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OpenBSD 4.6: Photo gallery

If you want security coupled with flexibility and some good old-fashioned command line action in your UNIX of choice, look no further than OpenBSD.

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1 of 12 Chris Duckett/ZDNet.com.au

Upon booting from the installation disc, the user is presented with this very spartan installer.

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2 of 12 Chris Duckett/ZDNet.com.au

There is no need to fear the graphics-free installer. As can be seen above, the questions are very simple and often it is merely a case of hitting enter and going with the default option.

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3 of 12 Chris Duckett/ZDNet.com.au

Files are copied from what OpenBSD calls "sets" to the hard drive, there is the option to grab the sets from off the CD, hard drive, via FTP, or via HTTP. Provided your internet connection is reasonable, we would recommend grabbing the sets via HTTP. A couple of the sets on our CD refused to install properly, yet worked perfectly fine when fetched via HTTP.

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4 of 12 Chris Duckett/ZDNet.com.au

There are two ways to install extra applications in OpenBSD, ports or packages. In this screenshot, we are installing a minimal installation of GNOME using packages. Packages are binary installations and behave much like rpm in Red Hat or apt in Ubuntu whereas ports builds the applications from source, as in Gentoo.

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5 of 12 Chris Duckett/ZDNet.com.au

The minimal GDM log-in.

To have GDM start-up upon boot, you will need to add gdm to /etc/rc.local.

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6 of 12 Chris Duckett/ZDNet.com.au

GNOME is at version 2.24.3 in OpenBSD 4.6.

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7 of 12 Chris Duckett/ZDNet.com.au

The automated partition sizes suggested during install showed their shortcomings early on. As can be seen, the /usr partition was quickly filled and was over 100 per cent capacity. Symlinking came to the rescue temporarily, but were I to install OpenBSD again, I would definitely condense a number of the partitions.

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8 of 12 Chris Duckett/ZDNet.com.au

The first two commands shown here export the global variables needed for fetching ports and packages. The next two commands change into the /usr directory and grab the ports tree with a cvs checkout. (And yes, this would fail when enter was hit, and should have been run as non-superuser.)

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9 of 12 Chris Duckett/ZDNet.com.au

Searching the ports tree is as easy as running the command make search key=[search-term] from within the /usr/ports directory. In this example, we are searching for the gimp.

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10 of 12 Chris Duckett/ZDNet.com.au

To build a port, change into its directory under /usr/ports and run the make install clean command. This will fetch and build the programs and its dependencies — hopefully without too many errors.

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11 of 12 Chris Duckett/ZDNet.com.au

In this screenshot we are installing OpenOffice.org via packages with verbosity turned on so we can better see what the pkg_add program is doing.

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12 of 12 Chris Duckett/ZDNet.com.au

Updating installed software is done by running pkg_add -u from the command line. Here you can see our one major grievance with using OpenBSD: the amount of FTP errors returned. Typically these would disappear on subsequent reruns of programs, but the fact that we needed to rerun them was quite annoying.

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