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OpenBSD 3.7 Reviewed

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @10:46AM (#12611945)
    Opening line:

    The operating system world has been blessed by another regular release of OpenBSD.

    And, no, it doesn't get any more objective further down. Nor does he talk about the licensing issues or new architectures in any detail at all - less detail, in fact, than he talks about the theme tune.
    • by millahtime (710421) on Monday May 23, 2005 @10:59AM (#12612086) Homepage Journal
      licensing issues

      You have issues with BSD licensing? How much freeer do you want it?
        • You have issues with BSD licensing? How much freeer do you want it?

        Fact 1: BSD license isn't free enough to allow merging in GPLed code.

        Fact 2: GPL isn't free enough to allow merging in BSD licensed code.

        Wether this restriction of freedom is justifiable or not, wether it is unavoidable or not, the fact is that IMHO this is a significant restriction on freedom (both for the programmer and for the code). It forces people to "re-invent the wheel", and therefore it goes against one of the basic motivati

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:18AM (#12612235)
          Fact 1: BSD license isn't free enough to allow merging in GPLed code.
          Fact 2: GPL isn't free enough to allow merging in BSD licensed code.


          No, the modified BSD licence - which everyone uses nowadays - allows you to mix BSD and GPL code. The result is always GPL.

          But that's not the issue here - RTFA.
        • Fact 1: BSD license isn't free enough to allow merging in GPLed code.

          Fact 2: GPL isn't free enough to allow merging in BSD licensed code.


          Fact 3: The purpose of a BSD license is to flip out and kill processes.

          BSD licenses can `kill -9` anyone they want! BSD licenses cut off threads ALL the time and don't even think twice about it. These licenses are so crazy and awesome that they flip out ALL the time. I heard that there was this BSD license who was eating at a diner. And when some dude dropped a packe
        • I'll bite. How isn't BSD "free enough"?

          Are you talking about the so called "freedom" that code has under the GPL that "keeps" it open? That's not really freedom as it comes at a cost, a large cost, the authors "give up" their "rights" is the cost. Now they might want to do that and pay that price (which is perfectly fine if they choose to do so), but afterwards they are no longer free to do what they want with the code, and neither are users who might choose to use the code as the "many rules" of the GPL w
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:15AM (#12612213)
        You have issues with BSD licensing? How much freeer do you want it?

        RTFA. The issue mentioned is that OpenBSD folks object to the Apache 2 licence, and so OpenBSD won't get Apache 2.
        In fact you won't even find Apache 2, because its license is more restrictive than its predecessor. OpenBSD 3.7 includes a heavily modified version of Apache 1.3.29 instead.
      • I'm not sure he was complaining about the BSD license so much as the article not expanding on the license fights OpenBSD has had with hardware vendors. There were only a few sentences scattered throughout.
      • I'm not sure that's the point being made - the article posting states that they DO discuss BSD licensing, so if they don't, then mentioning that fact is entirely relevent, whether the BSD license is OK or not.
    • by Metteyya (790458) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:44AM (#12612504)
      He talks about the licensing issues. Which drives me to the question: what's the logic behind throwing away Apache 2 (because of too restrictive license) and distributing closed-source wireless drivers at the same time?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2005 @10:52AM (#12612002)
    I liked linux back when nobody knew what it was. Now my mom even knows what it is.

    Good bye linux, hello obscurity, er, OpenBSD!
    • by ulib (816651)
      >Now my mom even knows what it is.

      Your mom knows a lot of other things you wouldn't suspect.

      Oh, and btw BSD rules. So, you *please* stay away from it. Thanks

      (No, I didn't forget the "post anonymously" blah blah)
      --
      Requiem for the FUD [slashdot.org]
      • Just out of curiosity do you like FreeBSD or OpenBSD better. And why?
        • Re: That's it (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ulib (816651)
          FreeBSD because of the number of ports, i386 optimization, availability of features that one day could turn out handy (like jails).
          There are also other reasons related to the goals of the projects - I like FreeBSD for emphasizing the "tool" aspect of software, keeping policies/politics completely out of the door. But it's not that I don't respect OpenBSD activism, as a matter of fact I do, they have a point (and by pressing hardware vendors they've already got amazing results). It's just that the FreeBSD po
          • So the difference between OpenBSD and FreeBSD (besides the maintainers of course) is more along the lines of politics (OpenBSD only allowing software in which meets their definition of free). Do these two share between each other? Is there a common BSD kernel or anything like that?
            • Re: That's it (Score:4, Informative)

              by ulib (816651) on Monday May 23, 2005 @05:18PM (#12617291) Homepage
              I simply told you which one I like better and why (i.e. what you asked for). I didn't tell you what are the differences between them, so your deduction is wrong.
              In fact, the main differences are technical, in their very goals: while FreeBSD focuses mainly on features and i386 performance, OpenBSD focuses mainly on code correctness and security.

              >Do these two share between each other?

              Sure they do - and massively.
              For example, one little jewel that came from OpenBSD to the other *BSDs is pf (packet filter) [openbsd.org], that has an excellent reputation for its being very clean and easy to use.

              >Is there a common BSD kernel or anything like that?

              No.
              The *BSDs are developed like OSes, not "distros". So, while they massively share code, they maintain their own kernels.

              To better understand the differences, it helps to notice that OpenBSD was born as a NetBSD fork, 8 years ago - and even today, it shares more code with NetBSD than with FreeBSD.

              But to understand even better, well.. FreeBSD and OpenBSD are renowned for their excellent documentation, that is well worth having a look at.
              http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/h andbook/index.html [freebsd.org]
              http://openbsd.org/faq/index.html [openbsd.org]
              --
              Requiem for the FUD [slashdot.org]
              • I linked to the FreeBSD Handbook, that is the user documentation. But for more general info about the FreeBSD project you might want to have a look at the FAQ first
                http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/ f aq/index.html [freebsd.org]

                I also forgot: this is a very nice place to find competent and informative answers to BSD and Unix related issues
                http://bsdforums.org/forums [bsdforums.org]

                Btw, one little thing that the forum above has, and IMHO Slashdot is missing *badly*, is the ability to edit comments to add things you f
                • Btw, one little thing that the forum above has, and IMHO Slashdot is missing *badly*, is the ability to edit comments to add things you forgot (damn it).

                  Likely so that people couldn't change what they wrote after replies were written, but it would be good to have it eBay-style, so you'd see something like:

                  --- On May 31st, 2005 11:01 AM PST, nacturation added:

                  Oh, forgot to mention that... blah blah.

                  So you could only add, not remove.

            • "So the difference between OpenBSD and FreeBSD (besides the maintainers of course) is more along the lines of politics (OpenBSD only allowing software in which meets their definition of free)."

              No. There are many technical differences in addition to the political differences.

              In general, FreeBSD picks features, compatability and performance first, while OpenBSD picks security and robustness first. Over time, that drift has left them in completely different positions.

              The freedom of 3rd party software is som
          • "Being able to read *other people's* source code is a nice thing, not a 'fundamental freedom'."

            I'm not a big RMS fan, but here's where I'd disagree with you -- how GM engineers their engines and why may be none of my business, but being allowed to tear it apart and replace parts myself for my own use should be a basic right. If I then want to tell others what I did to my GM engine to make it better, so they can do it to theirs, that should be fine too.
            • how GM engineers their engines and why may be none of my business, but being allowed to tear it apart and replace parts myself for my own use should be a basic right. If I then want to tell others what I did to my GM engine to make it better, so they can do it to theirs, that should be fine too.

              I think we're talking about two different things: the right to see the software source code is like the right to have the *blueprints* of that engine (i.e., the right to have their knowledge and know-how, the "reci
  • but in their own way. Everyone is unique--we are all alike in that respect. There is no spoon.
  • by snookerdoodle (123851) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:00AM (#12612089)
    "...an effigy of a crown-wearing penguin."

    Sheesh. The prez in "Mars Attacks" said it best:

    "Why can't we work out our differences? Why can't we work things out? Little people, why can't we all just get along?"

    Mark
  • Actual information (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slavemowgli (585321) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:00AM (#12612093) Homepage
    Is there *any* actual information in this article at all (useful information, anyway)? The only tidbits I could find boil down to things like "my on-board controller didn't work", "I couldn't compile KDE myself", and "this and that specific option to this and that program gives a warning when you use it".

    Outside of these things, the only pieces of information I could find boiled down to "there's two new ports", "it still doesn't include Apache 2.x", and "you get daily (in)security reports mailed to you". If it wasn't for the irrelevant fluff mentioned above, I'd assume the author of this article hasn't even installed OpenBSD and instead just looked through the website and maybe Google'd for some extra information.

    I really hope the author didn't get payed too much for this, because no matter how much he got, the article wasn't worth it.
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:14AM (#12612206) Homepage Journal
      I have to admit I am disappointed. No benchmarks. No list of new features, No detail on setting up a server running it.
      Heck it was more of a bad press release than a review.
    • by emil (695) on Monday May 23, 2005 @12:09PM (#12612778) Homepage

      When I ran RedHat, there were some pretty annoying things that got changed from release to release (inetd disappears, two different C compiler installs because of kernel problems, etc.).

      This kind of stuff doesn't happen in OpenBSD. From an administration perspective, my first 3.2 install is very similar to the 3.5 that I run now, which itself is similar to 3.7. There are no large architecture changes (perhaps because things are well-thought-out from the start).

      Because of this, you pretty much know what you're getting when a new OpenBSD release comes out. The installer is practically identical, and the running system yeilds few surprises. There will always be new features, but there won't be lots of things to unlearn.

      So no, I don't really pay much attention to the reviews. The list of new features on the OpenBSD web page pretty much tells me all that I need to know.

      • There are no large architecture changes (perhaps because things are well-thought-out from the start).

        Or perhaps because releases are frequent enough that changes are spread out over different releases.

        How many times has OpenBSD completely broken binary compatibily in the past ~2 years? 3 times or so?

        Personally, it's the tiny useless changes that really bother me. In your config files, one option will be known by a slightly different name from release to release.

      • "two different C compiler installs because of kernel problems"

        OpenBSD had GCC 2.9 and 3.x for a while. I think 3.7 is the first release in a while with just one C compiler.

        "There are no large architecture changes"

        What, like the IPF to PF transition? Or the a.out to ELF transition that broke all the old binaries?

        OpenBSD is my OS of choice, but let's not kid ourselves. It has uphevals from time to time.
        • OpenBSD had GCC 2.9 and 3.x for a while. I think 3.7 is the first release in a while with just one C compiler.

          Each platform had only one compiler, and the kernel was built with that same compiler. Red Hat 6 came with two different compilers on each platform.

          What, like the IPF to PF transition?

          I started using OpenBSD at 3.2, and this was already done, so it was no pain to me. Implementing PF was a sound choice, it caused a major version upgrade (2 to 3), it removed a big licensing problem, and

    • by molnarcs (675885) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .scranlom.> on Monday May 23, 2005 @01:37PM (#12614097) Homepage Journal
      Once I criticized this guy (in a comment) for an even more shallow review FreeBSD 5.3 - because I firmly believed (and I still believe) that he didn't even bother to install it :)) He wrote a review on 5.2 a few months before that, which was very critical (and rightfully so, 5.2 was a quite flaky release) but at the same a really good review. In his 5.3 review he basically recirculated the points he made for 5.2, and even got some really weird factual mistakes. His response was to put me on his foe list ... now that's a pretty childish behaviour, isn't it?

      Later he wrote an article on newsforge about "Being Free is Hard to Do" on free software, than he submitted this article to slashdot under his nick (ValourX), describing it in the following terms:

      What is more important to you -- the four freedoms of Free Software, or the ability to maximize the value of your computer? It's a question that comes up on Slashdot often, but rarely is it so well argued as it is in this NewsForge article. Link. [slashdot.org]
      What shameless self promotion! It is a pity, for once this guy wrote excellent reviews and articles, but what he does lately is prostitution, not journalism.
      • I wish I could mod you up.
        After his FreeBSD 5.3 "review", it's amazing that a piece written by this guy - who rarely does argue so well as himself :D - can make news *anywhere*, let alone on Slashdot.

        Thanks for revealing another one of these trollish characters - you really seem to have a talent for spotting them. ;)

        (Yes, I want to be on his s**t list too. Does it show? :D)

        --
        Being able to read *other people's* source code is a nice thing, not a 'fundamental freedom'.
      • He's up to his old tricks. Yesterday he put out a 5.4 review. Deja vu! It reads just like his 5.3 review! Including wierd factual mistakes!

        The jemreport has a widespread reputation, and it's not a good one.
  • I've seen crap reviews like this all over the place recently. Perhaps some standardized questions to answer about the OS as it is being reviewed would make the reviews more informative and comparable?
  • by dayid (802168) * <slashdot@dayid.org> on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:13AM (#12612184) Homepage
    As someone who replied to the original article (see bottom of original link) mentioned, it would've been interesting to have seen a true comprehensive analysis of OpenBSD, rather than a lot of "I think" and "I liked".

    I would have appreciated the article more if it were a lot more in-depth, but perhaps that would've ward off others. I would like to see him not just talk about the install process (initially), but also how easy it was to install applications (and not just "I had to type too much"), configure them (interface-configuration, or purely text-editing), and finally - how well they all interacted. Now, I know that sounds more like an analysis of the individual applications rather than the operating system, but what is an operating system if not a platform that you use to interact with applications?

    We also hear about the "new wireless" stuff... where was that? Test with multiple cards? USB-Wireless perhaps? PCMCIA Wireless? To tout such things (even in the review) and then not do anything with them is rather disappointing.
  • by The Slashdotted (665535) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:28AM (#12612332)
    From the article:

    The theme of the OpenBSD 3.7 CD set is The Wizard of Oz, and the cute little CD jacket cartoon strip shows the OpenBSD mascot and friends on a journey to achieve better wireless card drivers. Their adventure takes them to the Emerald City to meet the great and powerful Wizard of OS himself -- an effigy of a crown-wearing penguin. The man behind the curtain turns out to be a Richard Stallman-like character with GNU horns. The characters are disappointed because the Wizard ends up being "all talk -- no action!" So they decide to code the wireless driver by reverse-engineering the device.
    • The characters are disappointed because the Wizard ends up being "all talk -- no action!" So they decide to code the wireless driver by reverse-engineering the device.

      Just curious, when was the last time that RMS reverse engineered a useful device and posted the driver source?
      • Just curious, when was the last time that RMS reverse engineered a useful device and posted the driver source?

        Just curious, when was the last time Theo wrote a compiler suite capable of e.g building OpenBSD?

        That's what I love about the OpenBSD community - the total lack of arrogance.
        • Arrogance or not, at least they are actively persuing hardware manufacturers to get specs opened up a bit. None of those corps are going to listen to RMS while he preaches GNU philosophy from his pulpit. And hey, why bring up the compiler? It's free in all the appropriate senses, so Theo and crew are simply using available tools.
        • Just curious, when was the last time Theo wrote a compiler suite capable of e.g building OpenBSD?

          Tendra is more-or-less on his TODO list.

          The parent's post was too specific. Let me generalize it... When was the last time RMS wrote useful code of any kind, rather than just blowing hot air?
    • The man behind the curtain look more like Ty Semaka (http://www.tysemaka.com/ [tysemaka.com]). He's guy behind the lyrics and art work, well most of it anyway. It doesn't look anything like Stallman.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Last night I switched from Debian unstable to OpenBSD 3.7, on account of the better wireless support.

    So far it's been a good deal. I copied my $HOME from Debian, installed a bunch of stuff from the ports tree, and I can hardly tell the difference now, other than better wireless support, and probably a cleaner userland.

    OpenBSD's base system is great, and though the ports tree is nowhere near as massive as Debian, it still contains nearly 100% of the relevant tools that I use every day, packaged in a very
    • Let me begin by saying that I want to like OpenBSD 3.7, I really do, but I find that I can't... not enough to switch to it.

      Last week, my dual-boot Win98/Ubuntu laptop (an Inspiron 3700) ate itself, so I decided to use the opportunity to try OpenBSD 3.7, given the allure of the new wireless drivers.

      The install went well and I got X running as soon as I realized that I needed to use 'xorgconfig' rather than 'xf86config3'. I downloadeed a snapshot of the ports tree and did the obligatory builds of Gnome (2.8
      • If the number of ports/packages is one of your main concerns, FreeBSD currently has more than 12.000 ports. [freebsd.org]
        --
        Being able to read *other people's* source code is a nice thing, not a 'fundamental freedom'.
      • Definitely go for FreeBSD Then. The only two OS's i settle into after 5 years of extensive experimenting and shuffling are FreeBSD and Gentoo. If you do try FreeBSD, my word of advise is to install all third party apps from the ports tree, and as few from the install CDs as possible. Things just end up cleaner that way.

        Oh, and don't listen to the bullshit about portupgrade being a sad excuse for an upgrade mechanism. I kept a production server running for 2 years using cvsup and portupgrade. I actua
      • I understand the licensing issue, but compared to the NetBSD package tree and the even-more vast FreeBSD ports tree, the OpenBSD ports tree is downright spartan

        You can, of course, use NetBSD's pkgsrc on OpenBSD - and the OpenBSD FAQ even recommends you do this in some situations. If you find software you want in pkgsrc but not in OpenBSDs ports (by the way, you should really use packages unless you have a very good reason for compiling from ports), then this might be a better solution for you.

      • *sigh*

        As I always tell people: OpenBSD is great, provided you actually read the doucumentation! Since you seem to want OpenBSD to work exactly like Linux so that you don't have to read anything, I'm going to suggest that you just stick with Linux. This isn't intended an insult; for some reason, some people just don't want to read the fine manuals. Those people need to avoid OpenBSD like the plauge. Put another way, your post makes it obvious that you didn't read the instructions...

        >I downloadeed a s

  • When will OpenBSD finally boot above cylinder 1024 or whatever? I am very serious about this because I love OpenBSD and would like to see it on more desktops. It has progressed much in the last 10 years.

    OpenBSD is not open to the typical install process, ie 10Gig of Windows then no possible booting for OpenBSD.

    Do we have to wait for version 5.0 before Theo "gets it?"
  • Server OS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eraser.cpp (711313) on Monday May 23, 2005 @11:24PM (#12620153) Homepage
    OpenBSD is really more of a server OS. Sure you /can/ use it as a desktop, but there are better alternatives. I think its strongest point is how in /etc/rc.conf one can simply change say named_flags=N to named_flags="" (command arguments could go inside the quotes) and bam! BIND is up and running. Many of these services are available in /etc/rc.conf from the default install. Thus with OpenBSD it is possible to bring up a reliable and secure server fairly quickly.
    • Of course anyone who actually USES OpenBSD knows that /etc/rc.conf should not be modified and you should really modify /etc/rc.conf.local instead. That way, when you upgrade, changes you make are not lost since /etc/rc.conf might have new options and /etc/rc.conf.local will still work as expected.

      Also, what alternatives are so much better than OpenBSD for a desktop? Unless you are trying to play 3D rendered games, OpenBSD can do pretty much anything FreeBSD or Linux can do. Have you not heard of emulation?

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