Wednesday, May 13, 2015


OpenBSD is a Unix-like computer operating system descended from Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), a Research Unix derivative developed at the University of California, Berkeley. It was forked from NetBSD by project leader Theo de Raadt in late 1995. As well as the operating system, the OpenBSD Project has produced portable versions of numerous subsystems, most notably PF, OpenSSH and OpenNTPD, which are very widely available as packages in other operating systems.

The one thing I like about Openbsd is that you can use it with a variety of hardware. Normally you want to standardize the hardware you use, but on a pinch, you can use alternative hardware. This is also fortunate for people with a limited budget can use older systems to be able to compute. Now Openbsd is being made available for the new microcontrollers. which brings about other exciting opportunities. Shown above is possibly Openbsd 5.2. Notice you can have a graphical user interface aka (gui) so you are not forced to use the traditional text only interface that most people think is cryptic and hard to use.  Though you can can use that type of interface if you prefer.

Actually I prefer to use the textual interface for a lot of tasks as it s easier to automate a lot of duties. The above picture is of a fresh install onto a virtual machine. Sort of a computer within a computer. Openbsd like most computer operating systems has regular upgrades in addition to the usual updates. Version 5.7 I think is the latest version. Openbsd is free as in speech. You can download it and install without paying a price at the door so to speak. is the main site. To install Openbsd, you really need a live internet connection. Generally you will start with some minimal software to load and go from there. This last install was actually started with just a floppy disk so speak. No licensing codes or a set of a zillion disks  to deal with. You will need a system with a free disk drive for installation and a working network card.

If you wanted to try out Openbsd without devoting a system to it you could set up a virtual machine.

Set up the virtual hard drive of 5 gigabytes

$  qemu-img create openbsd.qcow 5G

You will need to download a boot image. you can get it in several formats including a cdrom, I decide to use a floppy disk image as it is only a could of megabytes and not gigabytes. Start the install.

$ qemu -fda  ~/Downloads/floppy57.fs -hda openbsd .qcow -boot d -net nic -net user -m 196 -localtime

More details about the installation can be found at  For the most part I just used the defaults.

Once you have finished the install the floppy is not needed anymore so you can eliminate it from the setup.

$ qemu  -hda openbsd.qcow -boot d -net nic -net user -m 196 -localtime

Once you have done the installation, you can add lots of productivity software depending on the amount of free disk space you have. By the way a web server is built in traditionally.  We plan to outfit some old existing Pentium I computers for use in a school saving the school many dollars in computer hardware costs.

Let's update it. I linux you have a sources.list file. with bsd perse you have to set a parth to the packages the first time

#  export PKG_PATH=”$(uname -r)/packages/$(arch -s)/”

Will take into account the version of bsd and the hardware platform you using.

# Now the upgrade:

# pkg_add -uvi

There should not be any updates if you have just done a fresh install.

Now for packages. Screen is a very useful program especially if you use the command line a lot.

#pkg_add -i screen

Will allow you to install screen interactively.

For more information see:

Note to load Openbsd on a live machine. For example you may want to do a floppy install install. You will needto create the media.

First check to see which device os the floppy. You would hate to wipe a hard drive.

$ sudo fdisk -l

Then you can create the boot disk  with:

$ sudo dd if=floppy57.fs of= /dev/sdc
$ sync; sync

Then you should be able to remove the disk. Go to then instendedn machine and start the install.

You can also do a pxeboot with a script like this: (make an image at

 dhcp net0
  kernel -n img iso
  initrd -n img
  boot img

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