October 29, 2020

Exciting news coming out of ARM, the University of Cambridge, and SRI today. Cambridge and SRI released their CHERI software stack, based on FreeBSD, for ARM’s forthcoming experimental Morello board.  Dr. Robert N.M.Watson, Reader in Systems, Security, and Architecture at the University of Cambridge shared the news in his blog post this morning:


While ARM announced that their Morello prototype architecture specifications are now available to download, and highlights FreeBSD use in the work:


FreeBSD played an essential role in bringing this technology to life.  According to Dr Watson,, “We chose FreeBSD because it’s the best OS for the research, due to its existing Capsicum support, tightly integrated LLVM support, early availability of the RISC-V architecture used in current CHERI research, a licensing model that lets companies distribute FreeBSD selectively during early R&D and integrate it with proprietary technology during development, a number of FreeBSD developers being integrally involved in developing it, and the usefulness of a fully integrated OS design with kernel/run-time linker/key libraries synchronized and provided by the same vendor.”

You can learn more about CHERI architecture in Dr. Watson’s most recent FreeBSD Friday, and on the CHERI website:


You can also try out CheriBSD, SRI/Cambridge’s CHERI-enabled FreeBSD operating system, on Arm’s freely available full-system simulator, the Morello FVP, today:


We’re excited to see how this transformative computer architecture shapes the future of security, and are thrilled that FreeBSD played such an important role.