Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
OpenBSD Is Now My Workstation (sogubsys.com)
294 points by sogubsys on July 3, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 190 comments

For years I lived in FreeBSD world - servers and laptops. I was fighting the good fight and rationalised that having to only remember one location for network services was a win.

Then I took a second look. I realised that I was spending waaayy too much time getting the laptop usable (usually wifi) and not going enough using it

I bailed for ubuntu and I cannot remember where the network confit is and hate the GUI but I have stopped caring and I just do my work

Sometimes I feel dirty.

I switched from Linux to OpenBSD, then to FreeBSD as my primary OS on my laptop, which involved a bit more set-up time than I was accustomed to with Linux, previously. Eventually I grew tired of the manual setup for so many things and bailed for Debian Sid.

It feels like a nice middle-ground. Most things work out of the box, but I still get to tinker and scratch that itch.

I went the same route. Arch -> Void -> FreeBSD -> OpenBSD -> Debian Stretch (no desktop, just xorg + i3).

I love it. No more random updates breaking things like in Arch. I can install things relatively smoothly and get them running quickly. If I really do need the latest version of something I can still install from source. Etc.

I just want to work on things, not configure things endlessly and deal with random bugs :-)

That is exactly how I feel.

Did the same, but for me the transition was from Linux (various flavours) to Mac OS. Feel even dirtier :(

You can use the server cli/conffile driven networking tools, ifupdown (pre-18) / netplan (18.04+) even if you are on a laptop and running GUI. Just uninstall NetworkManager.

You know what shits me? Restarting networking remotely and realising you also need to restart the routing to install your routes. Whoops, many many many times over.

Arch Linux is calling you

And what really stopped you from having your laptop finally configured?

Frankly there was just too much to learn - I remember being totally chuffed I had found a slimline xdm replacement with no dependency on Gnome / KDE and yeah it is good and it is lightweight and I knew where the source code was but ... even if I found a slim lightweight version of every thing on a modern desktop - well I could not even list all the components.

There is a some unix replacement project trying to rewrite major parts "simply". But in the end you just don't understand 90% of what is going on or you have a tiny tiny server.

It's like everything these days is npm - install one thing and suddenly you find there are 900 packages installed including left-pad-0.3.4

What's so dirty bypassing that isn't productive for you?

What does productive mean? The thing that get you satisfaction or money?

Being able to Just Do Things without mucking around in config files, building a, b, c things from source and dealing with random missing dependencies d, e, f. Then having to search online to fix Random Obscure Errors g, h i, etc, and so on. Or in the case of bsd-likes, maybe needing to write ports and adapt makefiles, etc.

I've gone Arch -> FreeBSD -> OpenBSD -> Debian for my main pc, and osx for my laptop. I used to like manually tweaking and configuring everything but these days I just want to turn on the computer and get into a workflow with as few headaches as possible.

I hate the fact that Thinkpads are the laptops with the best OpenBSD support.

I dislike Thinkpads for two reasons:

- They're made by Lenovo. A couple of years ago, Lenovo bundled malware in the BIOS of their laptops [superfish incident]. For that reason, I won't ever again buy a single product from them, since I can't trust them.

- They're ugly. I find most current laptops ugly, so this may be my fault, and by itself it wouldn't be enough of a reason not to buy one. But still.

For what it's worth, the Superfish and LSE BIOS scandals didn't apply to ThinkPads. I think Lenovo understands that they have too many serious business and gov clients using ThinkPads to risk doing something silly like that to their professional-grade ThinkPad brand.

> For what it's worth

Not much in my book. The problem isn't Superfish, the problem is leadership that allowed it.

ThinkPad is under rather different leadership from Lenovo's consumer division that had the Superfish debacle on IdeaPads and the like. Sure, they are part of one corporation at the very top, but you don't have to go very far down the org chart before they split into separate teams and leadership.

ThinkPad is from the old IBM teams in Raleigh and Yamato. Lenovo made their own laptops before buying IBM's personal computer division, and that line (and its management) became IdeaPad.

If you're troubled by leadership that would allow Superfish (as I am), buy a ThinkPad, not an IdeaPad.

Previous discussion:


I shouldn't have to learn about the internal structure of a company in order to buy a laptop without malware.

Maybe Lenovo should have thought about their internal structure and their brand reputation before installing malware on their laptops, or maybe not (because they don't care about clients like me, they care about the 90% of bosses that buy bulks of Thinkpads and don't know what firmware is). But anyway, it wasn't a rogue engineer who did it, it was Lenovo, and in my eyes: Lenovo ships malware.

Of course it's up to you to decide what computer to buy or not to buy, based on whatever criteria you see fit.

But I don't think you're doing yourself a favor by ruling out ThinkPads just because of a boneheaded decision that Lenovo's consumer division made a few years ago. ThinkPad and IdeaPad really are two separate organizations under one corporate umbrella.

Superfish was not something handed down from on high, it was the bright idea of the consumer group. The ThinkPad team would never go along with something like that; it's not in their DNA and it would destroy their business. Their bread and butter isn't you and me, it's large organizations with IT and security departments who deploy hundreds of ThinkPads at a time and look very closely at the software on them.

Only offering food for thought, it's cool with me whether you buy ThinkPads or something else. :-)

Personally, I agree with the op. If we want to send a message that malware in our BIOSs is absolutely unacceptable, it makes zero sense to give Lenovo any business.

I don't see how boycotting ThinkPads sends a message that BIOS malware is unacceptable. ThinkPads never had that, and never would.

Anyway, I don't usually buy or not buy a computer to send a message. I buy one because it meets my business and personal needs. I've been using ThinkPads for over 20 years, and they have served me very well.

You may choose differently, and of course that's fine.

> I don't see how boycotting ThinkPads sends a message that BIOS malware is unacceptable

It sends a message to other manufacturers: add malware at your own peril. I frankly consider it unethical to buy or recommend products from companies, like Lenovo, who demonstrated anti-consumer behavior because it perpetuates bad behavior as companies think consumers will forget or forgive them.

> ThinkPads never had that, and never would.

That is speculative. I can't know that whatever harmful and irrational environment that led to Superfish in IdeaPad won't affect ThinkPads in the future. Even in the most generous understanding where IdeaPad is a different, physically separate branch of the company, and Superfish was an act of incompetence and not outright malice I can't be expected to keep up with the insider intrigue of the company to notice any changes that could negatively affect me. More importantly, leadership is still responsible for setting irrational environment that lead to Superfish, whatever that environment was. This is a multi-billion dollar company, there is no excuse for such incompetence.

> I think Lenovo understands that they have too many serious business and gov clients using ThinkPads to risk doing something silly like that to their professional-grade ThinkPad brand.

I think that they rely on their A team to develop the malware targetting business and government clients, rather than the C team responsible for Superfish.

I wish laptop manufacturers stopped carrying about ugly and spent more time on functionality such as ethernet port and easy to upgrade and repair, sell it to me without memory (or memory at a normal price), etc...

I don't buy laptops to look good.

> sell it to me without memory (or memory at a normal price), etc...

That's the catch isn't it? Manufacturers have a lot of markup on things like RAM and SSD that they'd rather force you to upgrade on their websites than sell without memory.

Anecdata: I was trying to buy a couple of Dell Laptops for our office and the Dell US website has a customize option. Base model had 4 GB RAM and the upgrade to 8 GB RAM was .. drum roll .. approx $67 [1] . Comparable one on Amazon? $37-ish [2]. You will have a lot of fun doing similar comparison with SSDs.


[2] https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-PC4-19200-2400MHz-SODIMM-M471...

Those two are not mutually exclusive, unless you buy the premise that thinner = better (I don't).

A thick laptop with many ports can look just as good as a thin one.

> Those two are not mutually exclusive, unless you buy the premise that thinner = better (I don't).

Even if you do, they're still not necessarily exclusive: ifixit tore down a bunch of HP devices, and even the "Elite X2 G4" two-in-one — not exactly a beastly looking device https://www.notebookcheck.net/HP-Elite-x2-G4-detachable-will... — got 9/10 on repairability: https://www.ifixit.com/News/hp-makes-the-modern-repairable-d...

I have been fairly impressed by Del hardware. Unfortunately, you can no longer get a tracking on their 13 inches (and they never had 3 button).

I agree with thinner ≠ better.

So where is the thinner obsession coming from? Why are they removing all the ports?

Isn't it because of fashion?

Functionality and esthetics do not have to be mutually exclusive, but the people designing laptops don't seem to be aware of that.

It could be because they are gutless unimaginative trend-following sheeps.

It could also be because they just try to sell whatever it is they think most of their customers believe they want / need (wether or not said customers are right is a whole other matter)

Ugly like a Thinkpad is normally, or ugly even for a Thinkpad?

Because I would normally put the Thinkpad in a "a design only an engineer could love" category.

I love it (OK I am an `"engineer"' aka slinger of JS). The keyboard of the X230 and form factor was damn good. I loved using it until I stupidly cracked the screen.

It's very easy to replace the screen unlike Apple.

What do you think of the X series?


The primary design element is that they are black, other than that they are sort of generic (and hey, a black computer is pretty generic).

One of the main advantages of Thinkpad is Coreboot/Libreboot support to free yourself from Lenovo BIOS - and even neuter Intel ME. Aesthetics are a personal matter, but ergonomically I also prefer Thinkpad over MacBooks.

That point would be great if both those things worked to their full potential on a model made after circa ~2012

Yeah, to be clear, OpenBSD seemed to have the best support for this particular laptop.

If it had been another laptop, I'm not sure I would have done OpenBSD. I would have done the same testing with Linux, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD and chose the best one for me from that testing.

I don't find the laptop ugly, but then again I don't truly have an opinion of how it looks. I got it to replace my old laptop, and since I couldn't decide what more expensive laptop to get yet, I'm working with this one for now. I wasn't expecting it to be performant and acceptable to me for $200, you know.

> - They're ugly. I find most current laptops ugly, so this may be my fault, and by itself it wouldn't be enough of a reason not to buy one. But still.

Perhaps, but they're prettier than any of the others.

I find the Lenovo laptops beautiful in a sort of old school way...

I agree and I will add another reason... I had an original IBM thinkpad and I loved it. Even the red nipple thing on the keyboard. I bought a cheaper one from lenovo labelled 'thinkpad' and it was disgustingly cheap. The keyboard felt cheap, the trackpad was unusable. You want to make a cheap laptop, fine, but don't tarnish the 'thinkpad' brand.

I've never looked back.

Do you happen to recall the model name of that disgustingly cheap ThinkPad? (Examples are T480, E520, etc.) Especially the first letter - that tells what series it is. There are some like the E and L series that are not regarded as being the same quality as others like the T and X series.

I think it was an E or an L. Avoid it like the plague, I can still feel that trackpad in my mind.

Yeah, most ThinkPad fanatics like me will agree with you on that. The current business models are the P, T, and X series, much higher quality machines.

Can I ask... How do you feel about Lenovo as a company? Do you trust their firmware? I preferred IBM, as much as a hopeless company as they are, it felt like a good old tech company.

I personally don't. A lot of the same crowd that uses ancient Thinkpads uses Coreboot or Libreboot. I used an x220 for 3 years before buying an x230 last month, and I flashed Coreboot (plus me_cleaner) on both of them.

also - they no longer use T40 style keyboards, which are the best.

The chiclet keyboard on my T470 is still pretty great, though.

Hardly anyone minds the typing feel of the current or recent generation ThinkPad keyboards. What many of us lament is the loss of the classic 7-row keyboard layout like the T420 had. But that ship sank years ago.

I've made my peace with the new layout, but I do miss the old one.

I do like the keyboard on this T420, it is a pleasure.

I’m not at my computer to find a link, but I think dell and hp had similar, but less severe, scandals. Windows-based laptops are a wasteland, I’m not sure who to buy my next machine from (I run Ubuntu)

System76 is pricey but the hardware is handpicked for linux and their support is excellent. Also I believe they are currently in the process of transitioning to opensource firmware

Yup, they're working on coreboot support. If you're in Europe Tuxedo Linux is also working on coreboot, and the Purism laptops ship with it out of the box.

Ugly as opposed as opposed to what exactly? A toughbook is ugly. Those hp envys are ugly.

> Those hp envys are ugly.

Wholeheartedly agree (but for different reasons than the Thinkpad)

I think the Dell Latitude 7490 competes in the same aesthetic category of the Thinkpad and does a much better job at it. It looks clean and consistent with its own design. I'm not a designer, so I can't pinpoint exactly why, but it feels much cleaner. Thinkpads look cluttered to me.

As it sits on my desk, I can't help the feel the new hp logo is flipping me off.


"The engine, which resides in the computer's BIOS, replaces a core Windows system file with its own, allowing files to be downloaded once the device is connected to the internet."


I like openbsd. I like their attitude (even if many don’t) I like what they’ve given to the UNIX-likes, and what they strip away due to complexity (removal of Bluetooth) or lack of decent UX (wpa_supplicant), or just potential issues (removal of Hyperthreading)

I know it’s probably controversial to mention it; but I’m also glad they didn’t buy into the code of conduct saga that waved over FreeBSD and eventually Linux.

I’ve used the OS as a daily driver, it certainly was nice, albeit slow. I would go back if I could avoid some of the Linux/MacOS stuff I really need. I still use it on personal servers and I still really love it.

I send them €50/mo but I don’t feel like it’s enough. I wish they had more resources to bring things like AC Wi-Fi to the fold. Truly impressive work to all involved.

I don't think there are many who send €50/mo, kudos to you! Few of their corporate users give much back at all.

I used OpenBSD as my workstation a decade ago and also ran it on a firewall box. However, upgrading the system every six months is tedious: basically, you manually download the files, overwrite the kernel and userland core, and then do a three way merge of /etc. Plus there's a bit of manual work required to deleted unused files and account for moved files:


After that, you still have to upgrade the ports tree (which has gotten easier).

Note that skipping upgrades is not supported.

Security updates between the six month upgrades are handled by monitoring the security list and downloading and applying patches as instructed.

If you are running a bunch of identical servers professionally, it's not much of a burden, but it is if you are upgrading one workstation and a firewall box. I got tight on time and went back to Debian/apt.

Does anyone here know how to do this more efficiently?

(It is a really nice system, and the man pages are superb.)

Somewhat like sibling comment, I'd be really tempted to put /home on its own filesystem, control/configure everything else with Ansible (or Chef or Puppet or [...]), and just do a fresh install every 6 months. For bonus points, automate the install part with an autoinstall file. Keep in mind, there's setup cost here; it's easy for me to say because I'm already controlling my system with Ansible, but if you're just getting started it's harder.

Upgrades and errata have gotten much easier.

For example, running syspatch(8) automagically downloads and applies the errata patches.

To upgrade, just curl the new bsd.rd from a mirror, place it in /, reboot, and type `boot bsd.rd` at the boot prompt. Then follow the prompts. I do this on several VPSes via a VNC console. It doesn't take long at all.

Granted, for personal use, I've moved back to Debian as well.

In -current there’s sysupgrade(8) that handles the “download bsd.rd, boot bsd.rd, upgrade, sysmerge” steps automatically in an unattended manner.

sysmerge has made the upgrade process a lot easier in the last several years. It was a lot more painful in the past.

Is it easier or harder to just do a full reinstall and reconfigure it with a script (chef or something custom), while preserving your data directory?

Most OpenBSD developers know each other and meet on a regular basis so likely why no CoC is needed when there isn't dozens or hundreds of contributors that don't meet.

I miss OpenBSD for the certainty of what my system is doing, these other systems I have to use for work some intelligent process comes a long and rewrites my configs or something else annoying.

> but I’m also glad they didn’t buy into the code of conduct saga that waved over FreeBSD and eventually Linux.

I'm a bit out of the loop, but I thought it started with Linux because Linus swore/ranted/"abused" contributors or something? Or am I thinking of something else?

It’s fair to be out of the loop. I wish I was, because dissenting for any reason is seen as being a villain or a troll.

For a little context though the freebsd code of conduct was instantiated in 14th February 2018 - the Linux one was altered to be the current one on September 21st of the same year (which is when the Linux CoC controversy began).

He was quite abusive actually, not "abusive".

You seem to be interpreting the parent as using scare-quotes to disagree with the idea that Linus's behavior was "abusive."

But the parent comment was, as far as I can tell, intending to use regular quotation marks, in the way a journalist does (and as I just did)—to mention what someone else said, without endorsing or denying that opinion as their own, in order to avoid an argument.

(Personally, I think more things people describe should be put in quotation marks. A lot of Internet arguments are started by people trying to argue others out of beliefs they don't actually personally have.)

Quotes only work with attribution

Does OpenBSD have an alternative to wpa_supplicant?

I've been using wpa_supplicant under the hood for ages, but only recently learned anything about it... and it's actually very good, except that it's CLI interface is so low-level and difficult to use.

Its standard ifconfig handles all the equivalent functionality.

I don't use OpenBSD for various functionality-related reasons, but experiencing that was an eye-opener. It makes me mad that Linux doesn't use such a clearly superior system, and leads one to wonder what other needlessly complex interfaces we put up with unquestioningly.

There are things other than wpa_supplicant, but wpa_supplicant is just sorta "good enough", everything generally works. It's a different approach.

For me, my OpenBSD moment was when I used the backlight brightness keys on a laptop in a vt, and it Just Worked™.

I would put it the other way around. wpa_supplicant is actually very good at doing what it does. But rolling it's functionality into ifconfig is probably "good enough".

wpa_supplicant is an application of the "do one thing" philosophy. The kernel provides a some basic hardware-abstracted plumbing which lets a specialist tool do all the complicated handshaking and what-not for wireless.

This saves the basic tools (ifconfig, ip) from having to build in all that wireless complexity. But it does introduce an extra moving part that has to be configured. For this reason, just bloating it into the basic tool is likely to be good enough, and also provider a superior UX (for nerds like us).

This isn't quite accurate, you need wpa_supplicant for 802.1X authentication aka "WPA Enterprise" (typically only really seen in schools or very corporate environments).

But on OpenBSD thats the only thing it handles, its not an otherwise generic WiFi manager like on linux.

wpa_gui does come with wpa_supplicant in many distributions and is easy enough to configure. This helped me configure it: https://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-953484-start-0.html

Openbsd has a code of conduct. It's been there a while.


only half joking

I can support a CoC that opens with, "Plain text, 72 characters per line". Standards™!

> Intelligent people may look at the same set of facts and come to very different conclusions. Repeating the same points that didn't convince someone previously rarely changes their mind, and irritates all the other readers.

This one is crucial. I see so little respect for tolerance around various projects these days.

What is it that you don’t like regarding CoC?

I wrote a blog post about it but it was used against me by an interviewer at riot games. So I unpublished it.

Essentially it boils down to outlawing vague arrays of behaviour that can apply to essentially anyone and thus must be selectively enforced. I used examples from history surrounding vague laws and the implications that came from that (usually it’s the precursor to huge atrocities or totalitarian regimes. Although I’m certainly not saying they always are).

The wording for the freebsd code of conduct was the most troubling, if you take it at its letter then you basically shouldn’t (or can’t) have non-work discussions because any comment on appearance, lifestyle, diet or even sending “hug” without prior consent is verboten.

It’s also a list of things that are not allowed. Not a way of actually presenting yourself.

Some of the hacker news guidelines are a good example of the inverse: “assume good faith”

The thing is. It comes from a very US-centric political source (geekfeminism) and was barely given any time to be disseminated or discussed, so people were a bit sour- and the handling of criticism only made people more sour

Anyway. This thread doesn’t need us to digress into this topic, and we already have.

I shouldn’t have included that snippet in my comment. I know it’s controversial.

Regarding commenting on other people’s appearance: this is something I find personally super tedious. When I am at work I really don’t want people to start commenting on my appearance, both negatively or positively.

Yeah; without commenting on any specific CoC, I'm broadly quite in favor of officially discouraging using official project channels to discuss or say anything that's not explicitly about the project. It's not just a question of making people uncomfortable, it's just... irrelevant. You think there's an issue with a proposed refactoring? Great, let's hear it. You like someone else's new haircut? That's nice, but it is at best spam in project-specific channels.

CoC's apply to Conferences and out of band discussions in off-topic channels and PM's.

Almost all of the CoCs being discussed here explicit make no distinction between project communication channels and general communication channels. In other words a comment you made on a generic social media account will see you removed from a project.

Do you not want it enough that it should be forbidden for anyone?

Maybe I come from a different culture (British) but it’s fairly common for people to find something they like about someone else and then comment on it. That can be appearance or other things.

For instance I was at google next last year and I told someone that they had a really nice t-shirt and enquired about where it was purchased. Did I make them uncomfortable?

If I didn’t, is it forbidden?

Does it matter at all to the progress of a project?

You must not work as a model.

Or a view. Most likely a controller.

Or in other words, a greater number of laws shifts power to the adjudicator, because eventually everyone is doing something illegal.

And when passes for illegal behavior become the norm for everyday functioning, whoever has the ability to give out passes becomes all-powerful.

Wheaton's law seems to suffice and produce more positive communities. If you find yourself needing to rules-lawyer your contributors -- maybe take a step back and solve some underlying issues instead?

> I wrote a blog post about it but it was used against me by an interviewer at riot games.

Honestly? That sounds like the system is working as intended. I'm not from the US, never been there, and I wouldn't want the author of such a post on my team either.

...you say this not having read the post or met the person who wrote it.

In theory I have nothing against codes of conduct. In practice they are too often vague and written by the perennially-offended.

I'm not OP, but:

> Harassment includes but is not limited to: Comments that reinforce systemic oppression related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, [...].

-- FreeBSD CoC

Why even bring in the "systemic oppression" part? I can only assume that they'll be more lenient on disparaging comments that don't reinforce "systemic oppression", i.e. they'll apply "positive discrimination", otherwise it makes no sense to include such an expression in the CoC.

I refuse to participate in any project that discriminates people based on their personal traits, that includes "positive discrimination".

> Why even bring in the "systemic oppression" part?

Because systematic oppression is more of a systemic problem. Individual problems are easier to solve than systemic problems, i.e, you don’t need a code of conduct to solve a problem with one or two people in your association. If you make one disparaging comment to someone, we can hope that they take that one comment in stride and move on. If you make a disparaging comment that reinforces systemic oppression, it’s no longer a single comment, but it’s part of a larger problem. The way these comments harm the group is that e.g. in response to low-level misogynistic comments, women silently leave the group. You might not even notice this happening until it is too late.

One of the core freedoms which is protected by the first amendment is the freedom of association, and a key part of that is the freedom not to associate with people you don’t like. If you don’t make an explicit choice about who you want in your association, the choice will be made for you by the most toxic members. So you are basically given a choice between an open code of conduct which people can discuss or comment on, or a secret/hidden network of people who make the decisions without any clear way to understand why they make these decisions or how to appeal them.

That’s just my take on it.

>you don’t need a code of conduct to solve a problem with one or two people in your association.

You absolutely need a code of conduct (laws) to solve a dispute between two people. That's the whole point of rules.

>If you make one disparaging comment to someone, we can hope that they take that one comment in stride and move on.

This isn't behavior that needs to be tolerated, especially not when the goal of the community is to write software.

> You absolutely need a code of conduct (laws) to solve a dispute between two people. That's the whole point of rules.

This is so counter to my experiences that I have difficulty responding. Have you really never resolved a conflict without appeal to rules? I find this hard to understand.

Rules exist only because systemic problems motivated their creation. You see a sign that says “no dogs” not because dogs aren’t allowed, but because of some systemic problem with dogs in the past. We shouldn’t invent additional rules to solve problems that may or may not exist. That way lies ridiculous bureaucracy.

For example, some organizations (non-profits, HOAs, etc) adopt parliamentary procedure for their meetings. Some don’t. The fact that an organization adopts parliamentary procedures tells you that the specific organization has had problems with people disrupting meetings in the past, or that people in the organization had that problem in other orgs.

> Why even bring in the "systemic oppression" part?

'There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted, and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.'

I think things like this are stealth politics and/or propaganda.

> Harassment includes but is not limited to: Comments that reinforce systemic oppression related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, [...].

I translate this as: > words, words, words, message worded in such a way as to make it easy to accept and/or normalize, words, words, words

Systemic oppression in used in place of a lack of meaningful, quantified, real oppression. When oppression is your cause and you can't find it you image the structures of society itself are composed of it. Never mind that people are literally dying to come to your country to get some of that good systemic, institutional, oppression. When ideology becomes your religion nothing else matters.

Because 'systemic oppression' is a made up concept, just like 'Jesus'. And just like Jesus, it's a guilt-exploiting profit- and power-seeking concept.

We've banned this account for repeatedly breaking the site guidelines and ignoring our requests to stop.

If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email hn@ycombinator.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.


Last I saw, the FreeBSD code of conduct is a list of things you can't do, so it's easy to interpret that as "anything that isn't explicitily denied is allowed", and it only disallows negative comments that"reinforce systemic oppression" against certain groups (ignoring that opressed groups can vary across the globe). I don't use FreeBSD, so their CoC has no impact on me, but it's far from neutral.


Please don't take HN threads further into flamewar. Name-calling ("immature...reactionaries") is against the site guidelines in its own right, and certainly counts as flamebait here.


I meant "immature" as in the project hasn't become big or popular enough to have to deal with large-scale trolling, hate, or right-wing brigading -- not a statement about the emotional maturity of its participants.

Fair enough, but when another user drops a pointer to a classic flamewar topic, please don't follow that pointer. This is in the guidelines.


This is an extreme position and an unsurprising sign of the times.

Rule-of-law for social interactions in a collaborative work environment are perhaps useful or a preference, but they are not an "absolute" requirement, that is ridiculous.

Moral codes were once the primary enemy for people seeking progress and freedom from unrecognized but forced moral authorities (the Church in the west). The same people almost immediately after overthrowing that authority and code seek to enact one of their own.

This is just a tragic lack of vision.

If the perceived issue is that the "other" moral codes are immoral, mine are better, it is not a matter of freedom vs oppression but one oppressor vs another. People apparently have been frightfully unaware and incognizant of what they have been fighting for.

Moral law is for a less evolved time. Progress isn't making the codes better but leaving them behind unnecessary.

Telling people to be nice in a git repository is fine, acting like a rigid social code of conduct is an absolute need is a dark sign of the future to come.

I'm no anarchist but good god, the normalization of leftist oppression is scary. (I don't think I'm overreacting)

“Asking people to treat each other with respect” is “leftist oppression” now?

>Telling people to be nice in a git repository is fine

Did you miss that line?

Carefully enforced codes of conduct as an absolute must is not asking for respect. A vast ocean lies between them.

Normalizing life governed so in ever expanding circumstances is – really it is difficult to find a different word for this – fascist.

Leftist fascism is something new, and unfortunately something very many people want, at this point mostly unaware or only in-effect. Many people find values, actions, and ideas different from their own as dangerous, ugly, or wrong. Diversity is turning into dichotomy (you're in or your out).

Promoting and normalizing enforcement of social rules under the guise of helping people is exactly how fascism grew, and it was always promoted as something good, helpful, and necessary.

You don't need rules to manage a community. That doesn't mean you can't manage it, kick out somebody who isn't boing nice, or tell someone they are being inappropriate.

Rules are the enemy of good judgement, each one you enact is an admission of inadequacy. Nobody is perfectly adequate. Rules have a place, a purpose, a need. Put them where they are unavoidable and rebel against them where they aren't. The world isn't fixed by legislation, rules should be safety nets not train rails.

Rules are dangerous and wanting them everywhere so the world will act like you want is the root of evil which has happened many times before, small starts like insisting codebases are inadequate, unprofessional, and "other" if their rules aren't up to your standards isn't the last step towards something awful, but it paves the way towards the next one.

My issue isn't with some places having rules, variety is good. My issue is with the absolute and the othering.

I agree with you in principle but most of the codes of conduct being pushed during the last major wave had very little to do with that goal. They were clearly targeted at policing users online/offline conduct and values outside of the project rather than fixing any active issues for that project.

A person who's a dick outside the official channels is much more likely to be a dick on the official channels also. Tolerating such people is inimical to creating a welcoming community, as they pose considerable risk of disrupting development activity and intimidating people who are or might potentially be making valuable contributions.

Do all projects have to be "welcoming" though? Sometimes I wonder if OpenBSD (and other projects that emphasize simplicity) are as good as they are precisely because they seem to attract opinionated, blunt developers with thick hides.

Thanks to the CoCs the open source community can finally produce something of value!

Everyone was so busy arguing and being rude that nobody was able to put anything together until now.

I suppose you're right. Before the CoC craze, the open source community just wasn't able to crank out anything of technical value. But since then, things have really taken off, and there's no doubt we can attribute it to the CoC and also the non-technical community members who, more often than not, demanded we carry it.

Not sure if you're missing an /s or not.

> Projects without a code of conduct are either immature or led by reactionaries.

That seems like a pretty "reactionary" take.

OpenBSD is a mature project with a relatively snooty/picky but not abusive or cruel community. I've found that not only are the people helpful, if you show that you've made an effort to meet them half way; but working of the software itself shows a degree of empathy which is not common elsewhere.

To fj39dkf since I've been rate limited and can't reply:

> "Reactionary" doesn't mean literally "reacting to a problem", it's a political term that comes from the French revolution, referring to monarchists who became organized and motivated as a reaction against the French revolution.

I am aware of the origin of the term in English, I think it still applies. The people who are shoving their rigid CoCs down people's throats are the establishment; it's just that by adopting the symbols of causes which were previously anti-establishment, they've avoided being seen as such.

Being a bit edgy on the internet is an anti-establishment cause, like hacking[0].

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20346865

"Reactionary" doesn't mean literally "reacting to a problem", it's a political term that comes from the French revolution, referring to monarchists who became organized and motivated as a reaction against the French revolution.

It's more or less synonymous with "conservative" and "right wing" which have similar origins, although today it has more of a pejorative connotation in English, or sometimes specifically refers to people on the colloquial "far-right" who advocate for ethno-nationalism, authoritarianism, military adventurism, nativism, etc.

I've been using OpenBSD since 3.8.

OpenBSD is a great system because it makes sense. If you want to find out how something works. You go to the manual page. A lot of questions about the Operating system can be found on the FAQ.

Much like Arch Linux, I don't find myself needing to Google around forums trying to find a solution. I go to the docs and 99% of the time I will find the solution.

The reasons for using it aren't really that exciting. It is a basic system that works well.

He literally can't do his job on this OS... He runs his critical workloads (Linux virtual machines) on another laptop with Linux installed.

>OpenBSD is a fantastic operating system, but it is not a good choice as virtualization host.

I like the idea of the computer that I physically interface with being extremely secure. Considering everything I do with virtualization is through a shell and little I do works without the Internet, accepting a bit of extra inconvenience to have that security seems like a decent trade-off.

To be clear, it is more than Linux virtual machines but also Windows. The VMs are for penetration testing labs and R&D.

It isn't my job, it is my hobby.

I can do my job with ssh terminals and a browser.

But he can. I have no idea why he dismissed vmd.

I need to run Windows workstation and server VMs, too. (In the screenshot, I show Windows).

Additionally, the Linux VM cons with vmd are off-putting, but I'll be getting them working. I even saw a blog post about running docker containers on linux on vmd. So, I'm going to try that out soon :D

I tried openbsd in my thinkpad x220. IDK if the processor only make a huge difference (mine being core i3 2.1ghz), but what I saw was a slow system experience, opening firefox for the first time (after boot) took a decade. I would experience slugishness everytime I closed a tab. And I was using cwm which is supposed to be even more lightweight than xfce4. I'm upgrading my motherboard to have the same processor as the author, maybe I will give another shot.

I wish I knew more about the specifics of the hardware differences. Thinkpads are new to me. I just discovered the Thinkpad subreddit several days ago, so accidental sub-community of old Thinkpad folks, but haven't dove into the details of hardware upgrades (like IPS screen!).

I was looking for a cheap replacement to my Samsung R580, and found that T420 laptop online on eBay. It had good specs and was priced well (I had to order a new battery that came in today). Originally, I was thinking if it didn't work out, it would hold me over until I decided what higher end would work better (like Matebook or Dell XPS), but the T420 seems to be alright for me. The keyboard is incredible.

Firefox does get sluggish with like 20+ tabs open though. I did start making modifications to it based off https://www.privacytools.io/browsers/ so may that helps (disabling canvas, webrtc, tracking, etc)

I didn't notice anymore delay than normal on other machines, browsers take a bit to start up, but I didn't time it. It is just a perceived speed.

The speed isn't insane or what may be called super fast, but for $200, nothing is slow for me. I mostly live in terminals and browser, and now with Zim.

These thinkpads are pretty good, and very easy to upgrade. I already changed my wifi card to support ac and I’m planning to flash coreboot bios. Last item in my checklist is to upgrade the display to full hd.

Oh cool! I didn't know you could flash a coreboot bios and I would love to have an upgraded display! Though mostly I run apps full screen so it isn't terribly important, it would just be nice.

OpenBSD disables Intel Hyperthreading by default. If you don't mind the security risk, you can enable it with a kernel flag. The other comment about using apm to adjust performance is spot on, too.

Firefox in particular has historically had some issues. When did you try it? This is a post from 2016 mentioning a few of the performance issues at the time: https://flak.tedunangst.com/post/firefox-vs-rthreads

Some have since been fixed, though no doubt others have arisen, since Firefox is something of a moving target.

Were you using a traditional spinning rust hard drive? OpenBSD is basically unusable without an SSD because of the filesystem they use.

I think you need to enable Soft Updates: https://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq14.html#SoftUpdates I don't know why it is not done by default, running without soft updates feels like using a filesystem without a journal.

Indeed, it was recommended by several people that I add that and noatime. That's active on my mount points.

I'm not overly familiar with OpenBSD (although I do want to try and play with it sometime soon) What filesystem does it use?

FFS (Fast File System) or FFS2 (Enhanced Fast File System)



The irony!

There's nothing I want more out of my computing environment than being able to run OpenBSD with ZFS.

I was using an Intel 80gb ssd msata

Try enabling processor scaling with `apm -A` and see if it makes a difference. My x220 running openbsd will default to low performance if I don't run the apm daemon.

I have Linux-on-the-Windows-Desktop. WSL, that is. For my use case, it's fucking amazing. I've come full circle.

I switched from Windows to Linux in 1999. I switched from Linux to Mac in 2003.

I've used Linux natively, it turned into a hack-fest. I spent more time trying to get things working, than getting ACTUAL work done. Using the Linux platform for development is fantastic.

It's when you want to do non-dev related productivity stuff that it got frustrating for me. You had to have workarounds galore. Or you had to have Wine, or you had to have a full Windows VM (when $APP didn't have a good nix-y equivalent).

macOS was great when the computer hardware was prioritized. Then at some point, Apple shifted focus. It was all about a cohesive experience, and integration galore. Then it shifted. Now it's all about iOS/iPadOS/watchOS/tvOS. macOS and its hardware have largely taken a back seat. See the MacBook Pro 2016-.

When Apple releases the 2019 MBP and it IMMEDIATELY goes onto the keyboard repair program... you know that in spite of all lip service to the contrary, that Apple gives no fucks about the Apple computer, like they do their gravy train products.

I needed an environment that'd let me still target Linux development, but stay-the-eff-out-of-my-way for productivity stuff. Windows it is. I know that's not what HNer's wanna hear, but the cultural shift at MS and using MS for a dev platform... it's been surprising, and amazing. Not what I'd expected in a million years. #flyingpigs #flameon

Anyone else experience a similar evolution?

I’ve made the same transitions from win to Linux to Mac and for the same reasons. I’m going back to Linux though.

I’ve used windows professionally all that time and Windows 10 is the least productive it’s ever been, for me anyway. It’s just such a horrible experience and I don’t know exactly why that is. I didn’t even mind CMD and powershell and it’s not that I dislike Microsoft. I recently traded my personal g-suite in for a Office365 essentials plan, and I’m rather happy with it, but I just can’t get on the right food of Windows 10. I wish I could, the Surface Books are genuinely the modern MacBook Pro, but Ubuntu is just a better experience.

Of course there is still a few quirks, the only one that’s really bothered me is the lack of a Linux One Drive client, which should frankly tell you how little Microsoft has really changed. They don’t intend to be good for Linux, they want Linux to be good for them.

To discount the sweeping changes in the company culture because they haven't yet worked on what you want them to, don't you think that's a little short-sighted?

I wanted Microsoft to release a new terminal. It took 2 years. Now that it's out, I want it to support panes. There's only so much they can do at once.

I wanted a good consistent UI experience for Linux. It's been decades and that still hasn't happened. The groups maintaining KDE and Gnome can hardly agree among themselves much less with the userbase.

At this point, I'm more inclined to believe that Microsoft will get things done faster, than the Linux community will.

I'm not slamming Linux, either. Just being realistic after many years/attempts of being user. Better to have a stable and consistent base to work from. If you ask me, that's why so many folks who target Linux for development do it from a non-Linux platform. It makes for a much less frustrating experience.

We’ve worked with Microsoft for decades and I personally really like them as an enterprise partner, but I’m just not seeing those sweeping cultural changes you are.

They’ve certainly opened up, they’ve even open sourced .Net with core. It works with Linux, but it works better if you feed it security through Active Directoy, monitor it with Application insights and deploy it in Azure. There is now a CLI, VSC and Visual Studio for Mac, but Visual Studio for Windows is still light years better. And that’s really the general story. They’ve opened up, but I see it much more as Microsoft understanding the market again than a “new” Microsoft. I’m fine with it, it’s certainly nice to have better products, but I do think it’s the same old story of getting the most out of your environment if you buy all of it from Microsoft. I’m perfectly fine with that by the way, they are a company after all, and if they can make better products than they did before then cool!

I don’t personally think Windows 10 is a better product though. I find it to be one of the most frustrating OSes I’ve ever had to use, aWd that’s why I’m not going windows -> Linux -> Mac -> Windows like you are. I think Ubuntu is a much better experience than Windows 10, but then, I happen to actually really like gnome.

I’ve just concluded that a decent GUI/UX requires more resources than any OSS project ever will. Or even any project outside of Apple/MS.

>Speed is Stellar

>Speed is not a concern for me.

Is he saying that speed isn't a concern for him in general? If so, why mention that the speed is stellar, then? Or is he saying that the system is so light in general that he doesn't suspect speed will become a problem down the line?

You're right, my mistake in communication there.

Speed is not a concern for me because it is fast for everything I use the laptop for. I didn't hit snags where things were slow.

I'll update the post later for clarity. Thank you for pointing it out.

Great stuff. Also a big fan of OpenBSD, but what put me off eventually is lack of VMs, Wine and... speed. On Thinkpad T410 (ancient) it was noticeably slower than FreeBSD almost on any task, especially video playback in the browser. Not really related to the file system use. Perhaps, the effect is not as pronounced on CPUs of these days. Software selection was also a little claustrophobic.

I'm now using FreeBSD as my main machine for almost a year - really happy with the outcome, but even there some areas, like neural networks for example, are difficult. (But Keras and Theano are there!)

In many aspects OpenBSD was amazing. It needed very little tinkering with to get running properly, configs and ps ax were super-clean. Amazing environment.

There is some work done about VMs: https://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq16.html

I took it to mean something more like "I don't care much about speed because of what I do, but if speed is a concern for you, it's stellar!"

It is pretty ambiguous, isn't it?

I read it similar to your 2nd take, that the speed is abundant enough that not much needs to be said - its just fast.

OpenBSD will download your wifi firmware during first boot (post-install) if there is a configured internet connection (i.e. ethernet).

Is there an easy to use alternative? Less and less laptops are coming with ethernet ports.

A lot of Linux distros just ship a lot of this firmware, not expecting to be litigated against for it; and it seems to work out.

c.f. Debian, which has a policy to exclude non-free firmware from its installation media.

The onus is on the user to themselves supply the firmware.


You're correct. My complaint was about installation time.

I thought there was an instance where I saw all the access points somehow during the installer, but unsure how I did that... and I couldn't replicate it.

I suspected that I had wired ethernet configured, and then the installer downloaded firmware to configure wireless? It was just a guess, I didn't look more into it.

So, you are giving up what seems like your 2 most important apps (Evernote and VMs) just so you can run X operating system on a laptop?

Excuse me, but this just doesn't make any sense. Applications are the reason we use computers, not OSs, and to have to make such sacrifices is IMHO just silly. The whole OS holy-war thing seems so played out to me...its 2019 just use whatever works..no one care really.

Add to that the apparent political nature of the openbsd "manifesto" and guidelines and I'll just say that I, personally, am not a fan of mixing politics and OSs.

It's a user vs. enthusiast things. Some enthusiast people deal with computers because they like the technology or the ideas.

Adding to what others have pointed out about it being an enthusiast thing, technologies often have a political and identity dimension.

Some people love repairing old cars of a particular type and build a community around that interest. Likewise with OSes.

There are similar movements around energy tech, camera tech, cooking tech, and more.

For such a mindset, the joy of understanding the mechanism itself is the reward, not the practical end result.

Well you can speak for yourself. I am an operating system enthusiast :D

I understand what you're saying but I fear you may be misunderstanding my intentions and opinions. I feel you may be injecting your own issues with things into my blog post. Please allow me explain.

The importance of having a secure and correct OS is most important to me (I feel OpenBSD is most appropriate and interesting here). I feel the value of OpenBSD outweighs the lose of two applications. I'm not part of an OS war, I frankly don't care what anyone uses. I just posted about about my experience on my blog (blogging is a new/rare thing for me and I am proud of the post, it took hours to do) and frankly didn't expect the post to HN to do anything (I posted on a whim, a coworker next to me loves the site) :)

I intended to migrate off of Evernote at some point, it is a tough band-aid to pull off after getting used to it for 10 years. Not having native VirtualBox on the machine is definitely a dislike, but isn't the end of the world. I only need it for labs. NetBSD can apparently run in vmm, too, just have to pass a boot option for the serial console (but I haven't tried it).

For Evernote, I had to ask myself what I'm actually using Evernote for. I'm solely using it for having minimally rich text and website scrapes stored in notebooks, and all notes being searchable. And I want it available wherever I am. I don't use OSR, non-text notes, pro features, related notes, etc. So, I question why I'm still paying for it, entrusting a vendor with all my data, and dealing with non-standard clients outside of windows/mac. Doing something just because I've always done is a terrible pattern. Time to re-evaluate and fix. That's what I did, and now I have an extremely portable and flexible solution that doesn't cost me anything but time, which I'm OK with.

I make a living with Linux for high traffic web applications, I use NetBSD and Linux for my personal servers, and OpenBSD for my workstation. I enjoy operating systems and I'm comfortable in all of them. Each one has their own character, their own quirks and pros and cons. One size fits all, for me, is a fool's game. No matter what you choose, there's some price to be paid for what you get.

And to be crystal clear: I'm not trying to change hearts and minds, or influence others, or be part of some cool kids club. Ultimately, I'm selfish with my hobbies, which this is, and so I do what solely is interesting to me. If I was able to help others, that's great and I'm happy for that, but I have no expectations.

Thank you. I hope we can be on the same page now, and I hope I was not too verbose. Be well.

An update to the article too about VMs: Note that for VMs I'm now using Oracle (non-distro provided) Virtualbox with their VRDP active, which is RDP for the VM instance and not the VM OS itself, so can RDP to the VMs on the network much better than libvirt. So, it is good enough. VirtualBox is mainly for intensive labs or monkeying with NetBSD kernel development, which 99% of the time I'd do at home.

screw the evernote, use org-mode

I get it. I run macOS for daily driver so I only need to care what I should care but wanted to keep an OpenBSD around on a hobby server but then again since I couldn't figure out how to make the identical environment compared to my other Linux servers, I just gave up and switched to FreeBSD, where things just worked.

Too bad but I also get the enthusiasm bit as I like OpenBSD's philosophy.

To be fair, in 2019 (on my Mac) the applications I almost exclusively use are Terminal, Browser, Editor, File manager. That's more or less since years, although recently I started using more local apps.

I bought a used Thinkpad to use OpenBSD.

The default installation is good and the internals are easy to understand. It's not as complicated as Linux. The security etho is what brought me to OpenBSD and the simplicity and easy to understand how everything works made me love it even more.

The only reason why I haven't use it much after a few months is because I needed RStudio. I wanted to settle for tmux+vim workflow for R but I've been busy with other stuff.

Thanks for sharing this!

I run OpenBSD on my refurbished T430, and have very similar experiences.

Glad you have moved on from Evernote to something local and parse-able!

> vmd is cool tech, for sure, but it isn’t that useful to me. It is best if you want to run OpenBSD virtual machines or gimped Linux virtual machines.

The use of "gimped" is poor choice of words. It would be better if the author described specifically what fell short for them.

From https://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq16.html

The following features are available:

    serial console access to the virtual machines
    tap(4) interfaces
    per-VM user/group ownership
    privilege separation
    raw, qcow2 and qcow2-derived images
    dumping and restoring of guest system memory
    virtual switch management
    pausing and unpausing VMs 
The following features are not available at this time:

    guest SMP support
    hardware passthrough
    live migration across hosts
    live hardware change 
Supported guest operating systems are currently limited to OpenBSD and Linux. As there is no VGA support yet, the guest OS must support serial console.

One thing I've been meaning to try doing (and probably will indeed try doing on my "workhorse" laptop at home, which is currently insufficiently used) is experiment with running X clients from a vmd-managed Linux VM, plus perhaps figuring out a way to stream audio in/out of the VM (and - as icing on the cake - video in).

If I can get reasonably decent graphics, sound, and webcam support (in order of importance), I'd be able to return to running OpenBSD on my work laptop (I'm currently unable to do so because there are a couple apps I use daily for work that don't run on OpenBSD).

I'm aware graphics support isn't fully there. My concern is for the general audience not familiar with the current status. In the post to hand wave over what didn't work when tried and call it "gimped" leads the reader to think any number of things may not work.

I see this has been updated with a link to the FAQ. I'm a big believer in laying out problems as;

- What was expected

- What was tried

- What was the result

- Why the result differed from the expectation

> Update: The core dumps are due to buggy programs. OpenBSD malloc is not as forgiving to blatant programming errors as other implementations of malloc available on other Operating Systems.

What is the difference/error?

OpenBSD's malloc is much more strict for security reasons. A crash sucks, but it's infinitely preferable to an undetected bug that leaks data.

Heartbleed was famously possible even when using OpenSSL on OpenBSD because OpenSSL (if I understand right) used its own custom allocator instead of the system malloc, thus bypassing the various attack mitigations OpenBSD's malloc provides (and that would have prevented Heartbleed from affecting OpenBSD systems). This (among other instances of similar behavior) is what prompted the OpenBSD folks to fork OpenSSL into libressl.

There are trade-offs involved in choosing OpenBSD for a "Work"station, and the post covers some: lack of packages/no proper package manager (requires recompiling with patches from source), no Docker/VMs/VirtualBox/Wine, etc. Other are lack of drivers, etc. None of these issues are incompatible with an Operating System design (or not really), they mostly just need extra work.

However, the blog post mentions that "for them" performance isn't an issue. This should not be interpreted as performance being good. OpenBSD performance can only be described with data: https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=8-linux-...

Even for something that the OpenBSD devs themselves are doing all the time, compiling stuff, OpenBSD is ~20x slower than Linux. 2x slower would be horrible. I really have no words to describe 20x slower performance. If you are a dev working with a compiled language, imagine a 20x perf hit on compile-times. Imagine having to patch LLVM/Clang on OpenBSD by recompiling it from source. "Apocalyptically horrible", "worst in class", do not even make justice for how slow OpenBSD is.

> requires recompiling with patches from source

I don't think that's true. There's pkg_add and syspatch and those are preferred methods for upgrading your system. You can recompile things from source and I think that it's an awesome feature for hacker, who wants to tinker with sources of some package, but that's not the only way.

Between distro releases, if you want to apply security patches, you need to recompile from source, because there are no binary releases.

I'm not sure how much we can extrapolate from those benchmarks.

Despite the name, compilebench[0][1] seems to do a lot of non-compiling stuff. It appears to be more of a filesystem benchmark.

[0] https://openbenchmarking.org/test/pts/compilebench

[1] https://oss.oracle.com/~mason/compilebench/

This article is what is wrong with bsd/linux. You have to write an article about all the things you did to get your desktop to just work like any normal desktop works out of the box.

In a normal world, the article should read "I installed bsd, and just used my computer to do something useful."

There's more to it. It isn't a "Use OpenBSD, everything else sucks", it was simply "I used OpenBSD on a Thinkpad T420 and let me tell you about it".

I also posted about that I tried Linux (Ubuntu), FreeBSD, and OpenBSD on the laptop before deciding on OpenBSD. It wasn't made out of stubbornness.

It was simply the right choice for me for that laptop. And I shared my experience getting it up to a state I was used to with my previous Linux workstation (that this laptop replaced).

But given the amount of steps I do think repeatedly stating how simple and easy things were makes me think your bar is quite low. Compare installation to macOS, it’s a million time so more complicated. If you need a FAQ to configure your system and get wifi working, you’re doing it wrong.

(I also have installed OpenBSD before and found the whole process actually quite complicated and documentation insufficient. YMMV)

That may be true, my bar may be low. I started with early BSD and Linux in 1996, and have been happy with minimal, cheap, and command line ever since.

My experience or expectations others may not share. I didn't truly consider that when writing the blog post.

The stuff I complain about is probably less than 5% of the entire experience. So, almost all the time OpenBSD is out of my way and I go about doing what I did with a Linux workstation.

It is mostly web browser and terminals for me, with random apps here and there like gimp or something.

I'm learning kernel and assembly programming and penetration testing, so my use case probably differs from the average user experience, I'd guess.

I'm just a geek enjoying geeking out :)

The OpenBSD project has a list of stated goals, and “easy to install on an arbitrary laptop” is not one of them. Nor is “compete with major desktop OSs for mass adoption”.

I love the BSDs but for daily use on a laptop I would prefer macOS by far. How is failing to perfectly fulfill a niche it’s not designed for “what’s wrong” with OpenBSD?

Well idunno. I don't concern myself with "trends" and such on GNU/Linux, and things generally get better for me year over year. I have used Linux as my main desktop operating system, to do productive work, for years. I pay a bit of attention to the hardware I'm installing it on (which a lot of people I guess don't feel they should need to, but what do they say about macOS?), but other than that it's basically been the same for me for years. I get better peripherals, components, and assembled computers, and the experience gets better in the ways you would expect for that upgrade.

I think in both cases, people could stand to pay a little bit of attention to what hardware they're using. A lot of people aren't used to this because their hardware comes with an OS that is ostensibly "certified" for it, in the way that bugs in the integration can sometimes be warranty claims. Those manufacturers pay attention to whether or not drivers are available for Windows to support the hardware they're shipping, but consumers experience it as "it just works".

Throwing Linux in with BSD here is not fair. The experience with the major Linux distribution tends to be exactly this: you install them and stuff just works -- especially on desktop hardware.

I am attached to Ubuntu because of apt, my development stack (python, numpy, scipy, matplotlib, and so on), and i3 as window manager. I would like to give it a try, but I am not sure if these applications are available in OpenBSD.

Apt isn't available for OpenBSD, but the rest of the apps you listed are: https://cdn.openbsd.org/pub/OpenBSD/6.5/packages/amd64/


"Speed is Stellar

The speed of the system is stellar. I feel like it is faster than the Linux and FreeBSD installations, but I don’t have proof of it. I suspect there is less bloat to weight things down and the hardware support for Thinkpads is super in OpenBSD."

One of the hallmarks of a good Operating System...

Less 'mainstream' OS's seem more viable to me right now, because pretty much every bit of software I use these days runs in either a terminal or a browser. With termux I feel like I could use just an android phone if I had to.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their opinions, feedback, and help! I truly appreciate it and was not expecting my blog post to explode like it did.

I am grateful for your kindness and hope you have a great time hacking away :)

BSD OS's are very appealing to me given the infiltration of systemd on linux. I'm very excited to be deploying FreeBSD on my homelab network.

Does anyone know the status of Bluetooth on OpenBSD? I believe it does not ship Bluez by default?

It was removed [1] and there aren't plans to bring it back as far as I'm aware. Though you may be surprised in that you can get away without Bluetooth support for some things, e.g. [2].

[1] https://marc.info/?l=openbsd-cvs&m=140511572108715&w=2

[2] https://xosc.org/bluetooth.html

I wish BSD systems had better support for hardware.

surely "my workstation is now openbsd".

fwiw, didn't mention anything at all that would make me budge from linux...

That's OK, I was posting about my experience without intentions to change hearts and minds of others.

I'm just a geek playing around, ya know.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact