105 points by nazgulsenpai
15 days ago
This website uses a misleading domain name and has nothing to do with OpenBSD officially. There is no "OpenBSD handbook" (although the FAQ is basically that).
It's run by a Danish guy who goes by the username "iio7". He also runs unixsheikh.com, which seems to have quite a negative reputation on HN.
A lot of the content on this site was directly copied from official OpenBSD pages with very minor rewordings.
>It's run by a Danish guy who goes by the username "iio7".
Where you found this? The page lacks any author or contact info.
As a newcomer to OpenBSD myself, I strongly advise anyone to ignore any online resources that are not the official FAQ or at the least https://romanzolotarev.com/openbsd/ for clear and concise guides on how to do specific tasks that a user may be interested in.
I’ve found that most “I installed OpenBSD on X hardware” blog posts are good mainly for seeing how the installation process fared (what should I disable in BIOS?; what hardware works, what doesn’t?) or what their subsequent configuration process was like after installation.
The vast majority of this sites content is copied directly from other sources, such as the official OpenBSD FAQ, without credit.
One command that I've used a lot that's missing is:
pkg_info -Q str
pkg_info -Q xfce
It looks like this page isn't quite finished yet, but it looks promising! I may want to try OpenBSD one of these days. I have at least one friend who loves it and constantly tells me about how cool it is compared to Linux.
> how cool it is compared to Linux.
It a matter of preferences. Linux is hard to beat, but so is macOS. OpenBSD is cool in its own little ways. For me it's the consistency and ever present documentation. FreeBSD fans will say: "FreeBSD has a the handbook, and it consistent", but it is not the same, it's not like OpenBSD. In terms of consistent feel (command line, documentation and system configuration) FreeBSD feels very much like someone made an effort, OpenBSD feels like they succeeded.
While OpenBSD can be a great desktop, even if it does require at little more tweaking than I care for. It's almost there, like an older version of Slackware.
For me personally, it's macOS desktops and OpenBSD servers, if possible.
From what I've been told, the biggest difference imho is that BSDs include the entire operating system, including userspace. Most Linux distros pull from a pool of packages that are supposed to mostly work with tons of different configurations, whereas BSD can be tailor-made for one rock-solid configuration.
System upgrades are also basically atomic for this reason, since user-installed packages and applications are separated from the system level. The base system itself is versioned as a whole.
Only OpenBSD has a track record anything like going since ~1996 with only 2 remotely exploitable security bugs in the default installation. And ongoing, it has far fewer (no?) privilege escalation bugs, etc., which gives some comfort as one installs packages beyond the default installation.
So one can weigh security, clean organization & good documentation, vs. some convenience if needed features are missing (bluetooth is available sometimes via USB, I think I read in a mailing list, but no NFS, and some other things).
> Only OpenBSD has a track record anything like going since ~1996 with only 2 remotely exploitable security bugs in the default installation.
That stat is a bit meaningless, simply because most other OSes ship a default install that tries to do much more than OpenBSD does by default. They've downplayed it a lot over the years.
> vs. some convenience if needed features are missing
That "some", for everyday application developers, is surprisingly big. Last time I tried, anything related to Rust was a nope. Tons of tools just fail to compile (because "GNU is bad" or something). It reminded me of late-90s Linux, except there the community would jump at the chance to fix issues - whereas OpenBSD folks tend to just shrug (or even berate you).
I think that instead of meaningless, it gives stability and control which one can lack elsewhere. Trust and local control, with those more things, but based on an explicit decision, not a less-secure default to start with. But to each his own, based on priorities, of course.
Tons of tools fail to compile? My experience about lacking features feels different from what you describe. There are over 10k precompiled packages available, meeting my needs nicely. For example, I use rustc and cargo on obsd without trouble, just a simple install, though I think rustup is absent. I wonder if the rust project is still planning to integrate rustup into cargo sometime though, and how that is going.
Gobbles says hi
Gobble Gobble :PppPPPpppPP
It’s great for specific applications but you would be hard pressed to say it’s a better desktop OS than a gnu Linux distro. Bluetooth is a pretty hard thing to miss.
I don't use Bluetooth. I even use my DualSense controller wired.
A true UNIX is hard to beat. I grew up with macOS and was devastated when my Mac broke & couldn't afford a new one. Been despising Windows for the past ~1.5 years. OpenBSD is nothing like macOS, but it is still UNIX.
Did you consider Linux? While it isn't Unix certified, it's still Unix-like, and is quite usable as a desktop (YMMV of course).
Most Linux distros next to OpenBSD don't measure up well in any area except bleeding-edge hardware and software support. For routers and other network appliances, very often only the base system is needed, no packages or anything extra to install. OpenBSD's userland tools are excellent - configuration files and control interfaces are almost all in a standard format, documentation is excellent, and everything has obviously been designed with care. Stability isn't even a question. Bluetooth, Nvidia, support for most proprietary or highly specialized software are missing, but otherwise it makes a fine desktop/laptop OS.
Doesn't Nvidia make first-party drivers for OpenBSD? And they're more likely to work since "OpenBSD" is far more specific than "Linux"?
No, not unless something major has changed that neither I nor Google heard about. Nvidia is very anti-open source AFAIK.
I did. I've used Ubuntu, Arch, Alpine and also KISS Linux.
I think KISS Linux is my favorite in terms of control, but it gives me so much control that I was never able to get it working. Its build system is theoretically awesome, but in practice maintaining my own distribution is less fun than it sounds.
Alpine is my favorite in terms of runtime stability since it essentially reimages itself into a tmpfs every boot and packages are completely atomic. But the fact that everything is statically linked means it's a pain to get anything working, and I haven't yet found anything that fills both niches. (I have not tried Silverblue or NixOS yet)
Arch is my favorite in terms of customization because basically everything has an AUR package these days, including the old traditional window managers (i.e. blackbox) that make for a utilitarian UNIX, my favorite kind. (With Wayland that all goes away, which is why I despise Wayland.)
Ubuntu is far too "stable" for my needs, and I commonly find that the newest release is already years out of date on packages. You basically need Linuxbrew to do any sort of bleeding-edge development on an Ubuntu machine.
I'm open to trying more, of course.
If you value simplicity, it's far better than Linux. Many people use it because they like simple things that just work and can be easily fixed when they fail.
It all depends on what you want to do/how you want to use your PC.
I use OBSD on _ALL_ of my edge devices.
I use FBSD on all of my internal servers.
I have used OBSD as a desktop PC.
I currently use FBSD as my desktop PC.
You can use OBSD and still get a full GUI with a web browser. But (for example) you need to attend ZOOM meetings with a working webcam, and interact with MS Teams whiteboards; you are going to get frustrated.
So you need to be honest with yourself about what exactly you want to do.
I have found the official documentation to be excellent if you want to take it for a spin today: https://www.openbsd.org/faq/index.html
For those that truly cannot abide systemd, OpenBSD seems a great alternative.
But for those who want Linux, there’s always Slackware - the most BSD-like distribution out there.
Hey, I remember Slackware! It's great for hypervisors. UnRAID uses it.
> the most BSD-like distribution out there.
I would say it's Crux Linux, the spiritual father of Arch.
ungleich, a hosting company in Switzerland, is a big supporter of Devuan, a systemd-free fork of Debian: https://ungleich.ch/en-us/cms/blog/2017/12/10/the-importance...
while article is bit old ( 2017 ) at least that guy talks about money and cost of support/fixing things. Interesting reading, thanks!
But so do Alpine, Devuan, Guix, Slackware or Void.
Hopefully if they all move over to BSD they'll stop posting 10 year old arguments and FUD in any thread that has the audacity to even mention systemd.
If only I had a use case.
I boot it up on exotic and obsolete architectures, as they still do builds for eg. PPC64 (Apple Mac G5).
The white framebuffer is kind of beautiful.
I miss seeing Sun SPARCstations boot. The Sun logo and the black text on white screen was always cool to me.
That link doesn't work for me, it looks like they prevent hot linking images
For what it's worth, appears to be from this page: https://pcmuseum.tripod.com/sparc.htm
Agreed that the old Sun hardware was pretty classy. :) They went through a number of different boot logos: https://github.com/mdehling/sun-fb-logos (I think my favorite was the CG6 framebuffer one, though I'm probably dating myself quite a bit with that opinion, haha).
It’d probably help if it had a company like Red Hat offering enterprise support and contributing back to it. Knowledge certification helps a ton too. It’s all fun and games until the SME leaves and a company finds out how hard it is to hire another person with skills in that OS.
It'd probably help also if they could find a killer-app role.
Currently it's a decent OS only for low-level devices like routers and firewalls, which are a fairly small part of the computing ecosystem (and even there, it has lost a lot of ground to OSes that exploit multithreading better, hence giving faster throughput).
As an application-development platform there are roadblocks at every turn and no real use-case. The community is even hostile to not-C developers. It's a shame, because the simplicity and security are great.
>a decent OS only for low-level devices
Why do people insist on smearing OpenBSD like this? My 2011 ThinkPads run Firefox and LibreOffice just fine. It's not as polished as Fedora, sure, but I never have to reinstall after upgrading trashes grub, which happened to me earlier this year.
>Why do people insist on smearing OpenBSD like this?
Because they never used it on a Desktop for a extended time, however i use FreeBSD and can play any Game Linux can...thanks to Proton.
Fedora polished? Ever seen those SELinux problems after updates?
It's not a smear, it's a realistic assessment of its market position. And I say that as someone who likes it.
If a admin comes to me and tells me he understands Linux but is not capable of learning any BSD...kick in the butt and goodbye.
Don't search for Linux-Admins but real ones..the one's who are also capable to maintain Windows, and if they have no clue they start to learn.
As that guy where I work, agreed.
That's the weirdest network setup I've ever seen. Everything seems so spread out and inconsistent. I wonder how this set of names and paths came about?
Hopefully it covers the weird questions about inodes and links the kernel asks you when doing a dirty reboot after a crash (OpenBSD does not have a journaling file system, so you better get ready for those questions asking if inode 1823791277 in /var does this or that, or perhaps just press 'y' repeatedly and pray).
It's perhaps a positive point if you're a boomer and miss the excitement of 1980s UNIX.
How frequent are crashes though? I would think, more often the user could just accidentally pull the power plug without a proper shutdown.