17 votes

Why OpenBSD Rocks

48 comments

  1. [19]
    mrbig Link
    I find the BSDs interesting, but as a desktop user I feel like using Linux is the right balance between freedom, desired features, and support from hardware vendors and developers. I don't know if...

    I find the BSDs interesting, but as a desktop user I feel like using Linux is the right balance between freedom, desired features, and support from hardware vendors and developers. I don't know if I have the guts and the energy to become even more of an edge case.

    18 votes
    1. [10]
      ainar-g Link Parent
      Edge case? Please. True OS hipsters use Plan 9 From Bell Labs, augmented with some suckless.org software.

      Edge case? Please. True OS hipsters use Plan 9 From Bell Labs, augmented with some suckless.org software.

      12 votes
      1. [5]
        hungariantoast Link Parent
        There's literally a user here who uses Plan 9 (9Front) and Haiku on their laptop, because they told us in one of the "desktop/distro of choice" topics. It has inspired me to try out 9Front myself,...

        There's literally a user here who uses Plan 9 (9Front) and Haiku on their laptop, because they told us in one of the "desktop/distro of choice" topics.

        It has inspired me to try out 9Front myself, eventually...

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          wirelyre Link Parent
          Somehow it has never occurred to me that /lib could be for plain text documents. You know, like a library.

          Within the /lib folder, 9front contains plain text copies of The Manifesto of the Communist Party[1] […]

          Somehow it has never occurred to me that /lib could be for plain text documents. You know, like a library.

          3 votes
          1. masochist Link Parent
            SysV (and thus Linux, deriving from SysV) tends to interpret the filesystem hierarchy rather... creatively. If your system has it, /var/lib tends to be, um, something of a hodgepodge.

            SysV (and thus Linux, deriving from SysV) tends to interpret the filesystem hierarchy rather... creatively. If your system has it, /var/lib tends to be, um, something of a hodgepodge.

            2 votes
      2. [3]
        Pilgrim Link Parent
        Plan 9 from Bell Labs? Is that real or just a reference to the Ed Wood movie Plan 9 From Outer Space ?

        Plan 9 from Bell Labs? Is that real or just a reference to the Ed Wood movie Plan 9 From Outer Space ?

        3 votes
      3. mftrhu Link Parent
        I'm sorry? Plan 9 is mainstream by now, real hipsters boot straight into Emacs.

        I'm sorry? Plan 9 is mainstream by now, real hipsters boot straight into Emacs.

        5 votes
    2. [8]
      masochist Link Parent
      I bought a used Thinkpad x220 from eBay for about 250 USD and it supports everything out of the box. Wifi, suspend, even hibernate. All I needed to do was install firmware for the wifi. I hate...

      I bought a used Thinkpad x220 from eBay for about 250 USD and it supports everything out of the box. Wifi, suspend, even hibernate. All I needed to do was install firmware for the wifi. I hate fiddling with things these days (which is why I'm all-Apple otherwise), and this machine was truly a treat to set up. It's got an SSD and a reasonable amount of memory, so even building things from source is mostly reasonable. Works really well as a coding / LaTeX / Maxima workstation.

      5 votes
      1. [4]
        thisonemakesyouthink Link Parent
        Oof man, I can't imagine not spending hours and hours of my life tweaking every little thing to my desires. Literally everything about my PC I've spent hours tweaking, crying, etc trying to get...

        Oof man, I can't imagine not spending hours and hours of my life tweaking every little thing to my desires. Literally everything about my PC I've spent hours tweaking, crying, etc trying to get right. It's a custom built desktop, with Arch Linux installed, riced Awesome WM, riced SDDM... I even riced my bootloader. To each their own, I suppose.

        6 votes
        1. [3]
          masochist Link Parent
          I used to be like that. Then my interests changed. I had a Funtoo (Gentoo fork) laptop that was incredibly customized, focusing on power management. I could get 24h of continuous use from it...

          I used to be like that. Then my interests changed. I had a Funtoo (Gentoo fork) laptop that was incredibly customized, focusing on power management. I could get 24h of continuous use from it without plugging in. But I decided that I was spending too much time optimizing the system and not enough time using it.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            thisonemakesyouthink Link Parent
            Well I don't do it for optimization. I do it because I like it, and I'm using it while I customize it, so shrug.

            Well I don't do it for optimization. I do it because I like it, and I'm using it while I customize it, so shrug.

            4 votes
            1. cadentius_aurelius Link Parent
              Like I always say: "Customization is like meth; Im always happiest while tweaking"

              Like I always say: "Customization is like meth; Im always happiest while tweaking"

              2 votes
      2. [2]
        knocklessmonster Link Parent
        Really? Which wifi chipset? My x220 wouldn't work with Linux without the intel firmware, and at least FreeBSD (the only BSD I have experience with).

        Really? Which wifi chipset?

        My x220 wouldn't work with Linux without the intel firmware, and at least FreeBSD (the only BSD I have experience with).

        1. masochist Link Parent
          dmesg lists it as "Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205". The driver is iwn(4). I don't think it works without the firmware, but that was really the only thing I needed to do to get everything to work.

          dmesg lists it as "Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205". The driver is iwn(4). I don't think it works without the firmware, but that was really the only thing I needed to do to get everything to work.

      3. mrbig Link Parent
        That’s nice, but everything I read about BSD tells me that’s the exception. And I don’t think my Lenovo is very FOSS friendly. I also require oficial support for stuff, because I don’t have the...

        That’s nice, but everything I read about BSD tells me that’s the exception. And I don’t think my Lenovo is very FOSS friendly.

        I also require oficial support for stuff, because I don’t have the time or the knowledge to maintain neither the system nor my my own software.

  2. [6]
    Grand0rbiter Link
    I always wanted to try *BSD, but not having Netflix is a downside for me while in a relationship hahahaha Void Linux is a good middle ground.

    I always wanted to try *BSD, but not having Netflix is a downside for me while in a relationship hahahaha

    Void Linux is a good middle ground.

    8 votes
    1. [5]
      masochist Link Parent
      Sounds like someone is not employing the Unix philosophy: small [devices] that do one thing well. Instead of making your BSD machine do Netflix, use a different device. Maybe even something cheap...

      but not having Netflix is a downside for me while in a relationship

      Sounds like someone is not employing the Unix philosophy: small [devices] that do one thing well. Instead of making your BSD machine do Netflix, use a different device. Maybe even something cheap like an rPi.

      1. [3]
        Grand0rbiter Link Parent
        Nah, i prefer my frugal philosophy. My pc is 7+ years old and running fine, why buy another thing just to watch netflix?

        Nah, i prefer my frugal philosophy. My pc is 7+ years old and running fine, why buy another thing just to watch netflix?

        7 votes
        1. [2]
          gabelanglais Link Parent
          Well maybe a good middle ground is to install an external harddrive or another partition on your computer just to mess around with *BSD. Guessing from it being 7+ years old, it might be a bit of...

          Well maybe a good middle ground is to install an external harddrive or another partition on your computer just to mess around with *BSD. Guessing from it being 7+ years old, it might be a bit of an issue to run a VM on.

          1. Grand0rbiter Link Parent
            It can run a VM fine. A 7 year old computer is still powerful. It's an i5 ivy bridge with 8gb ram and a ssd.

            It can run a VM fine. A 7 year old computer is still powerful. It's an i5 ivy bridge with 8gb ram and a ssd.

            2 votes
      2. cadadr Link Parent
        Not everyone has the money for that. Or the time to bother manage multiple machines. And Unix philosophy is a dogma about software. It does not apply to hardware. I can not copy my laptop or...

        Not everyone has the money for that. Or the time to bother manage multiple machines.

        And Unix philosophy is a dogma about software. It does not apply to hardware. I can not copy my laptop or apt-get a thinkpad.

        6 votes
  3. heady Link
    The license part is a bit misleading as it seems to imply you cannot do business with a GPL license. This is demonstrably not true considering examples such as Canonical, SUSE, Redhat etc.

    The license part is a bit misleading as it seems to imply you cannot do business with a GPL license. This is demonstrably not true considering examples such as Canonical, SUSE, Redhat etc.

    7 votes
  4. Octofox Link
    A bunch of these things exist on linux. It would be nice to see a list of things that make bsd rock that we don't already have.

    A bunch of these things exist on linux. It would be nice to see a list of things that make bsd rock that we don't already have.

    4 votes
  5. [2]
    masochist (edited ) Link
    A number of really nice things here, several of them why I chose OpenBSD for the Thinkpad I have (though the primary reason was better hardware support than FreeBSD, where wifi support is still...

    A number of really nice things here, several of them why I chose OpenBSD for the Thinkpad I have (though the primary reason was better hardware support than FreeBSD, where wifi support is still nascent, suspend is iffy, and forget about hibernate). The interesting items on the list for me are reallocarray(3) and freezero(3). I'd not heard of them until now, and they'll definitely be useful for a hobby project I work on every now and then.

    A few of these aren't OpenBSD-specific, rather "just not the nonsense that is Linux", like kernel and userland, license, no -dev packages (I miss this every time I suffer through using Linux), base system concept, pf (yes, it's developed first as part of OpenBSD, but ports to other systems e.g. FreeBSD generally aren't meaningfully behind except for niche usecases these days).

    Still missing the cool features from Solaris (RIP) illumos like ZFS and DTrace.

    In the "just not the nonsense that is Linux" spirit, though, it should absolutely list "no systemd".

    edit: a tyop or two and a little more detail about FreeBSD's poor laptop support

    3 votes
    1. cadadr Link Parent
      If it was not for GPL and GNU, all BSDs would have been as esoteric as AmigaOS at this point; it is only thanks to the Free Software movement that we can use FOSS desktops. -dev/-doc pakages and...
      • If it was not for GPL and GNU, all BSDs would have been as esoteric as AmigaOS at this point; it is only thanks to the Free Software movement that we can use FOSS desktops.

      • -dev/-doc pakages and systemd are distro specific. Few of the most prolific distros don't separate dev and docs packages (Arch and derivatives, RedHat/Fedora and derivatives), and there are quite good distros that don't use systemd. Plus, systemd is not the devil people make it into. Especially on workstations.

      • ZFS and Dtrace work with Linux.

      • FreeBSD supports wifi better, tho suspend/resume is tricky (I never got it working). OpenBSD is the only OS that I had driver issues with recently. FreeBSD supports more hardware in general, OpenBSD only supports a few configurations good.

      • Linux is a different approach, and works just as good. Plus, GNU coreutils et al are just better than any BSD equivalents.

      I like GNU/Linux, FreeBSD and OpenBSD almost equally. They are all good, and make decent workstations. Your comment includes a lot of misinformation tho. And I can't understand why "Linux" is nonsense.

      6 votes
  6. [17]
    judah Link
    I’ve been an Arch user for a few years now, but OpenBSD sounds really interesting. What would be the reasons for me to switch over? I’m assuming security would be the biggest factor?

    I’ve been an Arch user for a few years now, but OpenBSD sounds really interesting. What would be the reasons for me to switch over? I’m assuming security would be the biggest factor?

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      cadadr Link Parent
      Perceived security. Yes, the base is more secure, but you mostly use the same apps on Linux or BSD and they are not necessarily so just because they run on OpenBSD. If you are not running a...

      Perceived security. Yes, the base is more secure, but you mostly use the same apps on Linux or BSD and they are not necessarily so just because they run on OpenBSD. If you are not running a server, there isn't much difference with regards to security.

      5 votes
      1. apoctr Link Parent
        Quite a few OpenBSD users make a thing out of using as little software not in base as possible. It's certainly possible to minimise greatly your dependency on most third party software outside of...

        Quite a few OpenBSD users make a thing out of using as little software not in base as possible. It's certainly possible to minimise greatly your dependency on most third party software outside of a web browser and a few small utilities.

        1 vote
    2. masochist Link Parent
      Security is a by-product of the project's stated goals of code cleanliness and simplicity. Not having to deal with all of the nonsense of Linux is another big draw. It's hard to list things, as...

      Security is a by-product of the project's stated goals of code cleanliness and simplicity. Not having to deal with all of the nonsense of Linux is another big draw. It's hard to list things, as there are so many, and some of them aren't as applicable to some Linux distros, but not having to install -dev packages (ironic that an operating system focused on open source by default tends to make it impossible to build things from source) and not having to deal with systemd are two big things for me. And the mindset is just different; Linux is grown, BSDs are designed.

      3 votes
    3. [13]
      apoctr Link Parent
      Better security is the largest factor, I'd say. Day-to-day, BSDs don't really feel that different to Linux distributions in my experience. Best thing to do is always spin up a VM and see if it...

      Better security is the largest factor, I'd say. Day-to-day, BSDs don't really feel that different to Linux distributions in my experience. Best thing to do is always spin up a VM and see if it takes your fancy.

      2 votes
      1. [12]
        masochist Link Parent
        You must not be paying attention then. Many things outlined in the linked article--things like no -dev packages, excellent manpages, etc.--all affect daily use.

        BSDs don't really feel that different to Linux

        You must not be paying attention then. Many things outlined in the linked article--things like no -dev packages, excellent manpages, etc.--all affect daily use.

        1 vote
        1. [11]
          apoctr Link Parent
          I believe Arch already has no -dev packages? Regardless, having used OpenBSD several months now, it's not something that I overly notice in my day to day usage of the OS. While excellent manpages...

          I believe Arch already has no -dev packages? Regardless, having used OpenBSD several months now, it's not something that I overly notice in my day to day usage of the OS. While excellent manpages are also great, again for the most part I don't spend my days reading them. It doesn't impact my daily use of the OS. This all depends on what you use your computer for, of of course.

          2 votes
          1. [10]
            spctrvl Link Parent
            Arch certainly requires the installation of dev packages before you can compile software from source.

            I believe Arch already has no -dev packages?

            Arch certainly requires the installation of dev packages before you can compile software from source.

            1. cadadr Link Parent
              No. Arch packages include development related files like headers and library archives.

              No. Arch packages include development related files like headers and library archives.

              2 votes
            2. [8]
              hungariantoast (edited ) Link Parent
              Can you explain what you mean by "-dev packages" for someone who has never used BSD? Are they the same or a similar thing as build dependencies? Or do you mean they're the development (latest)...

              Can you explain what you mean by "-dev packages" for someone who has never used BSD? Are they the same or a similar thing as build dependencies? Or do you mean they're the development (latest) version of packages?

              1 vote
              1. [5]
                masochist Link Parent
                "-dev packages" refers to things like header files and dynamic libraries that are required to build software. On just about every other kind of extant Unix (everything from BSDs and macOS to SunOS...

                "-dev packages" refers to things like header files and dynamic libraries that are required to build software. On just about every other kind of extant Unix (everything from BSDs and macOS to SunOS and the various kinds of illumos; maybe AIX and HP-UX, too, but can't speak for them), packages are installed with these files; there's no separation between the two. So you don't need to think about "do I have the foo-dev package?" when you want to build software that uses the foo library. And you don't need to figure out which ones you need to build something from source.

                Now, that said, that may not be part of what you need or want to do. It very much was something I did a lot, so I found it an immense annoyance when I did it on Linux. And also, I should be fair and say that Gentoo (and derivatives), and maybe other distros, don't deal with -dev packages. I ran a derivative for a while on a laptop and it was ... tolerable. No systemd, no -dev packages, no neutered wheel group, life was almost good.

                3 votes
                1. [4]
                  cadadr Link Parent
                  This is Debian specific. You are spreading misinformation.

                  This is Debian specific. You are spreading misinformation.

                  1 vote
                  1. [3]
                    masochist Link Parent
                    If you're referring to the -dev packages, it absolutely is not; RedHat does something similar.

                    If you're referring to the -dev packages, it absolutely is not; RedHat does something similar.

                    1. [2]
                      cadadr Link Parent
                      I don't recall seeing them on Fedora, but it has been a while. Still, it is not the paradigm. And it is not that big of a problem. The separation comes in handy when you need to save space. There...

                      I don't recall seeing them on Fedora, but it has been a while. Still, it is not the paradigm. And it is not that big of a problem. The separation comes in handy when you need to save space. There probably is an apt config option that can make sure they are installed along with their respective packages.

                      1 vote
                      1. Amarok Link Parent
                        Redhat does separate the two. For all of their packages there's a base and a dev package with 'dev' being the only difference in the name. They've been doing this for decades, almost since day one...

                        Redhat does separate the two. For all of their packages there's a base and a dev package with 'dev' being the only difference in the name. They've been doing this for decades, almost since day one of the company. The dev packages only need to be installed if you plan to do some compiling of your own, so it's possible to use Redhat and completely avoid ever touching a compiler.

                        If you do need to roll your own on Redhat, hunting up the right dev packages is a pain in the ass sometimes. Install one, it needs ten more, those need a couple each, on and on it goes. Their packaging tools have improved so it's not as bad as it once was.

                        Still, I'm not sure why so many shops prefer Redhat. I really only see it being used in situations where the bosses are fixated on expensive, meaningless support contracts so they have someone to yell at/sue when shit breaks (which it always does regardless of vendor/os).

                        2 votes
              2. [2]
                spctrvl Link Parent
                I've also not used BSD (at least not extensively), but based on the other comment from @masochist I think they (and I by extension) were using the word dev packages to refer to all of the extra...

                I've also not used BSD (at least not extensively), but based on the other comment from @masochist

                not having to install -dev packages (ironic that an operating system focused on open source by default tends to make it impossible to build things from source)

                I think they (and I by extension) were using the word dev packages to refer to all of the extra software you have to install to be able to build packages from source. For example, in Arch you have to install binutils and a few other packages, whereas if I understand correctly, all that functionality is baked in to BSD installs.

                1 vote
                1. masochist Link Parent
                  -dev packages as I'm referring to it are things like gstreamer0-dev (or whatever) which installs headers and things you need to build from source, not compiler toolchains--though BSD systems also...

                  -dev packages as I'm referring to it are things like gstreamer0-dev (or whatever) which installs headers and things you need to build from source, not compiler toolchains--though BSD systems also ship with things like compiler toolchains by default, whereas Linux distros tend to make you do that too.

  7. [2]
    Rainreck Link
    This should mention the different desktop environments OpenBSD has, for example Lumina.

    This should mention the different desktop environments OpenBSD has, for example Lumina.

    1. jacksonisiah Link Parent
      agreed! i've really taken a liking to them.

      agreed! i've really taken a liking to them.

      1 vote