FreeBSD 13.x (and probably 14.x) trivially supportable - please resolve and restore support

I’ve noted that Digital Ocean has basically “withdrawn” FreeBSD support; I like being here, and have been for a long time; my “production” stuff dates back to FreeBSD 11 here, just for some context.

The loss of “built in” support, particularly given that with a custom image upload (which does boot and run) you can’t have IPv6, is serious trouble.

I have gone through the trouble to take my existing FreeBSD dropelets, clone them, strip out all the “extra” stuff and as it turns out I can then upgrade them with a modest amount of care and indeed the snapshot I generate with those can indeed be cloned into new droplets, so for myself I can handle this, albeit at the cost of paying to store the “stripped” base snapshots.

But as it turns out the changes are extraordinarily trivial for DO to support this once again. Specifically, the biggest is that the “digitcalocean” init is missing as a “REQUIRE” ldconfig because it uses jq, and jq is a package; if it runs too early it will fail because a shared library it needs is in /usr/local/lib, which isn’t in the search list until ldconfig runs. This means if rcorder spits it out the wrong way (pure luck on that one) you get no networking when it comes up because the init to set it fails. There is also a “do not screw with sshd’s config” flag that is a good idea because otherwise the update process can hose that file (FreeBSD’s development is aware of this one as it can bite people in other environments.) The other change you can (and Digital Ocean should) make is to permit a single-user boot from the console (which you can do) to drop to a root shell, which by default on their previous images was not enabled, so if you got hosed to the point where you can’t sign in and do a “sudo” you’re dead.

These are all trivial changes that took me under a half-hour to get nailed down. I now have both “old-style” UFS and ZFS filesystem snapshots I can clone from on 13.2, and all is well with them. That in turn means I can upgrade my existing stuff without fear in that if something goes wrong I’m not instantly blown out with no way to recover from it.

Please consider restoring FreeBSD as an OS option. I can handle this for my own personal use but this withdrawal of support has meant that for people I talk with on a professional basis who use FreeBSD (and that’s many) I’ve had to withdraw my recommendation they use Digital Ocean as a host for their projects, and that’s sad.

Thank you for your consideration.

Show comments

Submit an answer

This textbox defaults to using Markdown to format your answer.

You can type !ref in this text area to quickly search our full set of tutorials, documentation & marketplace offerings and insert the link!

Sign In or Sign Up to Answer

These answers are provided by our Community. If you find them useful, show some love by clicking the heart. If you run into issues leave a comment, or add your own answer to help others.

I choose DigitalOcean for its FreeBSD support and I’m similarly in the position of wanting to upgrade from 12.x. @karldenninger Can you share what changes you made?

I have upgraded two FreeBSD 12.x machines to 13.x and have had nothing but problems. In fact the second machine was an upgrade from 12.4 to 13.2 and the same defects in behavior have been reproduced. Digital Ocean has not disclosed and not been forthcoming to their current customers in fact that their infrastructure is not compatible with 13.x. So in fact 14.x shouldn’t be seen as a viable prospect for any production applications of FreeBSD.

Bobby Iliev
Site Moderator
Site Moderator badge
October 16, 2023

Hey Karl,

First and foremost, thank you for being a long-time user and advocate for DigitalOcean and FreeBSD. We truly value the input of our users, especially when it’s as detailed and constructive as yours.

I’ll escalate your feedback to our engineering and product teams for consideration. The community thrives on feedback and detailed insights like yours, and it helps in driving improvements and changes.

Also, please feel free to reach out to the DigitalOcean support team and share this feedback via a ticket as well:

Hope that helps!

- Bobby.

Try DigitalOcean for free

Click below to sign up and get $200 of credit to try our products over 60 days!

Sign up

Featured on Community

Get our biweekly newsletter

Sign up for Infrastructure as a Newsletter.

Hollie's Hub for Good

Working on improving health and education, reducing inequality, and spurring economic growth? We'd like to help.

Become a contributor

Get paid to write technical tutorials and select a tech-focused charity to receive a matching donation.

Welcome to the developer cloud

DigitalOcean makes it simple to launch in the cloud and scale up as you grow — whether you're running one virtual machine or ten thousand.

Learn more
DigitalOcean Cloud Control Panel