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Raiders of the lost OpenBSD

Nov 27, 2010, 15:04 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jesse Smith)

"A few people asked if I would do a review of the latest release of OpenBSD (version 4.8) and it is with some reluctance that I approached the task. It's not that I have anything against OpenBSD or the developers behind the project, it's the nature of the review. Most of my distro reviews are like visiting a museum and looking at all the interesting things on display. On the virtual shelves are package managers, configuration tools and shiny new desktop environments. Tackling a review of OpenBSD is more akin to a digital Indiana Jones adventure. One enters the deep jungles of the command line, explores the ruins of text-based installers and digs up cryptic package names. In short, it's more work and less sightseeing.

"Before we get into the actual running of OpenBSD, I think it's important to explore the mindset of the developers and the community surrounding it. Taking a look at the project's website shows us a lot of clues. There's the simple layout of the site and the links are generally developer oriented, pointing to change logs, patches and talks about cryptography. It's also telling to note there's no link to a user forum, instead we find a bug tracker and mailing lists -- mailing lists where people are asked to use text (not HTML) and format their lines to be 72 characters in length or less. There are manual pages, most of which expect that the reader has some experience with the UNIX family of operating systems and probably some time with the BSDs. But enough looking around, let's get down to business."

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