Around four months after the NetBSD 9 branch was created the NetBSD project finally announced the first release candidate of 9.0 release. During this period development was still very active with more than 500 pull-ups processed, which improved aarch64 stability, included new hardware support, fixed some older drivers, and installer/sysinst, improved NVVM (hardware virtualization) interface and added usbnet (a common framework for usb ethernet drivers). I must admit that I am very excited about the upcoming release because of two main reasons: first, because of its new features and improvements listed below, and second, although I am not a NetBSD developer, I am proud that among all NetBSD releases, I contributed to this the most by submitting patches and bug reports, which were fixed before release.
The main highlights of the 9.0 release are:
- Support for Arm AArch64 (64-bit Armv8-A) machines, including “Arm ServerReady” compliant machines (SBBR+SBSA)
- Enhanced hardware support for Armv7-A
- Updated GPU drivers (e.g. support for Intel Kabylake)
- Enhanced virtualization support
- Support for hardware-accelerated virtualization (NVMM)
- Support for Performance Monitoring Counters
- Support for Kernel ASLR
- Support several kernel sanitizers (KLEAK, KASAN, KUBSAN)
- Support for userland sanitizers
- Audit of the network stack
- Many improvements in NPF
- Updated ZFS
- Reworked error handling and NCQ support in the SATA subsystem
- Support a common framework for USB Ethernet drivers (usbnet)
NetBSD 9.0 RC1 can be downloaded from the project’s CDN service or other project mirrors. Please test it and submit bug reports here.
Besides, unofficial bootable ARM images for certain boards can be downloaded here. ARM port also has documentation on running it under the QEMU emulator.