logo-raspberry-pi-2I have 5 Raspberry Pi 2 here. I’m going to install FreeBSD 11.x on them. I’ve already done one. The second is started, and now I’m going to write it down so I know what to do the next time.

The wiki entry will contain the latest status.

The binaries

Rasperberry Pi 2 only runs FreeBSD 11.x (10.x will run on the B but not the 2).

If you have Rasperberry Pi B, you can run 10.x and you can find what you need at http://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/releases/arm/armv6/ISO-IMAGES/10.1/ Look for something like FreeBSD-10.1-RELEASE-arm-armv6-RPI-B.img.bz2

I want something from 11.x, so I’ll grab something from ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/snapshots/arm/armv6/ISO-IMAGES/11.0/, specifically FreeBSD-11.0-CURRENT-arm-armv6-RPI2-20150601-r283896.img.xz. By the time you read this, the latest snapshot may different. Pick your download accordingly.

I downloaded this file to ~/Downloads/ISO/ and decompressed it with this command:

$ unxz FreeBSD-11.0-CURRENT-arm-armv6-RPI2-20150601-r283896.img.xz

This creates FreeBSD-11.0-CURRENT-arm-armv6-RPI2-20150601-r283896.img which we will use to burn the micro-SD card.

Burning to SD card

The kit I bought came with an adaptor allowing me to insert the micro-SD card into my Macbook.

OSX specific instructions

You can skip this section if not using OSX.

After inserting the card, I tried issuing the dd command, but it failed. The card was mounted read-only. You can verify the status using the Finder, and File | Get Info. If you need to, eject the card, slide the read-write switch, and reinsert. You might have to do this a few times to get it right. Keep checking via Finder.

Once the card is mounted read-write, you need to unmount it, but not eject it, so you can write to it. I opened Disk utility, I clicked on the media (mine was labeled NO NAME, then right click, and click on Umount NO NAME”

The burn

Here is the command I used to burn the micro-SD card:

sudo dd if=FreeBSD-11.0-CURRENT-arm-armv6-RPI2-20150601-r283896.img of=/dev/disk2 bs=1m conv=sync

On my system, this took about 13 minutes.


Go back to Disk Utility and hit Eject on that micro-SD card before extracting it from your machine.

Boot it!

Place the micro-SD card into the Raspberry Pi. Hook up the keyboard and monitor. Then power it up.

I’m told the following:

  • The Raspberry Pi won’t boot FreeBSD without a monitor attached due to a bug.
  • The bug might be with FreeBSD / might be with the Raspberry Pi.
  • I have not verified any of the above.

Mine came right up, and I tweeted about it.

What I didn’t do yet

I didn’t get anything running. I didn’t try ssh. I didn’t try networking. That’s for another day.