Software

FreeBSD gains eMMC support so … errr … watch out, Android

Gadgets that need Flash now have another alternative OS

By Simon Sharwood

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Version 10.4 of FreeBSD has landed, with the headline feature being support for eMMC.

For those of you still short of your best after nocturnal chemical exertions, eMMC – aka Embedded Multimedia Card – packs some flash memory and a controller into a single package. That arrangement is handy for manufacturers of personal electronics.

Adding eMMC support to FreeBSD therefore means the OS is ready for duty powering smartphones, tablets, smart tellies and just about anything else that needs a little non-volatile memory. Which these days can mean internet “things” for home or industry.

Linux does rather well in all of those markets, but developers now have the option of giving FreeBSD a go, too. Which may be attractive, given it's beholden to no vendor.

The fine folk behind FreeBSD write that the OS now uses GNOME 3.18 and is happy running on Kaby Lake silicon. The update is also better at handling handling Wake-on-LAN commands for Intel NICs and can now support Mellanox ConnectX-4 series adapters.

The announcement of the release also reveals that “Userland coredumps can now trigger events such as generating a human readable crash report via devd(8)”.

Full release notes can be found here.

All that remains is to see what – if anything – device-makers make of eMMC support. Given the multiple failures experienced by Android variants like Tizen or Firefox OS, it's hard to see FreeBSD making a splash in gadget-land. But stranger things have happened. ®

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