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FreeBSD 14: Enhanced CPU Core Support and Upgraded Drivers on the Horizon

The release candidate for FreeBSD 14.0 has been made available as the developers work towards the stable release in early November, reports Phoronix. FreeBSD 14 will be the last series to support 32-bit systems, with FreeBSD 15 dropping support for 32-bit hardware platforms. However, FreeBSD 15 64-bit systems will still be able to run 32-bit binaries. It is expected that 32-bit binary compatibility will be supported until at least FreeBSD 16.

FreeBSD 14 includes several notable changes, including the addition of a new utility called “fwget” for fetching firmware packages. Initially, the fwget utility can retrieve firmware for Intel and AMD GPUs. Other changes in FreeBSD 14 include replacing sendmail with dma, Kinst as a new DTrace provider, makefs adding ZFS support, boottrace for capturing trace events during system boot and shutdown processes, kernel TLS offloading for receive-side offloading of TLS 1.3, initial WiFi 6 support in WPA, sh becoming the default shell for the root user, and an updated LLVM toolchain.

One significant improvement in FreeBSD 14 is the increased support for CPU cores. On ARM64 and AMD64 architectures, FreeBSD 14 now supports up to 1024 CPU cores, up from the previous limit of 256 cores. This is particularly notable with the release of the AMD EPYC Bergamo CPUs, which allow for 128 cores and 256 threads per socket. FreeBSD 14 will now allow users to take advantage of these high core count servers.

In addition to the increased CPU core support, FreeBSD 14 also brings faster reboot times, the removal of ISA sound card support, and a new Intel QAT driver with more features and support compared to the previous FreeBSD QAT driver for QuickAssist Technology. Netflix has also sponsored the removal of several old drivers from FreeBSD.

The release notes for FreeBSD 14 provide more details about the upcoming release. The recent FreeBSD 14.0-RC1 release announcement highlights updates to the Linux KPI, various WiFi updates, and a race condition fix as some of the changes in the release candidate. It is expected that there will be at least two more release candidates before FreeBSD 14.0-RELEASE is made available around November 7th.

Source: Phoronix.