| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 681, 3 October 2016
Welcome to this year's 40th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
A lot of the open source community focuses on features and some distributions strive for stability, but few make security and documentation top priorities. This week we turn our attention toward OpenBSD. The OpenBSD operating system has a well deserved reputation for security and for producing accurate documentation. Our Feature Story this week explores how to set up OpenBSD and how well OpenBSD works as a desktop operating system. In our Questions and Answers column we discuss a deal which some claim will wed HPE and SUSE and what this deal's impact might be on openSUSE. In the news last week DragonFly BSD improved support for alternative SSL libraries in the project's port collection and a serious bug was found in systemd which affects many Linux distributions. We also share an upgrade for the Mintbox Mini computer, warn eager FreeBSD users not to install early builds of version 11.0 and say a sad farewell to Debian contributor Kristoffer Rose. Plus we share the distribution releases of the past week and provide a list of the torrents we are seeding. In this week's Opinion Poll we explore which flavours of BSD are the most popular. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (22MB) and MP3 (32MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
OpenBSD 6.0 - an exercise in precision
The OpenBSD project is well known for its strong focus on security and for its precise documentation. The OpenBSD operating system generally gives preference to security and properly behaving software over features. OpenBSD is lightweight, sparse and relatively locked down by default. This makes the platform particularly popular among administrators who need a firewall or other minimal and stable platform.
OpenBSD 6.0 introduces many small changes and a handful of important ones. Looking through the release notes we find support for the VAX platform has been dropped. There have been several security updates to the OpenSSH secure shell service. Perhaps one of the more interesting security features in the operating system is strict enforcement of W^X: "W^X is now strictly enforced by default; a program can only violate it if the executable is marked with PT_OPENBSD_WXNEEDED and is located on a file system mounted with the wxallowed mount option. Because there are still too many ports which violate W^X, the installer mounts the /usr/local file system with wxallowed. This allows the base system to be more secure as long as /usr/local is a separate file system. If you use no W^X violating programs, consider manually revoking that option."
I decided to play with the 64-bit x86 build of OpenBSD which is 226MB in size. Booting from this ISO presents us with a text console where we are asked if we would like to install OpenBSD, upgrade an existing copy of the operating system or perform an auto-install. I chose to perform a normal installation.
At first, OpenBSD's system installer can seem a bit intimidating. It uses a text interface and will ask us a bunch of technical questions and this can put off newcomers. However, there are two nice aspects of OpenBSD's installer. One is that the installer almost always provides a sane default for us to use. This allows people to simply press Enter at most prompts. One of the few times we cannot get by simply pressing Enter is when we provide a password for our account. Otherwise we can fly through the installation process more or less on autopilot. The other nice feature is OpenBSD's installer is fast. We can get through the prompts in a minute and the copying of package files only takes a few minutes more. Even on older computers, a fresh installation of OpenBSD is likely to take less than ten minutes.
The installer walks us through choosing a keyboard layout, configuring the network, creating a root password and (optionally) creating a regular user account. We also have some choices to make regarding packages. The installer lets us decide whether we want to install graphical software and a window manager. We can also pick whether to install console games and documentation. I decided to install just about everything and enabled the graphical environment. Partitioning can be set up for us or we can manually divide up the disk. By default, OpenBSD creates many smaller partitions for /usr/local, /var, /tmp and the X11 display software as well as swap and /home partitions. While there are some security benefits to more fine-grained partitions, many people will probably prefer to set up a root partition and two more for /home and swap, assigning more space to each mount point. When the installer finishes setting up the operating system we are asked to reboot the computer.
OpenBSD boots to a graphical login screen where the user can sign into their account. OpenBSD, by default, uses a fairly minimal graphical environment. Upon signing in a virtual terminal opens on a blank background. A grid in the bottom-right corner of the screen shows the available virtual workspaces.
Apart from the window manager, OpenBSD is fairly minimal. We have access to the usual collection of Unix/Unix-like command line utilities, detailed manual pages and a package manager (pkg_add). Other tools, such as a minimal web server, the doas privilege assignment utility and the PF firewall are available too. With all of the base components installed, OpenBSD can still squeeze into a file system about 1GB in size.
OpenBSD 6.0 -- Installing packages from the command line
(full image size: 827kB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
Most people, at least those like me who like to run desktop environments, will want to add additional software to the operating system. OpenBSD offers users a large collection of third-party ports and, for popular architectures, pre-built binary packages are also available. The pkg_add command line package manager requires that we select a package mirror before we can install new software. The OpenBSD website provides documentation which explains how to set a mirror using an environment variable. Once we have selected a mirror, pkg_add will install packages for us and resolve any dependencies automatically.
I decided to set up my usual collection of desktop applications, installing such extras as Firefox, the GNU Image Manipulation Program and LibreOffice. I also wanted a fuller desktop experience and installed Lumina, a Qt-based desktop environment with minimal dependencies. With OpenBSD's default configuration, the graphical login screen does not present the user with available desktop session options the way most Linux distributions do. Instead, each user can list their preferred desktop environment in their ~/.xsession file. I found the Lumina desktop, along with the other packages I wanted, installed and functioned without any problems. The only package I wanted and was unable to find was the Qupzilla web browser.
OpenBSD 6.0 -- Running the Firefox web browser
(full image size: 321kB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
Soon, I had a comfortable desktop environment. I was able to work on documents, check e-mail, browse the web and watch YouTube videos via Firefox's HTML5 support. For people who need Flash support, the GNU Flash implementation, called Gnash, is available in OpenBSD's repositories. When the Gnash plugin is installed, Firefox automatically detects it and uses it to play Flash content.
I found the Lumina desktop components had changed a bit since the last time I used Lumina as part of a review. The configuration panel has been divided up differently and there appears to be more fine-grained control provided by the configuration modules. I also found the keyboard short-cut keys and settings were saved and utilized more reliably. The lightweight Lumina desktop (version 0.9.0) running on the minimal OpenBSD operating system provided a very responsive environment which required a mere 170 MB of memory.
OpenBSD 6.0 -- Running the Lumina desktop
(full image size: 925kB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
OpenBSD switched last year from using the popular sudo privilege assignment software to using the project's custom doas utility. The doas software has a simplified syntax and features less code than sudo. The functions of the two commands are similar, but I find configuring doas to be more straightforward and it involves less cryptic configuration files. While doas is available by default on OpenBSD, the utility rejects all attempts to use doas until a configuration file has been created by the root user. This prevents new users from accidentally getting more access than they should been assigned.
I attempted to run OpenBSD on my laptop and in a VirtualBox environment. I found the operating system performed quite well in VirtualBox. The system booted in a few seconds, the base operating system and its applications were stable. The system performed well and used less than 200MB of memory. OpenBSD did not boot on my laptop computer. I have heard OpenBSD tends to do well with laptop hardware, particularly wireless networking cards, but was unable to verify the operating system's reputation.
OpenBSD 6.0 -- Testing the Gnash plugin on Flash content
(full image size: 176kB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
OpenBSD is a project I think is great for firewalls and, in many situations, servers. However, I have been reluctant in the past to recommend (or even use) OpenBSD as a desktop operating system. OpenBSD is, out of the box, fairly minimal and, like do-it-yourself Linux distributions such as Arch Linux, it can take some time to get OpenBSD set up the way I want it. Desktop environments and most graphical applications are added to the system post-installation and even the package manager needs to be pointed at the proper mirror; it doesn't work without being configured.
That being said, there are several aspects of OpenBSD which can make it an appealing desktop system. The initial installation of OpenBSD happens very quickly, taking just a few minutes, and most of my set up time this week was spent just downloading third-party applications. OpenBSD defaults to secure configurations, locking things down. As an example, my regular user account was not able to shutdown the system while logged into Lumina with the default settings. Access to perform most tasks must be explicitly granted. This may be inconvenient at times, especially on a single-user system, but it does mean OpenBSD protects us with its default settings, so a user really needs to go out of their way to break things.
OpenBSD has very basic package management and security updates are often applied manually. There are third-party repositories that can be used to automate security updates, but I do not think they are officially supported at this time.
What I really like about OpenBSD though is its performance. The system is very light, runs on older equipment and on a wide range of architectures. The system requires relatively little disk space (the base system, Lumina and my applications totalled about 2GB in size) and only a few hundred megabytes of memory. This makes OpenBSD quite appealing for people running older equipment.
OpenBSD can be intimating with its do-it-yourself approach, but once one becomes familiar with the system, the user is rewarded with a very simple, consistent and well documented working environment.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a de-branded HP laptop with the following
- Processor: Intel i3 2.5GHz CPU
- Display: Intel integrated video
- Storage: Western Digital 700GB hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Wired network device: Realtek RTL8101E/RTL8102E PCI Express Fast
- Wireless network device: Realtek RTL8188EE Wireless network card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
DragonFly BSD builds dports with LibreSSL, a systemd denial of service bug, the Mintbox Mini, FreeBSD 11.0 delayed and Debian says good-bye to Kristoffer Rose
LibreSSL is a fork of the OpenSSL security and encryption library which was started by the OpenBSD developers. Many projects are switching to using LibreSSL due to proactive security audits and the removal of legacy code from the library. The DragonFly BSD project has already adopted LibreSSL into the base system and is introducing support for LibreSSL in the project's ports system. In a post on DragonFly BSD Digest Justin Sherrill shared this news: "It's now possible to build dports using LibreSSL instead of OpenSSL. Set SSL_DEFAULT in make.conf to the appropriate port name, and start building. Use synth for fastest results, of course. LibreSSL will eventually become the default library. This is in addition to the previously-mentioned, already-completed in DragonFly 4.7, base system switch to LibreSSL." Details and documentation for the supported SSL libraries can be found in John Marino's mailing list post.
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The systemd software has made its way into most mainstream Linux distributions, replacing SysV init and Upstart. The systemd software is responsible for, among other things, setting up most Linux distributions at boot time, managing background services and cleanly shutting down the machine. Last week a bug was found which allows any user to crash systemd using a one-line command. This effectively acts as a denial of service attack, affecting systemd, but leaving the rest of the system running. Most distributions running systemd have published patches and the issue has been fixed in the upstream systemd code. While the bug was quickly fixed, its existence fuelled the fires of the systemd controversy on many message boards and raised concerns about systemd's complexity.
* * * * *
The Mintbox Mini is a small, fan-less computer that runs the Linux Mint operating system. The Mintbox has received an upgrade and is currently available in two editions: Mintbox Mini and Mintbox Mini Pro. "This new unit also features better passive cooling thanks to an all-metal black housing. It has an extra USB port (for a total of 2 USB 3.0 and 4 USB 2.0 ports) and we also spotted powered eSATA and a microSIM slot. Production started and Compulab started to take orders." Specifications are available on the Linux Mint blog.
* * * * *
While many people discovered and downloaded early builds of FreeBSD 11.0, Glen Barber warns FreeBSD users that they should hold off on installing version 11.0 until the official release announcement. The installation media which appeared on the download mirrors several days ago contained bugs and, as a result, the FreeBSD project is rebuilding their installation media for version 11.0. "Although the FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE has not yet been officially announced, many have found images on the Project FTP mirrors. However, please be aware the final 11.0-RELEASE will be rebuilt and republished on the Project mirrors as a result of a few last-minute security fixes we feel are imperative to include in the final release." People who have prematurely installed version 11.0 will be able to install security fixes once the final release has been announced.
* * * * *
The Debian project had to say good-bye to contributor Kristoffer H. Rose when the team learned Rose has passed away in mid-September. The Debian project reported: "The Debian Project recently learned that it has lost a member of its community. Kristoffer H. Rose died on September 17th after a long battle with myelo fibrosis. Kristoffer was a Debian contributor from the very early days of the project, and the upstream author of several packages that are still in the Debian archive nowadays, such as the LaTeX package Xy-pic and FlexML. On his return to the project after several years' absence, many of us had the pleasure of meeting Kristoffer during DebConf15 in Heidelberg." We would like to offer our thanks to Rose for his many contributions to open source and our condolences to his family and friends.
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Was openSUSE just purchased?
Going-green asks: I have heard that openSUSE has been purchased by HP. What will this mean for openSUSE and does it mean we are likely to see HP offer better Linux support?
DistroWatch answers: A few weeks ago there were rumours, largely due to this ZDNet article, that Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) had purchased SUSE and would therefore own SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) and openSUSE. There was some speculation as to what this might mean for openSUSE users and how this would benefit people running SLE on HP equipment.
The rumours were less fact than fiction though. The SUSE Blog published a post last week, clarifying the situation. As it turns out, while HPE is working out a deal with SUSE's parent company, Micro Focus, the deal will not result in HPE owning or controlling SUSE. "HPE would not be acquiring Micro Focus or SUSE with this proposed transaction. SUSE ownership would be unchanged. SUSE would remain a business within the Micro Focus company and Micro Focus will remain independent of HPE. SUSE would not be owned in any way or controlled by HPE. SUSE would obviously continue to be a key part of the new, larger Micro Focus organization just as it is a key part of Micro Focus today. So no change there, either. And the SUSE leadership team, business strategy and goals all remain unchanged and completely focused on continuing to deliver and support the enterprise-grade open source solutions."
There is some talk about SUSE and HPE working on mutually beneficial deals for OpenStack deployments, which will help customers of either organization with their cloud-based services. However, it looks as though the openSUSE distribution will remain unaffected by the deal between HPE and Micro Focus. For those of us not running our own cloud services, it will be business as usual.
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For more questions and answers, visit our Questions and Answers archive.
Bittorrent is a great way to transfer large files, particularly open source operating system images, from one place to another. Most bittorrent clients recover from dropped connections automatically, check the integrity of files and can re-download corrupted bits of data without starting a download over from scratch. These characteristics make bittorrent well suited for distributing open source operating systems, particularly to regions where Internet connections are slow or unstable.
Many Linux and BSD projects offer bittorrent as a download option, partly for the reasons listed above and partly because bittorrent's peer-to-peer nature takes some of the strain off the project's servers. However, some projects do not offer bittorrent as a download option. There can be several reasons for excluding bittorrent as an option. Some projects do not have enough time or volunteers, some may be restricted by their web host provider's terms of service. Whatever the reason, the lack of a bittorrent option puts more strain on a distribution's bandwidth and may prevent some people from downloading their preferred open source operating system.
With this in mind, DistroWatch plans to give back to the open source community by hosting and seeding bittorrent files. For now, we are hosting a small number of distribution torrents, listed below. The list of torrents offered will be updated each week and we invite readers to e-mail us with suggestions as to which distributions we should be hosting. When you message us, please place the word "Torrent" in the subject line, make sure to include a link to the ISO file you want us to seed. To help us maintain and grow this free service, please consider making a donation.
The table below provides a list of torrents we currently host. If you do not currently have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found here. All torrents we make available here are also listed on the very useful Linux Tracker website. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 242
- Total data uploaded: 45.0TB
|Released Last Week
Promox 4.3 "Virtual Environment"
Proxmox "Virtual Environment" (VE) is a Debian-based platform for running and managing virtual appliances, containers and virtual machines. The latest version of the distribution, Promox 4.3 "Virtual Environment", includes a number of upgrades to the project's documentation and improvements to the graphical interface. "The new reference documentation is created like the former Proxmox technical documentation: man pages are auto-generated based on the code, help content itself is written by the developers via comments in the code. Then for generating the docu the Proxmox VE project uses asciiDoc. To participate in the documentation project users can send a patch to the open source project for proposing new content. The former documentation, the Proxmox VE wiki, stays public, links to the reference documentation, and hosts all the how-tos, use cases, etc. The updated vertical GUI structure is one of the main advancements made to the GUI of Proxmox VE 4.3. Proxmox developers re-arranged some of the horizontal menus in the GUI framework Sencha ext JS 6 introduced with Proxmox version 4.2 and they are now vertical. This structure also allowed the Proxmox developers to build groups, add icons, and optimize the logical navigation structure. The flat design of the sencha theme made this step essential as menus weren’t very well recognizable. The vertical structure now shows every menu in a single line." Further information is available in the project's release announcement.
The Chapeau project develops a Fedora-based distribution which includes software not permitted under Fedora's licensing policies. Chapeau also strives to present users with a more beginner-friendly desktop environment and applications. The Chapeau project has released a new version, Chapeau 24, which is derived from Fedora 24 "Workstation" and features the GNOME 3.20 desktop environment. Chapeau 24 also provides support for the WINE compatibility software for running Windows applications, Steam, DVD playback and LibreOffice 5. "Compared to Chapeau 23 the following custom features have changed in Chapeau 24: Transmission is bundled as the default torrent client. nmap now included by default. Includes 5 more lightweight games: Chess, Mines, Reversi, Neverball & Neverputt. Moving on from 23, Wayland is no longer explicitly disabled in GDM's config. More Chapeau wallpapers." Additional features and known issues can be found in the project's release announcement.
Chapeau 24 -- Running the GNOME desktop
(full image size: 1.0MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Qubes OS 3.2
Joanna Rutkowska has announced the release of Qubes OS 3.2, a new stable release of the Fedora-based desktop Linux distribution whose main concept is "security by isolation" by using domains implemented as lightweight Xen virtual machines. From the release announcement: "I'm happy to announce that today we're releasing Qubes OS 3.2. This is an incremental improvement over the 3.1 version that we released earlier this year. A lot of work went into making this release more polished, more stable and easier to use than our previous releases. One major feature that we've improved upon in this release is our integrated management infrastructure, which was introduced in Qubes 3.1. Whereas before it was only possible to manage whole VMs, it is now possible to manage the insides of VMs as well. The principal challenge we faced was how to allow such a tight integration of the management engine software (for which we use Salt) with potentially untrusted VMs without opening a large attack surface on the (complex) management code."
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
What is your preferred BSD?
This week we reviewed OpenBSD and welcomed a new release of FreeBSD as FreeBSD 11.0 was launched. To mark these occasions, one of our readers asked if we would run a poll asking which flavour of BSD our visitors use most. While the BSDs generally attract less attention than GNU/Linux distributions, they are widely used in many different environments. If you are currently running one of the BSDs on a desktop, server or firewall, which one do you use most?
You can see the results of our previous poll on where people run Linux here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
What is your preferred BSD?
|DragonFlyBSD: ||56 (3%)|
| FreeBSD: ||408 (24%)|
| NetBSD: ||60 (4%)|
| OpenBSD: ||242 (14%)|
| pfSense: ||58 (3%)|
| Debian GNU/kFreeBSD: ||20 (1%)|
| Other FreeBSD-based: ||117 (7%)|
| Other OpenBSD-based: ||4 (0%)|
| Other NetBSD-based: ||0 (0%)|
| Other BSD flavour: ||31 (2%)|
| I do not run any of the BSDs: ||688 (41%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- Subgraph OS. Subgraph OS is a security-focused operating system. Subgraph OS integrates with the Tor network for anonymous web browsing and offers encrypted chat and e-mail features.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 10 October 2016. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Favorite BSD (by DaveW on 2016-10-03 00:25:25 GMT from United States) |
I only use it occasionally, and as a VM, but I prefer Ghost BSD.
2 • Partitioning OpenBSD (by Billy Larlad on 2016-10-03 00:56:33 GMT from United States)
In the past I also opted to use fewer partitions than the installer recommends. That was a mistake. The strong W^X protection you mention, for instance, will break some ports. If you have a separate /usr/local partition you can disable that W^X protection just for third party software, rather than for the entire system.
Aside from that, great review! OpenBSD definitely deserves attention. IMO it is much more cleanly designed than other operating systems, be they Linux or other BSDs...
3 • Favorite BSD (by Sam Crawford on 2016-10-03 01:40:43 GMT from United States)
I've played with a few different BSDs in the past but keep giving up because I can't get my HP printer to work.
I keep going back to Debian as everything just seems to work.
4 • Sprouting Security Mushrooms - Food or Poison? (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2016-10-03 01:41:05 GMT from United States)
It's good to see another security distro on the roster. DW can commit journalism by digging up its principals for interviews. Their identity and background matter more than code itself, which they can backdoor, intentionally or inadvertently. The domain harks back to 2006 if my whois-fu is sound.
Subgraph touts golang and custom sandbox and message apps. I get suspicious over custom security apps instead of known FOSS standbys. Until somebody audits the network traffic I refrain from trusting claims about tor. There is plenty of room for DNS leaks and the like. If OpenSSL is involved, good luck with that. Subgraph should use LibreSSL. If glibc is involved, good luck with that. It should use musl. If systemd is involved, good luck with that. It should use anything else from a security standpoint. I would suggest people look seriously into Alpine Linux once it moves to LibreSSL.
Thanks for the OpenBSD review. OpenBSD monkeys gave us OpenSSH and LibreSSL. I would use OpenBSD if its ports were up-to-date. At least TrueOS/PC-BSD is now rolling and also has LibreSSL. When Lumina desktop matures I'll use it on Linux. To my knowledge, OpenBSD is not rolling. I'm open to correction. I just wish BSDs would get a clue on stale apps. We don't particularly care about shiny kernel features, we just want our apps maintained on time.
5 • HardenedBSD (by Andrew on 2016-10-03 01:55:39 GMT from Romania)
Currently I prefer and use FreeBSD besides Linux, and I am thinking about switching to HardenedBSD in the future.
Maybe by then FreeBSD will port at least some of the improvements from HardenedBSD but if not it seems like a good project, combining the features of FreeBSD with an OpenBSD like security.
Thanks for adding the pool, when my message about it disappeared last week I assumed I was censored for some reason, maybe because of being offtopic.
I would have expected that "Other FreeBSD-based" would be higher because of TrueOS/PC-BSD and GhostBSD or PacBSD(ArchBSD) and others but maybe it will rise later.
6 • BSD uses (by M.Z. on 2016-10-03 02:42:55 GMT from United States)
I use pfSense as a core security device to protect my LAN. I could never get any of the other BSDs to do much that I wanted despite several attempts over the past few years to get them on various desktops. It's a bit of a shame that I don't do more with BSD, but pfSense has really shined for me over the past few years & given me better security with very few issues.
Also I watch a fair amount of Netflix & I know they run BSD exclusively, so like millions of others I pull lots of data from FreeBSD servers. Like I mentioned the other week Netflix use nearly 1/3rd of the bandwidth on the internet at certain times & places while sending data from their BSD servers. BSD is very heavily used even if no one ever notices.
7 • OBSD (by David on 2016-10-03 03:19:33 GMT from United States)
Thanks Andrew for your comment, I want to look at HardenedBSD.
Hello Arch Watcher, you are right, OpenBSD does not use the rolling release model. However, it's a great OS and depending on your requirements, you may need to learn how to implement automated updates for security fixes, or other update scheme. OBSD rules! Well, at least for some... use what works for you... Cheers!
8 • OpenBSD review (by billc on 2016-10-03 03:29:21 GMT from Australia)
Thanks for keeping OpenBSD in the spotlight Jesse. OpenBSD is such a beautifully simple and well-documented OS it deserves more attention. The fact that the OpenBSD developers consider errors in the man pages a security issue tells you something about their focus on correctly-written code.
Interesting to hear your thoughts on Lumina as well. Don't forget that the OpenBSD developers maintain their own window manager, spectrwm, which is my go-to tiling WM.
9 • OpenBSD (by Sofia Smith on 2016-10-03 03:31:52 GMT from Spain)
I also tried OpenBSD this weekend, snapshots version.
In 10 minutes, you get base system and xorg. Later, I install XFCE4, libreoffice, calligra, ktorrent, transmission, firefox, chromium, dillo, ffmpeg, vlc, .. without any problem.
My "cons": No flashplayer. No dropbox. Videos "youtube" and similar pretty slow and laggy with chromium.
My favourite distro are arch linux and slackware.
10 • @8 (by Billy Larlad on 2016-10-03 03:46:22 GMT from United States)
spectrwm's developers are, as far as i know, no longer involved with OpenBSD. I believe they are the people behind the OpenBSD fork bitrig, which is now dead as far as I can see.
At any rate, there _is_ a homegrown window manager included in OpenBSD, namely the excellent cwm. OpenBSD also ships with fvwm and twm from upstream Xorg.
11 • @10 (by billc on 2016-10-03 04:34:15 GMT from Australia)
Thanks Billy for the correction. I have been meaning to try cwm...
12 • Favorite BSD (by Thomas Mueller on 2016-10-03 04:39:42 GMT from United States)
My preferred BSD is FreeBSD, stabler than NetBSD. FreeBSD handles device nodes dynamically, better than the other BSDs as far as I can tell. NetBSD and OpenBSD device nodes are static, preconfigured with MAKEDEV, as was the case with Linux and FreeBSD many years back. I like the way Linux handles disk partition device nodes, but FreeBSD is even better in this regard. FreeBSD ports framework seems more advanced than NetBSD pkgsrc.
13 • Lots of Annealing Going On (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2016-10-03 07:11:43 GMT from United States)
Ah yes, HardenedBSD is worth a try. Thanks for the reminder.
Recall too Hardened Gentoo, with Linux hardware drivers and bsd-ish ports THAT ARE ALWAYS CURRENT THANK YOU GENTOO.
14 • BSDs and the like (by Andy Mender on 2016-10-03 09:07:07 GMT from Austria)
Thus far I used DragonflyBSD, OpenBSD and FreeBSD. I think FreeBSD has the best coverage for most uses for now. PC-BSD should be a breeze for newcomers and I'm glad we have that and GhostBSD.
I agree with Arch Watcher wholeheartedly. LibreSSL instead of OpenSSL should already be common practice. How many more Heartbleeds do we need? I feel so many services online are way behind with their SSL policies that I'll stop using the Internet altogether soon. Void Linux and recently PC-BSD use it. Some FreeBSD users conducted experiments and most of the packages relying on SSL work with LibreSSL. Right now I'm waiting for Gentoo to integrate LibreSSL also.
The recent systemd bug is just another example exposing inherent bad design. It has nothing to do with complexity. Even complex software, when written from scratch initially, can include handling of situations like the one in the bug. It's that painfully obvious. Alas, again systemd devs shrug it off - it's not very likely to happen so let's just ignore it. 'tis but a flash wound. Doesn't matter that a silly one-liner can brick whole servers.
15 • OpenBSD (by tlal on 2016-10-03 10:36:21 GMT from United States)
OpenBSD doesn't boot into X by default. You have to select this option during the install process.
The default wm is an ancient version of FVWM (2.0 something).
The chromium port in OpenBSD is usually old. YouTube works great in Firefox.
16 • Poll Question (by cykodrone on 2016-10-03 14:18:56 GMT from United States)
Why isn't TrueOS in the options? But no longer officially supported Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is in the options, hmmm.
I tried switching to a BSD in the beginning of the systemd assimilation, but it was like learning a whole new language, thankfully there's still a few non-infested Linux distros around. BSD will be my last resort, and if by then, BSD is no longer a systemd-free option, I'll write my own Linux distro, seriously.
17 • Building own Linux distro (by Andy Mender on 2016-10-03 15:19:33 GMT from Austria)
You might be interested in the Linux From Scratch (LTS) and Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS) handbooks. To me LTS was an eye-opener in terms of system design. The GNU/Linux world offers such an overwhelming variety of tools, especially the 'tried and tested' command-line utilities that avoiding systemd is trivial. One just needs to read and understand :).
18 • Favorite? (by azuvix on 2016-10-03 17:21:04 GMT from United States)
I don't know that I can really say I have a favorite. The main ones I've used are FreeBSD and OpenBSD, each for different purposes on a 24/7 network. After seeing what an OpenBSD router can do, there's simply no going back, and I can easily see how it could make for a lean and comprehensible desktop machine or server. FreeBSD's first-class support of ZFS and increasingly powerful tools like bhyve are incredible.
The point is, doing without either of them would really leave me wanting. It's a good thing you can have both!
19 • Mint box (by lenden on 2016-10-03 18:36:41 GMT from Romania)
Come on! Would you buy a under spec little box for 300$? There are lot of laptops, 2 in 1s, tablets with Intel Atom x5-Z8300, which has much better specs than A4-Micro 6400T in that mint box. Why should anyone needs to throw away money?
20 • TrueOS and Debian kFreeBSD (by Jesse on 2016-10-03 22:00:21 GMT from Canada)
>> Why isn't TrueOS in the options? But no longer officially supported Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is in the options
TrueOS is FreeBSD-based which is one of the options. TrueOS is basically a rolling version of FreeBSD with desktop and other packages pre-installed. Debian's kFreeBSD branch gets its own entry because it has a completely different userland. Debian's uses just a FreeBSD kernel with the GNU userland and Debian package management.
21 • openbsd on Jesse's laptop (by subg on 2016-10-04 01:01:40 GMT from Canada)
Jesse, thanks for the OpenBSD review.
Any further details you can share about 6.0 failing to boot on your laptop? Was it the install media that wouldn't boot? USB key? CD/DVD iso? Or was it after the install and it wouldn't reboot into the new system?
You said it ran fine on vbox - at full resolution?
22 • @20 TrueOS, etc (by cykodrone on 2016-10-04 04:00:21 GMT from United States)
Thanks for answering and I see what you're saying, but by that logic, any officially recognized (by Canonical) Ubuntu derivative should be counted under the Ubuntu name in the HPD front-page rankings. All that separates them is a different DE and maybe a few custom tweaks, but they're the same animal under the hood, and Canonical certified, just sayin'.
23 • OpenBSD and poll (by Jesse on 2016-10-04 12:04:50 GMT from Canada)
>> "Any further details you can share about 6.0 failing to boot on your laptop? Was it the install media that wouldn't boot? USB key? CD/DVD iso?
It was the installation media, from the CD ISO. OpenBSD ran well in VirtualBox. Not at maximum screen resolution, but pretty close.
@22: Using the same approach for a small poll and project statistics page hit statistics doesn't really make sense in this case. We'd have to make the poll a few dozen items long to cover all the many BSDs. See our FAQ page for the reasons we organize Ubuntu derivatives the way we do.
24 • Ubuntu BSD Here (by Nizari on 2016-10-04 12:24:07 GMT from Spain)
25 • OpenBSD. (by YeZSTeR on 2016-10-04 13:22:26 GMT from Philippines)
Thus far the only BSD I used is OpenBSD. Started using microsoft stuff in the 90's, switched to Ubuntu linux out of curiosity, then Arch linux, now I'm stuck with OpenBSD and doesn't want to look anywhere else. :(
26 • OpenBSD (by joe on 2016-10-04 23:42:40 GMT from United States)
@4 You can follow -current or -stable to get updated packages. -current is more like a rolling release.
27 • Multiple (by Chris on 2016-10-05 03:11:40 GMT from United States)
Thank you for the review of OpenBSD. While I have never tried any of the BSDs, OpenBSD is the one I would consider due to its obsessive security focus. Plus, it looks like it may work well on some older hardware I have lying around. I may just have to spin up a VM and take an initial look.
I too applaud another security/anonimity focused distro! IMO, the community needs more such distros, which I feel should be a seperate category from pen test distros, as fine and useful as they are (another subject).
I just took a look at Subgraph OS a couple of weeks ago and was very impressed, as I have been in the past with TAILS. Unfortunately, like TAILS, Subgraph OS uses Gnome 3. That is not meant as an insult to Gnome 3 or its fans, but as I have commented here before security/anonimity distros need to focus on both 1st world consumers who have access to modern hardware which can run the larger DEs and 2nd/3rd world people who do not and cannot (and may arguably need such a distro more)!
Sure, Subgraph OS and TAILS are both Debian based so a user could install JWM, *box, LXDE/LXqt, Xfce, Mate, etc., but could that compromise the default security settings? TAILS, Subgraph OS, and any current/future security/anonomity distros really need to consider either a lightweight spin or a lightweight main focus. Plus, there are benefits from security through minimization (see OpenBSD). YMMV.
28 • SUSE (by greg on 2016-10-05 09:33:48 GMT from Slovenia)
here many HP laptops are sold SUSE preloaded, particulary the "business models". and while at the time i had osme issue loading OpenSUSE on it (my fault probably or just a buggy release), Kubuntu worked fine (and still does) out of the box.
29 • OpenBSD (by tux guy on 2016-10-05 11:24:44 GMT from Germany)
I have successfully installed OpenBSD 6.0 + Xfce. However without support for my NVidia card, the installation survived only two days before being formatted and removed. OpenBSD devs, I find OpenBSD nice and promising as desktop environment, but your unwillingness to support graphic drivers is unacceptable.
30 • BSD? (by Lennie on 2016-10-05 19:35:00 GMT from Canada)
Well, can someone make a BSD distro somewhat near iOS? An iPad with just 516MB memory can work faster than Linux with 1GB or more ram. When can any dev learn to make something as fast like iOS?
Isn't the biggest problem of BSD or LInux is that we can't make a real distro that'd really work? Apple and Windows stays in one direction, while we divide ourselves and go on many directions.
31 • Directions (by Doug on 2016-10-05 22:08:01 GMT from United States)
And look at the product that going in one direction produces.
Sure those OS's do what you want, but at what cost?
Windows has virii, spyware, malware and whjo knows what else.
I don't know anything about Apple, except that they have expensive hardware.
When some business people get a monopoly, they no longer care about the customer, they do what they want. After all where else can somebody go, except to them?
And what direction should Linux go?
Everybody likes something different. Some want security, some convenience, some speed.
I am sure there are more directions could be mentioned.
32 • directions (by nolinuxguru on 2016-10-05 23:45:14 GMT from United Kingdom)
@30-31 just as iOS looks unstoppable, Google is poised to eventually merge the [Linux based] Chrome OS and Android brands, replacing them with a new lightweight, non-linux OS [Andromeda?]. Google has the resources to just do this.
Linux proper is also poised to split between the corporate-inspired distros, which will converge on an ever growing systemd, and a of myriad independent distros that will attract the systemd refugees. I personally think that the latter will need to create alternative technologies to replace those damaged by systemd. In fact this is already starting.
I don't think the BSDs will be affected, unless they embark on a programme of Debian-style self-destruction.
In all this, there is still an opportunity for new OS to emerge, but they will need to leverage the applications that populate the Linux or BSD userland.
Getting the scale of software involved in these OS projects, I estimate that of its fabled 15 million lines of code, a basic Linux kernel only uses 500 thousand lines. That is the size of systemd! A lighter kernel replacement is clearly desirable, but the applications we all need and use dwarf any of these [hundreds of million lines of code].
33 • "?Que_hora_son_mi_corazon?" (by k on 2016-10-06 05:43:00 GMT from Czech Republic)
Truth is this is a very exciting time in the evolution of our "worlds", much change and very fast, needs adaptation, not rigid "like-mindedness" and actions -- most "listed" especially "global" corporations such as Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft display the same West's obsession with money --, that risks extinction.
All "pure" reality -- quality and values -- has been sacrificed to the mighty dollar, euro, yen, and renminbi, all exchanged for varying pretexts of "idealism" = ego.
The most recent example was Yahoo's hack of its own users' accounts, folding under "pressure" from the FBI/NSA. This is also also a most dangerous time according to most leaders' egos and preaching, so others of the various flocks follow, just as Orwell envisioned.
34 • @ 32 BSD, Linux etc (by Lennie on 2016-10-06 13:44:34 GMT from Canada)
If guys are creating BSD distros, then they can also reverse engineer iOS, just to see what ticks in it. And, then create a BSD based ditro for everyone. Even in the BSD world, the devs are fighting each other, just as in the Linux world. so, we have average value distros. Maybe, KDE Neon might be going somewhere.
There is no reason to reverse engineer win10 as you can get it in any laptop or tablet today. And, as MS is not going to produce win11, anyone who has win10 has a rolling distro, win-style. But, iOS should be studied.
Google or the Android guys first started the distro, an then went ahead creating money with it. Their distros have older base and are quite lean. Even the kernel is leaned. Something our Linux devs should learn from.
35 • @34 (by geert on 2016-10-06 14:03:05 GMT from Netherlands)
Just like Apple and MS, Google and Android are making one type of a distro, not many going in different directions and diluting their efforts like BSD and Linux devs.
36 • Android, iOS, Linux and Unices (by Andy Mender on 2016-10-06 14:08:23 GMT from Austria)
Before this goes out of hand and someone actually starts considering iOS reverse-engineering. Android and iOS are built with hand-held devices in mind. They have no need for the vastly higher complexity of laptops or desktop computers. Also, both were designed with consumers in mind. They're use-only. There is nothing that "Linux devs should learn from"...
Secondly, which BSD devs are fighting each other? As far as I noticed, BSD developers are far less militant than many a GNU/Linux folk. They have a clear focus on what their operating systems are supposed to do. No time nor place for software lollygagging.
Lastly, Win10, even stealing typical UNIX features like multiple workspace/desktop tabs to later promote them as revolutionary and incorporating a Ubuntu compatibility layer, shouldn't be enough to seduce a UNIX user. Its closed-source nature warrants pages of discussion and RMS to start losing hair.
37 • @ 36 (by Lennie on 2016-10-06 14:35:56 GMT from Canada)
I don't think you can hold a 27" iMac in your hand.
Anyway, we are wasting lot of "developer" time on creating different packages for the same thing in Linux.
38 • @37 (by dragonmouth on 2016-10-06 14:45:50 GMT from United States)
" we are wasting lot of "developer" time on creating different packages for the same thing in Linux."
While totally ignoring other useful programs (tax filing software similar to TurboTax)
39 • Streamlining GNU/Linux? (by Andy Mender on 2016-10-06 15:18:19 GMT from Austria)
Your complaints do nothing, but favor to the business giants you so worship.
GNU/Linux is a culture of exploring, testing and pioneering technological development. It's academic, not commercial. It's one thing trying to build a financially viable business using GNU/Linux and another claiming that the whole ecosystem should suddenly streamline itself, because you want to fill out your taxes. See the irony?
If you're not happy with GNU/Linux, please feel free to use whatever other platform that is suitable for your computer activities.
40 • streamlined? (by nolinuxguru on 2016-10-06 17:25:12 GMT from United Kingdom)
@39 Linux was born out of academia and lives there still, especially in the world of supercomputers. However, Redhat makes a nice little business out of Linux, even if Windows, Apple and Google dominate the "Real World". And yes, I will fill out my tax return using Linux!
I suspect that Linux's "better" days won't happen, as the future with be filled with IoT devices running insecure operating systems, and maybe Andromeda [whatever it becomes].
41 • @39 streamlining Linux? (by geert on 2016-10-06 21:13:09 GMT from Netherlands)
>GNU/Linux is a culture of exploring, testing and pioneering technological development. It's academic, not commercial.<
Heard about company called RedHat? Is it available to you free? Or are you getting the poor brother's attitude from it?
42 • @39 about streamlining Linux with systemd (by Lennie on 2016-10-06 21:44:23 GMT from Canada)
The money making entity of the Linux world pushed the most hated systemd down all distros, and that simply kicked out the other init systems. Instead of helping out, some companies, who earn money out of Linux only troubles the development. Should all free developers bend to the law of Red Hat?
At least Android and Google creates a Linux distro (or something like a Linux distro) that would take the world by storm, or already had done it. When Ubuntu tried to do something different, everyone shouted against it. At least those devs are trying to create a distro, which would work across all devices. Hope they'd succeed.
43 • Systemd (by linuxsita on 2016-10-07 05:29:55 GMT from United States)
Personally, I love systemd. Works great, and service management and logs are easy. One example is the systemd fstrim.timer for ssd drives, which is much better than enabling fstrim in fstab, and it's so easy and reliable. I won't use a distro that doesn't use systemd. And while that's just my opinion, I'm sure I'm not alone. The idea that "everybody hates systemd simply isn't true, nor is the narrative that devs only switched to it because they were forced to by nefarious means. You should read Arch linux devs reasons for adoption for example.
44 • @43 and 44 (by Lennie on 2016-10-07 09:23:02 GMT from Canada)
Maybe we should all use Gentoo (or Funtoo), rather than any other OS.
45 • Mint Box (by cpoakes on 2016-10-07 10:30:10 GMT from United States)
@19 - Certainly there is plenty of cheaper laptop hardware, but fan-less desktop and headless hardware is harder to find and usually in this price range. There is definitely a market, it just doesn't include users like you.
46 • RE: Some pro Windows propaganda (by Andy Mender on 2016-10-07 12:00:28 GMT from Austria)
Notice how I distinguish between GNU/Linux as an ecosystem and successful businesses (yes, Red Hat) built using open-source technology (yes, the Linux kernel + utilities). Don't confuse them, please.
That's what I mentioned earlier, right? It's fine to build using GNU/Linux, but definitely NOT fine to expect or force the whole ecosystem to bend to one company's agenda.
And I personally feel systemd is a clay golem with terribly thin legs. When it falls, I wonder who will cry more.
47 • @39, thumbs up. (by Kennedy on 2016-10-09 05:03:56 GMT from South Africa)
"GNU/Linux is a culture of exploring, testing and pioneering technological development. It's academic, not commercial."
I have liked this explanation.
48 • @47 (by Lennie on 2016-10-09 09:42:06 GMT from Canada)
That's exactly why Android had become something valuable. Also, something great would come from Chrome OS and maybe from Ubuntu continuum.
49 • QubesOS 3.2 (by mutt65 on 2016-10-09 20:09:27 GMT from United States)
I tried this OS a year or so ago and ran into a few problems, particularly the sharing of documents between VMs. The site has a great video explaining how to do this, and I'm all in. Kudos to Joanna and the entire Qubes team for a great release.
Number of Comments: 49
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