Trying out the BSDs

I tried to get PC-BSD, DragonFly BSD and NetBSD going on top of KVM this weekend, unfortunately without success.

PC-BSD is the most exciting, a modern KDE-based distribution with a BSD kernel. It boots into a smart graphical installer (if you’ve ever tried any BSD you’ll know this is a very distinctive feature).

PC-BSD apparently got all the way through the installation, but fails at first boot. Since for some reason which I have to separately investigate libguestfs cannot mount the UFS filesystems from BSD automatically, I cannot currently get any further on this:

DragonFly BSD and NetBSD fared worse, not even booting in the KVM hypervisor. These are probably down to bugs in our emulation and warrant further investigation:


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10 responses to “Trying out the BSDs

  1. I guess it’s not only a different kernel.

    The BSD systems aren’t like Linux in the bazaar sense of the system (GNU tools + Linux kernel), but complete systems.

    It would be great to have BSD systems supported in KVM. I know several success stories running pfsense (FreeBSD based FW appliance), and moving those boxes into MV would have some cool benefits.

    • rich

      It’d certainly be good to have better *BSD support. FreeBSD has worked for me, on and off, under KVM in the past. I’ve not tried it in the past few months.

      It’s up to BSD users themselves to work with KVM to make it happen though …

  2. Mehdi

    You missed Debian Gnu/kfreebsd 🙂 It works perfectly fine under KVM and you have Qemu images ready for download at

  3. Joshua Daniel Franklin

    I’m just glad you’re trying it. Even if I never run BSD the same emulation bugs might effect me.

  4. It’s worth sending the DragonFly crash to, with a core if you can get it.

  5. Dear Richard,

    DragonFlyBSD/i386 is certainly running under KVM, a good example is one of our mirrors ( which is a VM under it, as well as other tests we’ve been doing for a while.

    We’ve just spotted the issue with x86_64 and hopefully this will be fixed in case the problem is indeed in our side. You can followup this issue in our bugtracker (, or in the mailing lists.

    Also, do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance installing the i386 under KVM.

    Thanks for your attention,

    • rich

      Excellent news, thanks.

      Edit: I think it’s good to get your OS working under virtualization. That’s not because you necessarily want people to use it that way. Server OSes aren’t best under virt. The reason is because it’s a good way to have users test out your OS. It’s much easier for new users to find a “spare VM” than to find a spare piece of real hardware.

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