurus arm Sharp C7x0/C860/C1000/C3x00 series PDA 9.2

Tier III: Life Support — severely incapacitated or broken

Ports are moved to life support if they no longer function. The reasons can range from lack of community interest to the hardware becoming so rare that it is simply not available any more. If ports in life support are not shown to be working within a reasonable timeframe, they will be moved to the Attic. The guidelines are as follows:

  • Organic ports get moved here if they do not complete a build for 6 months or are otherwise suspected to be broken.
  • It is the responsibility of the users of an organic port to show it is working, not the other way around.
  • Movement to life support causes a mail to be sent out to the port mailing list and the portmaster.
  • Port will be bumped up to organic when it is shown to be working.
  • If the port is not reported fixed within the next 6-12 months, it will be moved to the Attic.

Currently there are 1 ports with Tier III status. They are:

Port CPU Machines Latest Release
acorn26 arm Acorn Archimedes, A-series and R-series systems 9.2

CPU architectures

Ports by CPU architecture

This table contains the same set of ports as in the above list, but ordered by MACHINE_ARCH CPU architecture value (returned by 'uname -p') and showing a total of 16 CPU types. Machines of the same MACHINE_ARCH share the same userland binaries (with a few device specific exceptions). Both big endian (eb) and little endian (el) MIPS and SH3 ports are supported.

CPU Tier(s) Port(s)
alpha II alpha
arm I, II, III acorn26  acorn32  cats  epoc32  evbarm  hpcarm  iyonix  netwinder  shark  zaurus 
hppa II hppa
i386 I i386  xen
m68010 II sun2 
m68k II amiga  atari  cesfic  hp300  luna68k  mac68k  mvme68k  news68k  next68k  sun3  x68k
mipseb I, II emips  evbmips ews4800mips  mipsco  newsmips  sbmips sgimips
mipsel I, II algor  arc  cobalt  evbmips  hpcmips  pmax  sbmips 
powerpc I, II amigappc  bebox  evbppc ibmnws macppc  mvmeppc  ofppc  prep  rs6000  sandpoint 
sh3eb II evbsh3 mmeye
sh3el II dreamcast  evbsh3  hpcsh  landisk 
sparc II sparc 
sparc64 I sparc64 (Can also run sparc binaries)
vax II vax
x86_64 I amd64 (Can also run i386 binaries), xen