Developer Martin Husemann launched the second and more than likely final release candidate ISO image for NetBSD 8.0 today. This new release candidate corrects a large number of bugs that testers flagged in earlier versions of the latest major edition, and it looks to be about ready for primetime deployment as a result. Barring any further complications, the amd64 and i386 image files should work as designed.
While several prominent GNU/Linux distributions have dropped support for 32-bit machines, there was every bit as much work put into the i386 NetBSD 8.0 ISO as there was the amd64 version. *BSD-based operating systems aren’t often thought of as desktop drivers, but this might be something to seriously consider for those who have found that their favorite distro won’t work with older hardware any longer.
Previous snapshots shipped with glitches that developers have now caught, so volunteers are asked to upgrade to NetBSD 8.0 RC 2 as soon as possible. NetBSD.org servers and machines were updated to RC 1, and it worked fine for a while. However, the auto build cluster for binary production didn’t work quite as well, which is why the second candidate got released.
On top of this, the new ISO is much more secure as it ships with several important kernel security mitigations that solve problems related to some CPU bugs that have come to light recently.
Performance issues on the build server was related to a bug in the Intel 10 GBit Ethernet driver that only showed up in certain configurations. That error has been corrected. Since there is a new exploit on certain types of Intel CPUs related to the FPU, a decision was made not to release NetBSD 8.0 directly. The fact that the team deployed it on their own servers and discovered problems was comically referred to as eating their own dog food.
This candidate, therefore, was selected to provide additional testing. Like all other versions, though, NetBSD 8.0 RC 2 is completely free.
Users who are looking to run standard applications because they’ve deployed NetBSD in something other than a server environment may want to look through the NetBSD Packages Collection. It’s stocked with many popular applications.