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BSD Operating Systems

OpenBSD 2.8 Review 20

Patrick Mullen writes: "OpenBSD 2.8 is a big release in many ways, but who has time to read the long release information pages? The Duke of URL has just reviewed OpenBSD 2.8 and covers all the new features, installation (including a mini-HowTo for those new OpenBSD users), information about the organization, and much more."
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OpenBSD 2.8 Review

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    'Secure by default' means you don't have to be too worried if your system touches a public network before you get it properly configured. It DOES NOT mean you're dealing with a Ronco Rotisserie where you 'set it and forget it!' You still have to keep up on security issues! Anyone who says differently is very foolish and deserves the full wrath of the most malicious script kiddie!

    I haven't played with 2.8 yet, but the 'default' 2.7 installation was useless as a server until changes were made--as it should be! Change one tiny thing and you are no longer dealing with a 'default' system. OpenBSD is very good about getting patches out, especially before anyone even knows there is a problem, but they take no responsibility for those who don't apply those patches! You have been warned!
  • by Jose ( 15075 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @12:15PM (#443968) Homepage
    Linux was first started in 1991. OpenBSD forked off of NetBSD, in 1995. NetBSD was started in 1991 I believe..There is a Unix timeline here [wanadoo.fr]
    Nice try though.

  • well, except for the fact that BSD itself started in 1978.... yes, the free BSDs are relatively young (about the same time as Linux) but BSD has been around a LONG time
  • I do see your point, but this is probably a bad example. A review isn't news- I don't want to see reviews of any normal releases of software on the main page.

    OpenBSD 2.8 release? Mainpage. A review? I can understand shoving that aside. I wouldn't call a review of a BSD something "really cool in the BSD world."

  • I was looking for that page earlier, but I could find it... I was thinking of the earlier (IBSD) fork that happened in 1978. Thanks for the pointer, I think I've found a new poster for the office wall.
  • Among the sprinkling of errors that are scattered throughout the review, there is one that stands out. He makes mention of how young BSD is, specifically OpenBSD. Now I may be wrong but isn't BSD (and OpenBSD) descended from the original Unix, and is much older than Linux?
  • Just one quick question: why would you search for FreeBSD when looking for information about the OpenBSD fork? OpenBSD descended from NetBSD, which as you have already said, is entirely different than FreeBSD.
  • 170meg? Luxury!!!
    I've got 80 meg and had to forgo the installer and do it all by ftp!! /usr/mdec/installboot /mnt/usr/mdec biosboot /boot
  • Chances are that anyone that actually came to this story is already an OpenBSD fan since it wasn't on the /. home page, but for that small percentage of you that aren't wise in the ways of OpenBSD: It rocks!!

    I admit it, I'm an OpenBSD newbie, but setting it up is a cinch. They guide you right through it in the foldout that comes with the CD. A book that also helped me out is "Building linux and OpenBSD Firewalls". It too guides you through the install (for 2.5 though, a tad different) and it also gives a lot of good examples of ipfilters and ipnat. The man pages are great too. They go into why things are set up the way they are, not just how.

    If you are even remotely interested in securing your home network and have an old machine laying around (mines a P1-166 with only a 2 gig drive), buy the CD and try it out.



  • OpenBSD split from NetBSD, which had split from FreeBSD.


  • Now I may be wrong but isn't BSD (and OpenBSD) descended from the original Unix, and is much older than Linux?

    Others have answered this question, but I do not think any have done so completely.

    There is a decent History of Unix [unix-systems.org] page on unix-systems.org [unix-systems.org] which can help you. The timeline table further down the page is better than the lame text at the top, which glosses over too much.

    1969: Unix. PDP-7 at bell labs. Reportedly intended for writing games.
    1971: First edition of AT&T Unix.
    ... 1975: Sixth edition. Unix makes it out formally. BSD 1.x is derived from this.

    Okay, so BSD has its roots in the original unix, but not until 1975. While technically speaking, there is a parental chain from the original unix to BSD, which grew into 4.4-lite, which made it out and more or less became the parent of Free/Net/OpenBSD...

    1984: 4.2BSD (TCP/IP)
    1986: 4.3BSD (DNS Server)
    1991: Torvalds begins writing linux (unrelated, but significant data; Note how far after modern BSD we are - Modern meaning 4.2. TCP, after all, is (these days) a big part of what makes Unix Unix.)
    1993: 4.4BSD. Final release of Berkeley Unix, kinda.
    1994: 4.4BSD-lite. THIS IS IT, BABY.

    4.4BSD-Lite is important because, as the timeline states, "BSD 4.4-Lite eliminated all code claimed to infringe on USL/Novell". Novell took ownership of USL (Unix System Labs) in 1993. It was the first version of Unix actually provided by Berkeley that was unencumbered by the hosed up Novell-owned USL code. It was also the last version of Unix produced by Berkeley, since everyone else started producing BSD OSes for them. How nice :)

    So 4.4-Lite can be distributed to anyone, whether or not they have the expensive (Except to academia) source license. People everywhere begin hacking it up to run on, well, anything they have around. M88k boards. VAXen. Sparcs. Whatever.

    So now we have three major free BSD implementations, and probably a host of others which are stagnating on a gopher site someplace, and we may never see them.

    Anyway, NetBSD's History:

    The source for NetBSD is derived from 386BSD 0.1, patched with the 0.2.2 patch kit. In addition, many programs in UCB's second BSD Networking Software Release which were missing from 386BSD have been integrated into NetBSD, some of the changes from the upcoming 0.2.3 patch kit have been included, and many local additions and bug fixes have been performed. NetBSD is currently 100% binary compatible with 386BSD, so programs like XFree86 which are already available for 386BSD will install and run on NetBSD as easily as on 386BSD. NetBSD would not be possible were it not for the work of the UCB Computer Systems Research Group, which released Net/2, or the work of William and Lynne Jolitz, who brought 386BSD into the world, or the work of the thousands of contributors to Net/2 and 386BSD. NetBSD is the product of the efforts of a large group of people, and we believe that that group should have a say in deciding NetBSD's future.

    386BSD [linuxguruz.org] was based on Berkeley Net/2, which was apparently a subrelease of 4.3BSD, maybe? It's hard to say. This ASCII BSD FAQ [iastate.edu] has more information in section 0.1 about the origins of the *BSD family. I will excerpt the interesting part here:

    There were several version of BSD roaming around, but they all had one thing in common. You HAD to have a source code license to the original Unix source to get a working version going. The bulk of the code was written at Berkeley, much of it by long-haired computer geeks, complete with bad complexions and pocket protectors. Many Master's Degrees were built on what was to follow.

    Then, suddenly, someone realized the amount of source code from the original Unix distribution was pretty much down to zilch. They decided that making the distribution available to the whole world (not just the select Unix license holders) seemed like a pretty 'groovy' (to use the vernacular) idea. From that came the Net distribution.

    William and Lynne Jolitz, with their standard flair and panache, decided to write the pieces that needed to be written. From that decision came 386BSD Version 0.0. Generally considered to be unusable, it was nonetheless a major coup, in that one no longer needed the dreaded 'source license' to produce working operating system images.

    So, now you know (vaguely) where 386BSD came from; Like I said, BSD. I used NetBSD as my lead-in to all of this because it was the first derivative of a source tracable back to the beginning. I still can't tell if it was based on 4.2 or 4.3; The tape was labeled "Berkeley Net Release/2". Sounds like 4.2.

    That same ascii FAQ provides this gem:

    If you take a look at the README files that accompany each of these packages, you will find that each is based as closely as possible to BSD 4.4-Lite. The core development team for FreeBSD used the 4.4 Lite distribution and re-engineered the missing pieces to come up with the the current version of FreeBSD. The NetBSD developers started with the existing 386BSD files, and compared them to the unencumbered, freely releasable files from BSD 4.4. For both groups, any files which were not available (through being encumbered) were written from scratch to provide the functionality that was needed. Either way, both systems are close to BSD 4.4. Of course, each has differences that make it different from the other, and different from regular BSD 4.4.

    So that tells you an awful lot about that. Most of us know where OpenBSD came from, so I won't rehash that; Suffice to say, you can probably find PLENTY of commentary about it by doing a websearch. Terms you might consider are "Theo OpenBSD FreeBSD code fork", but that's just a guess. I haven't tried them. Just try to read it with an open mind, heh. Good luck!


  • Just one quick question: why would you search for FreeBSD when looking for information about the OpenBSD fork? OpenBSD descended from NetBSD, which as you have already said, is entirely different than FreeBSD.

    Whoops, that was a braino. I did mean to say NetBSD.

    Incidentally, a chart I was looking at seemed to indicate that there was a significant infusion of code from FreeBSD into OpenBSD at some point. My notes say that in October 1996, OpenBSD 2.0 was released, and it had code from both 4.4BSD-Lite 2.0 and FreeBSD 2.1 added to it at that point. I don't have any factoids to back it up, though.


  • ok, so I posted my rant to a review...my bad

    your point is valid....but how often do i get to make my point? (oops! almost everytime there *is* BSD news :-)

  • i just love how BSD is contantly ommitted from the front page...

    some monkey figures out how to build a robot that runs redhat that he programed to wipe his dogs ass and it stays on the front page, but let something really nifty in the bsd world make news and it never sees the light of day.

    /. is bigotry at it's finest...almost like racism...mmmm seeing a connection.

  • The review would be okay, if he was reviewing an office suite. The author goes through the installation process and tells some general features of OpenBSD, but never even reviews security or stability, OpenBSD's strongest points. I don't even think he mentioned encryption one time. Come on, this is supposed to be a friggin' server OS, not some Windows replacement! Can't we at least have benchmarks?

  • Do the Karma whore dance!

    You can order an OpenBSD CD from here: http://www.openbsd.org/orders.html [openbsd.org].

    And btw, I recently switched from Linux to OpenBSD 2.8 on my world-visible box. Like the article said, because it's secure by default, I don't have to constantly keep up with BUGTRAQ to make sure I'm not going to get whacked. My personal computer is still Linux though. Different tools for different jobs.

  • the article suggests you buy a CD from linuxcentral. Get the official CD from openbsd.org instead so that the people who actually work on it get some money.
  • Yes, 2.8 is very fine. And as always, the running requirements are SO reasonable. My 486-66 w/32 meg ram is my DSL router, runs 24 hours a day, and can keep my house-full of PC's streaming at full speed.

    And it was twenty times easier to setup NAT than Linux.

  • I just downloaded a script from freshmeat, and NAT worked on my slackware machine.

    If OpenBSD's nat is 20 times easier than this, then it must not only read your mind as to the fact that you want nat, but it will have it configured for you at least 3 years before you even think of configuring it.
  • I also use OpenBSD for a NAT router and have to agree with you here.. the setup is so simple & very easy to get everything working as if there is no NAT with a few port redirects (such as ICQ, Napster etc).. the only thing i can't get going is NetMeeting to receive video.. thought about writing a H.323 packet parser that dynamically adds NAT rules for the ports but i don't really need NetMeeting that much.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb