Since version 1.0: BSD ↳ NetBSD

NetBSD is a Unix derivative and belongs to the family of the BSD operating systems. It is distributed under the BSD license.

  • 6.1 NetBSD derivatives


The first elimination of 386BSD NetBSD was the second BSD variant, which was released as open - source operating system in 1993. To date, it is being actively developed and is used because of its good portability to virtually any computer.

Meanwhile, NetBSD has been ported to 57 hardware platforms, among other things, on a 32 -bit and 64 -bit systems with support for one or more processors. Designed as a universal operating system for a wide range of applications, NetBSD can be used on different hardware: servers, workstations, desktop PCs, notebooks, PDAs and embedded systems. The support of current interfaces, storage systems, network protocols and file systems is already integrated. For application programs, the comprehensive package system pkgsrc is available. In addition, virtual machines with NetBSD on Xen are possible.


NetBSD is based on 386BSD and 4.4BSD FreeBSD -lite. The project came about because some of the 386BSD developers were dissatisfied with the slow pace and the direction that should take care of further development. The four founders of the NetBSD project, Chris Demetriou, Theo de Raadt, Adam Glass and Charles Hannum, decided to go with a more open development model and, by focusing on portable, clean and correct source code another way. Because the Internet was coming the most important role in the joint development and in the distribution of the project, suggested Theo de Raadt before the name " NetBSD ".

The source code of the NetBSD was available from 21 March 1993 and with NetBSD 0.8 was released in April 1993, the first official release. NetBSD 0.9 then contained many fixes and improvements, but still limited to the PC platform. NetBSD 1.0 in October 1994 was finally the first release for different hardware architectures as supported hardware platforms, HP 9000 Series 300, Amiga, 68k Macintosh, Sun - 4c series and PC532 were now added.

1994 has been excluded from the project with Theo de Raadt one of the founders. He then called in October 1995, the OpenBSD project to life, which must be based on NetBSD 1.0.

The NetBSD 1.x versions continued to appear in an annual basis, between smaller " patch" versions have been published. With NetBSD 1.3, the NetBSD package management was introduced in 1998 pkgsrc. NetBSD 1.4 was released in 1999 with ready support for 16 different hardware platforms. Any additional hardware support was also already available in the source code.

In December 2004, NetBSD 2.0 was released the first time multiprocessor systems are supported ( SMP). Another important innovation of NetBSD 2.0 was the introduction of a native threads implementation for all platforms. It was also with this release, a new numbering scheme introduced: major releases have since been counted in the first digit ( NetBSD 2.0, 3.0, etc. ) and not, as earlier in the second ( NetBSD 1.5, 1.6 ).

In June 2008, the NetBSD Foundation changed its four- clause BSD license for a two- claus time BSD license. This compatibility is improved with GPL - licensed software and products in which code the NetBSD Foundation is used, it must not be pointed out that in the NetBSD Foundation software is included.

In April 2009 NetBSD 5 was released, which brought an improved threading model with it. From now on, X.Org is the default window system and along with improved hardware support and the kernel module framework has been revised. In March 2011 it was announced that now a three -tier system for prioritization and care of the individual platforms is tracked.

With NetBSD 6 was introduced npf, a packet filter that is optimized for the operation of multi- core systems. In addition, a new kernel modules framework has been introduced which is now enabled by default. Likewise Xen 2 was removed in favor of Xen 3.1 and the Logical Volume Manager is now part of the base system.


NetBSD is a unixoides operating system, in which the individual components of the userland are perfectly matched with the capabilities of the kernel. This is achieved in that the kernel and (almost) the whole userland come from a single source. Great emphasis is placed on ensuring that the system behaves the same on all architectures.


For users, applications programmers and NetBSD provides a POSIX-like interface, with the many applications of other Unix-like systems such as Linux and other BSD systems, can run on NetBSD.

NetBSD is a small basis set with the most important programs. Additional applications can be installed using the package management, depending on the purpose of the computer. This often leads to relatively many packages must be installed. In return, however, you have a system on which no " unnecessary " is installed. An operating system working without a graphical interface can be realized with the standard distribution in less than 300 MB.

As a package system comes pkgsrc, the " pkgsrc ", is used. This provides the option to install prebuilt binaries or compile programs themselves. Pkgsrc has been ported to various other operating systems, including FreeBSD, DragonFly BSD, Solaris and GNU / Linux.

Same behavior on any hardware

NetBSD is a successor of the developed at the University of California at Berkeley BSD Unix. As the BSD project was discontinued after the release of 4.4BSD- Lite2 in 1995, it supported a variety of hardware platforms, including IBM - compatible PCs, but also workstations from Hewlett -Packard, Sun Microsystems and Digital. The NetBSD project is dedicated to preserving the portability and the development of multi-platform capabilities.

Therefore, NetBSD supports today not only many "old" computer architectures, but also runs on modern devices with desktop, server and embedded hardware, such as AMD Opteron CPUs, PowerPC, MIPS, and ARM / XScale, and Xen is based on virtualized hardware. The list of supported hardware platforms reinforces the theme of the NetBSD developers: " Of course it runs NetBSD " ( "Of course it runs NetBSD ").

Support for all these platforms based on a single source tree. This is organized in the machine-dependent and machine-independent parts. The machine-dependent part contains the specific for one computer architecture parts that make the connection between the hardware and the independent parts.

This division, together with the central management of the source code is the reason why newly developed solutions on all platforms are available immediately: The elaborate back porting new features omitted. New features and bug fixes in the machine- independent code are instantly available on all supported architectures.

When developing new device drivers, this also applies. Therefore, a PCI card works on i386, DEC Alpha, PowerPC, Sun SPARC and other architectures with PCI support. An Ethernet chip, which is included on various PCI, ISA, and USB devices, only requires a single driver, which is then connected via different bus attachment.

This platform independence simplifies the development. For Linux, the code of the device driver for each new architecture must be specially adapted. NetBSD on the other hand can be ported quickly to new hardware architectures: Sun, required developers for porting NetBSD to the SuperH processor less than six weeks were needed for Linux twelve weeks. The NetBSD's port to the AMD64 architecture took a month for Linux it took six months.

In order to emphasize the good portability of NetBSD and to show how good it is suitable for embedded applications, was presented by the company Technologic System of NetBSD toaster 2005. This was a project reality, the years as a running gag in the NetBSD scene made ​​before the round: " NetBSD would even run on a toaster ."

The Cross Compiling kernel and userland for slow platforms can be completely outsourced to 1.6 faster computers a different architecture since the release of NetBSD.


An integral component of the distribution is Xen since version 3 About pkgsrc can be installed QEMU and VirtualBox. With version 5 Rump was introduced in an environment that allows drivers to run in user level.


NetBSD FFS file system with journaling, also known as WAPBL. This was a donation of Wasabi Systems. As part of a GSoC project also a Logical Volume Manager has been developed which is compatible with the coming of AIX Logical Volume Manager, which is why the same tools can be used.

With NetBSD 6 held the flash memory file system CHFS, developed by the Department of Software Engineering, University of Szeged, feeder. An experimental port of ZFS was also integrated.


The kernel and a large part of the base consist of BSDL code. In contrast to FreeBSD and OpenBSD but also the GCC is used in later version, which is under the GPLv3. One reason for this is the broad support of exotic hardware.

NetBSD derivatives

  • Live systems: Jibbed
  • NetBSD Live!