FreeBSD 13 (PersonalBSD)
The latest release from sleepwalker and his PersonalBSD project is working quite well now (there was a previous mouse/keyboard driver issue that has been resolved).

Go through base/installer image from sd-card (if your u-boot supports USB it will also work that way), you can run the PersonalBSD image as your FreeBSD setup, or install it as I did using bsdinstall.

No built in wifi, so I use a rtl8188 based usb adapter which uses the rtwn driver.

just requires modifying /etc/rc.conf:

# wifi setup
ifconfig_wlan0="WPA SYNCDHCP"

and adding my network to /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf


Desktop Setup/Packages

If you absolutely need packages not in the PersonalBSD repos, modify /usr/local/pkg/repos/FreeBSD.conf to enable the normal FreeBSD repo.

FreeBSD:  {
    enabled: yes
    priority: 0

follow step5 onward for XFCE4 desktop from this walkthrough (, and the command ee is your friend if you hate modifying config files with vi.

I did not enable HALD as that has not been necessary for some time, but its in all the older guides.


FreeBSD 13 does not understand big.LITTLE scheduling yet, so worse performance across the board.

There is no ETA on the wifi driver for the built in adapter, given how horribly it performed recently on NetBSD, it will likely be a while if it ever gets supported.

There will not nearly be as much support for FreeBSD as linux distros for the PBP, so unless you're comfortable applying patches to ports yourself this may not be the OS for you (this is above even my pay grade).

The FreeBSD Quarterly Repo has more packages than Latest, so I wouldn't bother switching to it.  Firefox is still only v87, sadly.

Package Conflicts are annoying, some things break when using multiple repos, try building things from ports.


Had to use right-ctrl for tmux/screen window switching as the default key map differentiates them.


Be ready to compile from ports as package repos are not completely working for all desktop apps.
Quick Update:

Disabled the PersonalBSD repo and installed all desktop packages from FreeBSD repos as this cleared up some annoying conflict issues between library versions.

Had to enable HALD.  Ignore previous statement saying its deprecated.  Cleared up some mmc driver crash issues.

FreeBSD repo is missing Firefox beyond v78-ESR for now, and compiling v92 takes forever.  Will keep trying but think I'm pulling too much current and eventually the system shuts down sometime when I'm at work.  Might look into getting my desktop to compile aarch64 packages (this seems daunting) for FreeBSD.

Brightness and sleep fn keys do nothing, but other fn keys work right (volume control, trackpad disable, display switching)

Battery indicator in XFCE doesn't work, need to look into that.

Initial Impressions:

Overall snappy, despite no understanding of big.LITTLE scheduling.

Video playback (Jellyfin through Firefox) is as good as Linux it seems for me.

Some packages missing or won't run (alacritty is throwing some GL errors, but kitty works just fine).

Performance on par with most linux distros for PBP, but definitely experiencing the lack of software like when the PBP first came out.

Ports system seems to cover most package gaps, however.  Feels like its the same aarch64 vs x86-64 issues as experienced with Linux distros.

Probably going to be another 6-12 months before we get closer to parity with aarch64 from FreeBSD (i.e. scheduler support, official Firefox builds), but overall happy.

Worth playing with if you wanted to experiment with FreeBSD.
Thanks on sharing the PersonalBSD experience.
(09-26-2021, 11:34 PM)tllim Wrote: Thanks on sharing the PersonalBSD experience.

The latest quarterly pkg updates for the FreeBSD repo include Firefox 93 and a lot of other updated packages.  I've reached parity with my Linux desktop environment experience now package-wise.  Do wish the sdio based wifi worked, but otherwise it's actually pretty usable a month+ later.
Are there any updates on FreeBSD for the PineBookPro ?
(11-19-2021, 12:37 PM)ScarFez Wrote: Are there any updates on FreeBSD for the PineBookPro ?

It works better now than before (packages wise).  Still no SDIO WiFi, so dongle required.  Been using as a daily driver for months.

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