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My OpenBSD experience:

Discussion in 'Linux / BSD / Mac OS X' started by regexorcist, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. regexorcist

    regexorcist New Member

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    About a week ago I was messing with a different Linux distro
    on a spare computer and decided to try BSD. After a little bit
    of research, it was obvious that openBSD fit nicely with
    my idea of what an OS should be, so I installed it, downloaded
    a few apps and that's all it took. :roll:

    Everything worked "as advertised" and I like that the default
    install is already secure. After playing for a few days, I installed
    it on my primary machine replacing Arch Linux. I like Arch Linux
    better than other "Linux" distros, but I think I like openBSD
    even more.

    Anyway, I'll be documenting my openBSD experience
    on this thread from time to time.
     
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  2. regexorcist

    regexorcist New Member

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    Well I've tried a few different Window Managers
    like fvwm/fvwm2, Afterstep, Fluxbox, iceWM,
    Openbox (my current selection) and have
    run into an old problem I've had many times before...

    The menu fonts were almost too small to read
    which stems from improper detection of my
    32" LCD monitor. On #!Crunchbang Linux and
    a few other distros I've had to add this line...
    xft.dpi: 96
    to my ~/.Xdefaults file
    but on openBSD, I had to add -dpi 96 to
    my /etc/X11/xdm/Xservers file which looks
    something like this...
    :0 local /usr/X11R6/bin/X -dpi 96 :0 vt05

    problem solved :)
     
  3. regexorcist

    regexorcist New Member

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    I've been using openbox as my window manager
    with aumix (to adjust volume) and feh to
    render a background which also allows transparency
    to work in Eterm. A custom .conkyrc provides
    me with all the system info I need via conky and
    swfdec allows me to view flash video.

    I set up a samba file server which has been
    solid as a rock so far with 3 other machines accessing it.

    It's only been a short time, but I still prefer openBSD
    over all the linux distros and Windows versions I've used. ;)
     
  4. Easy Rhino

    Easy Rhino Linux Advocate

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    the last time i ran openbsd was back in 1999 and i really enjoyed it. however, i stuck with freebsd as the community was larger and i believe still is today.

    i would never run a window manager on a BSD system because it always ends up crashing on me due to crap drivers, a problem with x windows or a monitor resolution/refresh rate conflict. too much editing in xorg and tweaking the window manager to work smoothly.
     
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  5. beowuff

    beowuff New Member

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    I also use OpenBox on OpenBSD. I love that it totally gets out of my way and allows me to do my work simply. I use chbg for my wallpaper because it allows me to rotate pictures automatically.

    I use to use FreeBSD a long time ago, but I would sometimes run into issues with programs not working correctly. I've never had a problem with anything not working as expected in OpenBSD. I've been using OBSD for several years now.
     
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  6. regexorcist

    regexorcist New Member

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    It's good to hear of positive openBSD experiences. :)

    My X server and Window Manager experience has been nothing but positive as I'm currently running without an xorg.conf
    and the only issue so far was "small text" which was easily resolved by defining DPI when calling X.

    Yes I agree 100%, OpenBox does stay out of your way. :D

    It's good to hear from an experienced openBSD user!! :)


    I appreciate posts form other users as I am an openBSD newbie :eek:
     
  7. Zedicus

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    pc-bsd is as close to bsd as i have gotten. while i dont dislike bsd or have anythign against it i just do what i need to do in linux and have never felt the need to change platforms again. Debian can be shaped into anything, and openwrt is quite similar to debian. so my house all works similar.

    that said, im not into normal desktops, i dont use gnome and my wife uses KDE, i run blackbox or fluxbox. and i build my system install of debian by hand, so while i use linux, i do so in a fairly BSDish way.

    i did like pc-bsd as a beginer friendly distro though, comparable to Mepis.
     
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  8. Easy Rhino

    Easy Rhino Linux Advocate

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    yea, the thing i love about the BSD varients is how you can build the OS from the ground up. i always start with only a basic install of base and kernels. after that i login as root and build a brand new ports tree from the internet and then i begin compiling from source all the necessary programs. it is amazing.
     
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  9. regexorcist

    regexorcist New Member

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    Yes, openBSD does not include any applications
    which is good for those (like myself) who want
    control over what servers and applications are installed.

    I've used packages as my primary source for applications
    but if a package isn't available, a port usually is.
    So far, I've installed Cherokee, Opera and xfce4-screenshooter
    via my ports tree.

    Both Packages and Ports have been reliable and easy to use.

    @ Easy Rhino -> Yes installing from ports is amazing :D
    (very similar to portage on Gentoo which I had at one time)

    @ Zedicus -> I have no experience with PC-BSD, but from what
    I've read, it sounds like they created a "Distro" with a BSD core
    and various included applications. :confused:
    As for BSD, Debian or even Windows, it's just a matter personal choice. ;)
     
  10. beowuff

    beowuff New Member

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    I did the same thing when I used FreeBSD. That's partly why I moved to OpenBSD. I actually don't like to compile everything. Just personal preference. :)


    That's not actually true. The base install of OpenBSD includes a custom version of several apps including Apache 1, Sendmail, Bind, NTP, FVWM, etc. You can turn some of these on using rc.conf and rc.conf.local. FVWM is the default window manager if you run X.

    This is how the packaging/ports system was designed to be used. If a package exists and you build the port with default options, you will get the exact same thing as the package. The package just saves time. :cool:

    In fact, I've noticed that when I build ports (specifically vim, as I needed ruby support), the system actually creates a custom package (complete with .tgz) and installs it AS a package. It will even show up in the list when using pkg_add -u to update packages, although it's at the end of the list with an error about not being able to find update candidates.

    PC-BSD is a fork of FreeBSD that closely follows changes made in FreeBSD. It has it's own style of packages using the .pbi extension, although it's my understanding that you can still use FreeBSD's ports. The idea was to make a form of BSD more accessible to "average" users.

    DesktopBSD is more like a "Distro" of FreeBSD. In fact, there's a port in FreeBSD that installs DesktopBSD onto your install of FreeBSD.
     
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  11. regexorcist

    regexorcist New Member

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    You are correct, I wasn't counting the X server, FVWM w/ xterm, etc... as applications.

    In fact, after the initial reboot I entered FVWM opened xterm and went looking for
    my /etc/rc.d/rc.0 - rc.6
    it was then I realized, I'm not in Kansas anymore :laugh:
     
  12. regexorcist

    regexorcist New Member

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    Set up a few cron jobs today (crontab -e)
    and as expected... flawless operation :D

    I also spent some time on IRC visiting a few channels
    in the Freenode network w/ my XChat client. :cool:
    (and yes, before anyone asks... I also have BitchX) ;)
     
  13. Easy Rhino

    Easy Rhino Linux Advocate

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    haha bitchX FTW! what system setup are you using? intel/amd ? quad/dual? and what mobo chipset? any graphics acceleration?
     
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  14. Phxprovost

    Phxprovost Xtreme Refugee

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    not really trying to thread hijack but anyone have any info for beginners to get something like this started up? :confused:
     
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  15. regexorcist

    regexorcist New Member

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    I don't go on IRC that much so I prefer XChat over BitchX.
    With BitchX I have look up the options -beo etc...to start my Identd server and if
    I do manage to connect to a server and join a channel I feel like a floundering
    victim trying to remember the slash "/" commands :laugh:
    XChat or the Seamonkey Suite - IRC client are better for me as I'm just a occasional IRC user.

    My system is a Dell Dimension 8400 Pent. 4 - 3.2 gig, an ATI R300 series and
    an LCD 32" TV for a monitor.
    (I always buy older used hardware from Craigslist)



    Do you mean a BSD system?
    I initially installed openBSD on a spare computer after doing some research on
    freeBSD, netBSD, openBSD, etc... and liked it so much I installed it on my primary
    system replacing Arch Linux.
    (NOTE: there are other BSDs such as Dragonfly BSD, PC-BSD & Desktop BSD).

    It's just a matter of downloading, burning a DVD and installing.
    I had previously run Gentoo and was familiar w/ portage so I felt
    I could get openBSD running w/ the necessary applications from ports
    but as it turned out, the (text based) install and package manager made
    the chore much much easier than I was expecting. :)

    IMHO, I feel any Linux user and even many Windows users can
    successfully install and run an openBSD system.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  16. Kreij

    Kreij Senior Monkey Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey Phxpro !!
    Starting your own thread on what you all looking to do will get you a lot more information quicker.
     
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  17. regexorcist

    regexorcist New Member

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    Agreed!!
     
  18. beowuff

    beowuff New Member

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    For IRC, I use irssi with a custom script for layout. I like having multiple "windows" for each chat room on the command line. This also works well for me because I have a semi permanent tmux session running at home. I then connect through ssh to tmux and leave irssi running on there all the time.

    tmux is like screen, if you've ever used that. I also use it at work all the time because there are certain servers I have to log into all the time. I just have tmux running at work with ssh sessions permanently logged in to the servers. It saves a lot of time each day.

    A good book might be Absolute OpenBSD, though it's a couple of years and versions old. It still has good info.

    Really, check out the FAQ at OpenBSD.org. Also, OpenBSD has some of the best and most accurate man pages of any *nix I've used.

    http://openbsd.org/faq/index.html
     
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  19. regexorcist

    regexorcist New Member

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    I've never used irssi (the IRC client of the future) or tmux (terminal multiplexer),
    so I had to look them up... very cool. :cool:
    (I'll assume your using openSSH on openBSD, that goes without saying :))

    Like I said, I haven't used tmux (BSD) or screen (GNU) for that matter,
    but I might be giving tmux a try in the near future.

    Thanks for the info beowuff :toast:
     
  20. Easy Rhino

    Easy Rhino Linux Advocate

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    screen is very easy to use and saves a lot of time when you want to keep a session open but need to close out your terminal emulator like putty. i have never tried tmux. how is it similiar/better to/than screen?
     
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  21. beowuff

    beowuff New Member

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    tmux is basically a BSD licensed version of screen, which is GPL. However, tmux is also part of the base install of OpenBSD, so it has rigorous security audits and testing that all parts of the base of OpenBSD go through. I don't know much about screen. I didn't use it for very long before switching to tmux.

    Here's a link to the an announcement for tmux being put in the base. It comments on a few differences from screen.

    And here is a tmux FAQ with more info on the differences. It includes a list of what each does that the other doesn't. It's a very small list.

    It appears the main advantage of tmux over screen, and why it was put in base, is because the code is very clean. From what I've read, the code for screen is very hard to read and is a mess. That makes it hard to audit and review for security issues.
     
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  22. Easy Rhino

    Easy Rhino Linux Advocate

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    well than that pretty much has me sold :laugh: however, most of my installs are linux based so im not sure if there will be any real security benefit there.
     
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  23. Easy Rhino

    Easy Rhino Linux Advocate

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    you dont happen to run any VM software on openbsd do you?
     
  24. regexorcist

    regexorcist New Member

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    I don't run any VM software, but how about Bochs or QEMU?

    Maybe beowuff has some experience with this. :confused:
     
  25. beowuff

    beowuff New Member

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    I've never run any virtual machines on OBSD, though I have run OBSD on Virtual Box and VMWare.

    Doesn't seem to be a high priority for any of the OBSD devs and I've never needed to run any kind of virtual machine on it... OBSD does all I need.
     

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