openbsd 5.1

i had to have a go.. and i just did :) i've been reading & hearing much about bsd lately. looking at the various bsd flavours floating about, i narrowed down my focus to two - freebsd & openbsd - based on popularity. i chose openbsd, for it's emphasis on clean code and security.

i was pleasantly surprised to find that openbsd used only 455m diskspace for a full & complete installation, including x and a few default window managers. i chose not to install the compilers. and the whole install took only minutes! i'm going to spend more time with openbsd and really look at migrating over.

debian would use about that same space for a minimal base install. and that was after i really hack a minimal base install. much more space is then required for installing x/dependencies for a functional system. after cutting and pruning down my system, i'd still end up with 1g plus, after a lot of work. my brief flirtation with arch required about 700m plus for the just the base install. and about 2g for a functional system. though i really like the arch philosophy, i reluctantly returned back to debian, my on-off long-term relationship since the potato days.

i had a quick look at freebsd, to whet my curiosity for its popularity. install cd is 502m, more than twice the size of openbsd's install cd. diskspace required for minimal install is 1.1g, about 2.5x openbsd full install. i guess the popularity results from it being a free-for-all accepting closed-source binaries from anywhere.

my brief notes from openbsd install follows:

* read openbsd faq
i mean really read it, and keep it open during install.

* download install51.iso for offline standalone install
i had no idea, how many times i would need to do the install to end up with a stable system. so i chose to download the full-cd for an off-the-network install. otherwise, there are much smaller downloads for alternative install-media, like netinstalls.

* boot from install-cd
: boot prompt, hit enter

* dmesg shows white text on blue background
logged at /var/run/dmesg.boot

* (i)nstall to create new openbsd system with new partitions
(u)pgrade only for upgrading from just the previous version, ie 5.0 only.
for older versions, you need to do each intermediate version upgrade. in that case, a full install might be more appropriate.

* install prompts:
at any install prompt, ! creates a shell. exit the shell, to return back to the same install prompt.
^c to quit installation.

* network interfaces
openbsd creates new interfaces for each different network driver like fxp0 xl0, rather than generic device names like eth0 eth1 in linux. i can see the pros & cons to both. personally, i would ln -s eth0 to whatever netdev in openbsd, to ensure my scripts don't break. i'm still very new to openbsd. i'm pretty sure that there might be better options and i need to discover those.
virtio is not understood. so don't use it, if you are installing on a virtual machine.

* dhcp yes. ipv6 no. sshd no. ntpd no.

* x yes. xdm no. com0 no.

* new user yes.
this user will be a member of wheel group, and can su.
i found that this user cannot sudo, by default.

* timezone europe/london

* disks (e)dit mbr. (w)hole disk will remove existing partitions.
i prefer one swap and one root partition, as i don't know how much space i (don't) need. later, i can always resize these partitions for optimum use. add multiple swap partitions on separate disks for optimum performance.
virtio is not understood.

* location cd
http for netinstall

* filesets all, except comp51.set
-comp51* [enter]

* et voila!

first boot:

* login root and read mail. read afterboot.

* swap
i noticed that my system was not using the intended swap disk. there was no swap.
fdisk & disklabel to identify swap partition. populate /etc/fstab with duid. reboot to test.

* packages
pkg_info listed nothing
pkg_add firefox
pkg_delete firefox
pkg_info lists a lot of junk now
these commands simply execute silently & promptly. i didn't get any info and/or confirmation prompts. i wish there was some way to customise the pkg defaults, presumably using conf files or env variables.

* login as normal user
startx

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