Marcan known as one of the famous PS4 hackers has recently posted the following picture on his twitter showing that the Nintendo Switch is running a freeBSD kernel.
Well well. Is the Switch the second console this generation to run FreeBSD? pic.twitter.com/YpkJxNjhWF
— Hector Martin (@marcan42) March 3, 2017
What is freeBSD?
FreeBSD is an operating system for a variety of platforms which focuses on features, speed, and stability. It is derived from BSD, the version of UNIX® developed at the University of California, Berkeley. It is developed and maintained by a large community.
Ok.. what does that mean in normal terms and how is it related to modding / hacking the console?
Well as you know the PS4 has been fully hacked via a webkit exploit which granted kernel level access. The PS4 is ALSO running freeBSD. Marcan is the hacker that cracked the PS4 kernel and he is now working on the Nintendo Switch. I’m sure you can add those facts together and figure out that it’s only a matter of time until Marcan or other hackers are able to gain kernel access on the switch and we will be able to hack the Nintendo Switch just like the PS4.
What is kernel access, and why is it so important?
Think of the kernel as the “brain” of the computer. You typically think of the CPU as the “brain” of a computer. However the CPU is just raw processing power. Something has to tell it how and more importantly when to process certain bits of data. Otherwise we would have billions of collisions and no data would ever be processed. The CPU would end up in a fiery ball or simply lock up the computer as it cannot process anything.
The kernel is the software layer that tells the CPU how to process data, when to process data, when to move on to the next bits of data, and where to send all of the processed data. Gaining Kernel access allows you to manipulate these properties, which then allows you to manipulate other aspects of the console. This level of access can eventually lead to the development of custom firmware such as what happened with the PS3.
Is freeBSD linux?
No. freeBSD is a flavor of UNIX. Linux is also a flavor of UNIX. Mac OS X and Windows are also modified flavors of UNIX. Basically everything you’ve been taught that linux is at the core of everything is WRONG. UNIX is at the core of everything however Linux is extremely similar to UNIX which is why the two operating systems sometimes get mixed up.
Hopefully that answers some of the questions you may have regarding the recent news that the Nintendo Switch runs freeBSD.
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