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Last update 2006/10/03

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Another BSD UNIX Distribution

The BSD Family: FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, DragonFlyBSD.
  1. Introduction
  2. Installation with Qemu/VMWare
  3. Ports
  4. ...
1. Introduction
OpenBSD has become very prominant with their OpenSSH implementation. Its main aim and focus is security.

Unfortunately there are no official CD ISO-images public available (well, you might find some via search-engines) for download as the OpenBSD project finances itself with selling CDs; but you can download all sources freely.

Primary site
*BSD info site
Another news-site

2. Installation with Qemu/VMWare

Qemu or VMWare is very handy to run and test multiple operating-systems without much overhead and disk-partitioning; also this way you can move entire file-systems (which when done as virtual-disk) as files between machines.

The installation of OpenBSD since 2.7, 3.1 and even 3.9 (09/2006) it's the same: total absence of user-friendly at all, unless you are an experienced BSD sysadmin; it doesn't take in account there are people who just like to try it out and experience and maybe test this BSD variant, anyway. It's all command-line which is actually some I like, but its procedure how to partition the disk is the worst I have seen, unbelievable this hasn't been improved in all the years.

Some hints for OpenBSD with Qemu or VMWare:

  1. Choose PC Emulator:
    • Qemu: check command-line arguments or use our Qemu webmin-module
    • VMWare: assuming you got the OpenBSD-CD, configure new virtual machine with the Wizard (select "Other"), power-on, CD boots and you are in the install automatically . . .
  2. once you answered the simple questions you are asked if you want to use wd0 entirely, answer it with yes or no, you end up in the disklabel anyway, and here do following:
    1. type d (for delete) then RETURN, enter a (delete the 'a' partition)
    2. type a (for add) then RETURN, ignore offset input (simply hit RETURN), enter size like 340M (choose size total_disk_space - swap_size, where as swap_size is chosen twice the physical RAM size), once asked about mounting-point enter /
    3. type a again, size 60M, then it will know it is the swap (wd0b)
    4. type q to save partition-table back to disk and quit

       wd0a  / 
       wd0b  swap 

  3. now the rest of the install runs, and questions/answers are obvious (mostly confirm defaults with hitting RETURN), choose to configure the network.
(Check also INSTALL.i386 for more details or lack of it)

VMWare booting OpenBSD 2.7 (K6-2/500 with 64MB)

Next steps if you didn't configure the network in the install:

  1. define in /etc/myname the hostname, in /etc/defaultdomain your domain-name (e.g. local), and /etc/mygate put your default-gateway
  2. edit /etc/resolv.conf and add (assuming your dns runs at

     search local 

  3. create /etc/hostname.le1 with following line (having 192.168. network)

     inet NONE 

Check the dmesg :-)

BSD Disklayout

 The BSD disklayout as experienced on the i386 platform follows a convention important to realize. You can install *BSD within a disk-partition, which is known as a slice using the BSD-terminology. Within this slice are the partitions layed out, starting with 'a', 'b', and so forth.
  • b-partition is reserved for swap,
  • c-partition for the slice and won't be used,
  • d-partition is the entire disk and won't be used either but just is there for reference purposes.
This leaves partitions a, e, f, and so forth for data:

 % disklabel wd0 
 # /dev/rwd0d: 
 #        size   offset     fstype   [fsize bsize   cpg] 
   a:   174762       63     4.2BSD     1024  8192    16   # (Cyl.    0*- 184) 
   b:   133245   174825       swap                        # (Cyl.  185 - 325) 
   c:  1023372       63     unused        0     0         # (Cyl.    0*- 1082) 
   d:  1023435        0     unused        0     0         # (Cyl.    0 - 1082) 
   e:   715365   308070     4.2BSD     1024  8192    16   # (Cyl.  326 - 1082) 

3. Ports

Ports are the jewel of the *BSD distributions, also OpenBSD in this case.

 cd /usr/ports/ 

and explore the ports there are available.

Installing apache + mod_perl (as root)

 cd /usr/ports/www/mod_perl 
 make install 

and it does all: fetching apache-source and all dependend packages and libs, configuring them and compiling. If you want to just make it without install, obmit 'install'. If you want to remove the port, just type make deinstall and the install is undone.

4. ...

More infos later ...



Hipocrisy of the finest:

"I agree that no single company can create all the hardware and software. Openness is central because it's the foundation of choice."
-- Steve Balmer (Microsoft) blaming Apple regarding iPhone, February 18, 2009

"Things work better when hardware and software are considered together, [..]. We control it all, we design it all, and we manufacture it all ourselves."
-- Steve Balmer announcing Windows 8 Tablet, June 19, 2012

Last update 2006/10/03

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