May 15, 2024

During his talk at the FreeBSD Vendor Summit in November 2023, Andrew Wafaa senior engineer at Arm Holdings, emphasized the importance of FreeBSD in Arm’s strategic vision. He explained how Arm is leading the way in shaping the future of computing through diverse software support and innovation. As Arm expands its reach into new technology domains, it is important to understand FreeBSD’s role in this journey to gain insights into broader industry trends.

Arm’s commitment to FreeBSD

Arm’s strategy revolves around embracing FreeBSD. Initially, Arm collaborated with FreeBSD as part of its desire to support a wide range of operating systems, ensuring the success of the ArmV8-A 64-bit architecture in various environments.

Wafaa pointed out that the initiative was created by Andrew Turner in the arm64 project branch in FreeBSD’s SVN over 10 years ago in February 2014, emphasizing the significance of integrating FreeBSD to improve Arm’s technological framework. This strategic choice was intended to diversify and ensure robust support for an operating system that offers both stability and flexibility in deployment.

Arm appreciates FreeBSD’s easy integration and development process, which is simpler than the complexities often associated with Linux. This makes FreeBSD an ideal platform for testing new features and systems, resulting in quicker revisions and deployment cycles and accelerating innovation at Arm.

The company firmly believes in maintaining a balanced technological ecosystem where no single operating system dominates. This approach creates a competitive environment that promotes innovation and development. By providing support for both FreeBSD and Linux, Arm ensures that developers and users can choose the best tools and systems to meet their individual needs. Ultimately, this leads to higher user satisfaction and technological advancement.

Future-proofing technology

Arm plans to introduce new technological enhancements and features compatible with FreeBSD, such as CHERI currently being tested with the Morello demonstrator platform. Wafaa’s recent discussion of forthcoming vectorization support and security improvements demonstrates Arm’s dedication to maintaining FreeBSD’s status as a cutting-edge operating system. These advancements are critical since they guarantee that FreeBSD remains at the forefront of technological progress.

Arm has an ambitious strategy that goes beyond traditional markets. The company is venturing into high-performance computing, the laptop market, and new architectures such as NVIDIA’s Grace. This move aims to redefine Arm’s role in the tech industry by enabling it to compete across various segments, from servers to personal computing. This expansion diversifies Arm’s portfolio, enhances the competitive landscape, challenges established norms, and encourages innovation.

Community engagement and growth

During his presentation, Wafaa expressed his enthusiasm for expanding the FreeBSD community within Arm’s ecosystem. He emphasized the importance of increasing the usage of FreeBSD among Arm’s clients, as this would justify additional investments in improving the operating system’s support. This collaborative approach is crucial as it encourages feedback and engagement, ultimately leading to enhancements and innovations in integrating FreeBSD with Arm technology.

Arm’s decision to adopt FreeBSD as part of its strategy demonstrates the company’s commitment to innovation and diversity in the computing industry. Instead of simply adjusting to industry changes, Arm actively shapes the future by supporting a balanced ecosystem and investing in future technologies. By deeply integrating FreeBSD into its architecture and community, Arm demonstrates a visionary approach to technology development that values robustness, flexibility, and user choice.


Arm’s innovative strategies and strong support for FreeBSD are expected to significantly shape the future of computing as technology continues to evolve. Rather than merely following trends, the company is committed to leading innovation, which keeps it at the forefront of the industry. This approach pushes the limits of what is possible and helps to create a more diverse and dynamic future.

In today’s fast-paced technological landscape, Arm’s approach provides a valuable lesson in embracing diversity and fostering an environment where different systems and ideas can coexist and complement each other. This approach enriches the technological landscape, ensuring that it remains vibrant, competitive, and innovative. By making strategic decisions, Arm participates in the industry and helps to lead it into a new era.

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