The powerpc port was first imported into OpenBSD at the end of 1996. Portions of the kernel came from the NetBSD/macppc port, and the userland and build pieces came from Dale Rahn.

Dale added ELF binary support, and then work with Per Fogelstrom continued on general driver support for the next few releases. Support was added for OpenFirmware, VI Power4e boards, MCG Powerstack machines, DEC 21040, VGA terminal support, and so on.

In 1998, the focus shifted towards the Apple machines, and Dale Rahn started work to make the range of iMacs and PowerMacs work with this port. Due to this, official powerpc releases were not made for the 2.6 and 2.7 releases as work continued. A number of compiler loader issues were resolved, iMac driver support was added, and compatibility with older systems was withdrawn to fully concentrate on the Apple machines.

As of the 2.8 release there will be official releases for the powerpc port again.

Supported Hardware:

Currently only New World machines are supported. Tested working machines are the iMac machines Rev A - Rev C, and the PowerMac G4 systems including the G4 Cube. To improve the list below, please mail your dmesg after installation to dmesg@openbsd.org, as detailed in the FAQ.


Onboard I/O modules (obio)


Video Cards


SCSI Host Adapters


USB Controllers/Hubs

USB Devices

Unsupported Hardware:

Root Drive:

With multiple drives installed in the system, only certain drives can be configured as an OpenBSD root drive. Any other configurations than those below will not be able to properly detect which drive is the root drive, and so any attempt with either prompt for a root drive, or fail.

X Resolution:

The current X server has no mechanism to change the resolution of the display. To change the resolution, it is necessary to boot MacOS and change to the desired resolution under MacOS. It will save that resolution and OpenFirmware will boot in that resolution until connected to a different monitor. The X server will run in whatever resolution OpenFirmware boots in.

If you are looking for to test new pre-release features, you can try one of the snapshots. For the powerpc architecture, snapshots are made available from time to time.

Contact Theo de Raadt or Dale Rahn if you are interested in working with other people on this, or need more information.

[OpenBSD] www@openbsd.org
$OpenBSD: powerpc.html,v 1.30 2001/02/04 00:10:57 brad Exp $