Announcing NetBSD 1.6
The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce that release 1.6 of the
NetBSD operating system is now available.
NetBSD is widely known as the most portable operating system in the
world. It currently supports fifty two different system
architectures, all from a single source tree, and is always being
ported to more.
NetBSD 1.6 continues our long tradition with major improvements in
file system and memory management performance, major security
enhancements, and support for many new platforms and peripherals.
Complete source and binaries for NetBSD 1.6 are available for download
at many sites around the world. A list of download sites via FTP,
AnonCVS, SUP, and other methods is provided at the end of this
announcement; the latest list of available download sites may also be
found at: http://www.NetBSD.org/mirrors/
The NetBSD Operating System is a fully functional Open Source
UNIX-like operating system derived from the University of
California, Berkeley Networking Release 2 (Net/2), 4.4BSD-Lite,
and 4.4BSD-Lite2 sources. NetBSD runs on fifty two different
system architectures featuring seventeen machine architectures
across eleven distinct CPU families, and is being ported to more.
The NetBSD 1.6 release contains complete binary releases for
thirty nine different system architectures. The thirteen remaining
are not fully supported at this time and are thus not part of the
binary distribution. For information on them, please see the NetBSD
web site at http://www.NetBSD.org/
NetBSD is a highly integrated system. In addition to its highly
portable, high performance kernel, NetBSD features a complete set of
user utilities, compilers for several languages, the X Window System,
firewall software and numerous other tools, all accompanied by full
source code. We also support third party software (including the
KDE and GNOME desktops) through our package
More information on the goals of the NetBSD Project can be
procured from the NetBSD web site at:
NetBSD is free. All of the code is under non-restrictive licenses,
and may be used without paying royalties to anyone. Free support
services are available via our mailing lists and web site. Commercial
support is available from a variety of sources; some are listed at:
More extensive information on NetBSD is available from our web site
NetBSD is the work of a diverse group of
people spread around the world. The `Net' in our name is a
tribute to the Internet, which enables us to communicate and share
code, and without which the project would not exist.
System families supported by NetBSD 1.6
The NetBSD 1.6 release provides supported binary distributions for
the following systems:
Ports available in source form only for this release include the
Major Changes Between 1.5 and 1.6
It is difficult to completely summarize the extensive development
between the 1.5 and 1.6 releases. Some highlights include:
- Ports to new platforms including: algor, dreamcast, evbarm,
hpcarm, hpcsh, newsmips, sandpoint, sgimips, sun2, and walnut.
- Unified Buffer Cache (UBC) removes size restriction of the file
system's buffer cache to use all available RAM (if not otherwise
used!) and improves overall system performance.
- Round-robin page colouring implemented for various ports for
better cache utilisation, more deterministic run-time behaviour,
and faster program execution.
- A rewritten SCSI middle layer to provide a cleaner interface
between the different kernel layers, including a kernel thread to
handle error recovery outside of the interrupt context. See
- A new pipe implementation with significantly higher performance
due to lower overheads, which uses the UVM Page Loan facility.
- Linux binary emulation has been greatly improved with the
addition of arm, alpha, m68k and powerpc support, and now
supports kernel version 2.4.18.
- Booting from RAIDframe devices is now supported on some
- New boot loader flags -v (bootverbose) and
-q (bootquiet), to be used by kernel code to
optionally print information during boot.
- An in-kernel boot time device configuration manager userconf(4),
activated with the -c boot loader flag.
- A work-in-progress snapshot of ACPI support, based on the 20010831
snapshot of the Intel ACPICA reference implementation.
- USB 2.0 support, in the form of a preliminary driver for the
ehci(4) host controller.
- Basic kernel support for IrDA in the form of the irframe(4)
IrDA frame level driver. Serial dongles and the oboe(4) driver
are currently supported.
- Kernel configuration files can be embedded into the kernel for
later retrieval. Refer to INCLUDE_CONFIG_FILE in
options(4) for more information.
- Many more kernel tunable variables added to sysctl(8).
- Hardware assisted IPv4 TCP and UDP checksumming and caching of the
IPv6 TCP pseudo header. Support for checksum offloading on the
DP83820 Gigabit Ethernet, 3Com 3c90xB, 3Com 3c90xC, and Alteon
Tigon/Tigon2 Gigabit Ethernet cards.
- Zero-Copy for TCP and UDP transmit path achieved through page
loaning code for sosend().
- In-kernel ISDN support, from the ISDN4BSD project.
- 802.1Q VLAN (virtual LAN) support. See vlan(4).
- IPFilter now supports IPv6 filtering.
- ndbootd(8) added; used to netboot NetBSD/sun2 machines.
- racoon(8) added; IKE key management daemon for IPsec key
negotiation, from the KAME project.
- WEP encryption supported in ifconfig(8) and awi(4) driver.
- wi(4) and wiconfig(8) now support scanning for access points,
and defaults to BSS instead of ad-hoc mode.
- Bridging support; currently only for ethernet. See bridge(4).
- In-kernel PPP over Ethernet (PPPoE) - RFC 2516, with much lower
overhead than user-land PPPoE clients. See pppoe(4).
- ifwatchd(8) added; invokes up-script and down-script when a
network interface goes up and down. Used by pppoe(4).
- Enhanced stability of LFS version 2, the BSD log-structured
- dump(8), dumpfs(8), fsck_ffs(8), fsirand(8), newfs(8), and
tunefs(8) support a -F option to manipulate file system
images in regular files.
- makefs(8) added; creates file system images from a directory tree.
(Currently ffs only.)
- Enhanced ffs_dirpref() by Grigoriy Orlov, which noticeably
improves performance on FFS file systems when creating directories,
and subsequently manipulating them.
- Fixes for free block tracking and directory block allocation in
- Correctly support FFS file systems with a large number of cylinder
- Fix the endian independent FFS (FFS_EI) support.
- newfs(8) calculates default block size from the file system size,
and uses the largest possible cylinders/group (cpg) value if
-c isn't given.
- dpti(4) driver added; an implementation of the DPT/Adaptec
SCSI/I2O RAID management interface. Allows the use of the Linux
versions of dptmgr, raidutil, dptelog,
- Support for Windows 2000 'NTFS' (NTFS5, read-only).
- Tagged queueing support for SCSI drivers based on the ncr53c9x
System administration and user tools
- sushi(8) added; a menu based system administration tool.
- pgrep(1) and pkill(1) added; find or signal processes by name or
- System upgrades are made easier through the etcupdate(8) script
which helps updating the /etc config files interactively,
and the /etc/postinstall script which is provided to
check for or fix configuration changes that have occurred in
- stat(1) added; a user interface to the information returned by
the stat(2) system call.
- BSD sort(1) replaces GNU sort(1).
- The "stop" operation for rc.d(8) scripts waits until the service
terminates before returning. This improves the reliability of
"restart" operations as well.
- Swap devices can be removed at system shutdown by enabling
swapoff in rc.conf(5).
- An optional watchdog timer which will terminate rc.shutdown(8)
after the number of seconds provided in rcshutdown_timeout
See the list of
significant changes between 1.5 and 1.6.
- Support for multibyte LC_CTYPE locales has been integrated from
the Citrus project. Many Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other
encodings are now available.
- Full support for cross-compilation of the base system, even as a
non-root user! src/build.sh is available for doing
arbitrary cross-builds; see src/BUILDING for more
information. At least 38 ports for the NetBSD 1.6 release were
cross-built on a NetBSD/i386 system using this mechanism.
- Migrated the following CPU platforms to ELF: arm, and m68k
(including amiga, hp300, mac68k, mvme68k, sun2, and x68k).
- Updates of most third party packages that are shipped in the base
system to the following latest stable releases:
- - amd 6.0.6
- - BIND 8.3.3
- - binutils 2.11.2
- - bzip2 1.0.2
- - cvs 1.11
- - dhcp 3.0.1rc9
- - file 3.38
- - gcc 2.95.3
- - groff 1.16.1
- - Heimdal 0.4e
- - IPfilter 3.4.27
- - kerberos4 1.1
- - ksh from pdksh 5.2.14p2
- - less 374
- - nvi 1.79
- - OpenSSH 3.4
- - OpenSSL 0.9.6g
- - Postfix 1.1.3
- - ppp 2.4.0
- - routed 2.24
- - sendmail 8.11.6
- - tcpdump 3.7.1
- - XFree86 4.2.0 (i386 only)
- Many new packages in The NetBSD
packages collection, including the latest open source
desktop KDE3, OpenOffice.org, as well
as the latest Perl,
Apache and many more. At the
time of writing, there are over 3000 third party packages
available in pkgsrc.
- Added AGP GART driver agp(4) for faster access to graphics boards.
- init(8) will create an mfs (memory based file system) /dev
if /dev/console is missing.
- vmstat(8) displays kernel hash statistics with -H
and -h hash.
- wscons(4) supports blanking of VGA consoles.
And of course there have also been innumerable bug fixes and other
miscellaneous enhancements. Kernel interfaces have continued to be
refined, and more subsystems and device drivers are shared among
the different ports. You can look for this trend to continue.
Please note that at the moment, sysinst will not assist you in
installing pre-built third-party binary packages or the pkgsrc
system itself. See the NetBSD packages
Lastly, it should be noted that the X11 binaries shipped in NetBSD
1.6 for all ports except i386 are based on XFree86 version 3.3.6,
while i386 is based on XFree86 version 4.2.0. You may at compile
time pick which sources to build and install. A snapshot of XFree86
3.3.6 for i386 will be made available.
The NetBSD Foundation would like to thank all those who have
contributed code, hardware, documentation, funds, colocation for
our servers, web pages and other documentation, release engineering,
and other resources over the years. More information on contributors
is available at:
We would like to especially thank the University of California at
Berkeley and the GNU Project for particularly large subsets of code
that we use, and the Internet Software Consortium, Redback Networks
and the Helsinki University of Technology for current colocation
About the NetBSD Foundation
The NetBSD Foundation was chartered in 1995, with the task of
overseeing core NetBSD project services, promoting the project
within industry and the open source community, and holding
intellectual property rights on much of the NetBSD code base.
Day-to-day operations of the project are handled by volunteers.
NetBSD mirror sites
Please use the mirror site closest to you.
Please also note our list of CD-ROM
Up to NetBSD 1.6 formal release
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