Getting Started with OpenBSD
I was first drawn to OpenBSD when I saw a post on Slashdot.org noting that the operating system was celebrating its 25th anniversary; in the world of computing, anything with that kind of longevity is remarkable. I had also been curious to try a more minimal, yet stable, Unix-like OS. After several years of exclusively running Linux distros on my desktop machines, I felt like I had a decent handle on working from the command line, and a clearer sense of what I did -- and did not -- need from my tools and environment. OpenBSD attracted me with promises of simplicity, code correctness, security, and minimalism. Plus, I found it pretty charming that each release comes with its own artwork and theme song!
I've now been running OpenBSD on my main personal machine for about 6 months and couldn't be happier. There's been a learning curve, to be sure, but that's what I was in for. If you've read anything about OpenBSD, one of the strong points you've surely heard is that it has excellent documentation. This, I will vouch, is certainly true.
Which begs the question: Why am I putting together a page here filled with links to other, unofficial information? The answer is that I think it can be helpful to put things in context. Seeing how others configure their machines -- and why they choose to use OpenBSD in the first place -- can help others understand how they might reason about this system.
At the time of this writing, OpenBSD just issued its 50th release with
version 6.9, another testament to the project's durability. If you're
interested in getting started with it, then I encourage you to see how
simple the installation process can be at
the official docs. Then, learn to
man pages your friend. Here's the link to the official site
again, lest you think I'm suggesting you start elsewhere: www.openbsd.org
Beyond that, I hope the links below will add some color and context along the road, or at least pique your interest further. I plan to add new links to this page as I find them.
On Choosing OpenBSD
- Frederic Cambus: Why OpenBSD
- Aaron Bieber: Why I Run OpenBSD
- Why OpenBSD Rocks
- paranoid.life (video): Why I Switched From Arch Linux to OpenBSD
- Derek Sivers: OpenBSD: Why and How
On Comparisons with Linux
- FreeBSD: Comparing BSD and Linux
On Running OpenBSD as a Desktop
- Roman Zolotarev: OpenBSD as a Desktop
- Patrick Bucher: OpenBSD on the Desktop (Part I & Part II)
- Cullum Smith: OpenBSD on a Laptop
On Hardware Compatibility
- NYC*BUG (a *BSD dmesg repository)
- Joshua Stein: all posts tagged OpenBSD (lots on Thinkpads and drivers)