Introducing OpenBSD
 A History
 What OpenBSD Isn't

Index
 Introduction
 Using OpenBSD
 The Desktop
 Advanced Use
 Networking
 Administration
 Appendices

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What OpenBSD is Not

    OpenBSD is not UNIX,
      OpenBSD is not Linux,
        OpenBSD is not GNU,
          OpenBSD is not "BSD,"
            OpenBSD is not dying,
              OpenBSD is not the only option.

   There are many people who, while knowing little to nothing about the subject, choose to speak authoritatively about it. These people, while often well intentioned in their discussion often lend to the perpetuation of now invalid or often completely baseless misconceptions, which are taken as fact. These common misconceptions tend to both damage the image of OpenBSD and waste the time and money of people who may otherwise benefit from it's use, or the use of a different operating system.

   Now, having said that, OpenBSD is like UNIX, it makes use of the same principles as those on which UNIX first came to operate under, it is also able to run some software made for UNIX systems. This binary compatability comes through the sysctl options kern.emul.sunos kern.emul.hpux, and kern.emul.svr4 along with the compat_sunos, compat_hpux, compat_m68k4k and compat_svr4 compatability layers - system call translators which make connections between commands present on SunOS, HP-UX and SysV R4 to their OpenBSD equivalents. To be an official UNIX operating system, 12, 000 $ in United States Currency would need to be spent on a series of tests to validate that OpenBSD conforms to all UNIX standards - these tests would need to be done to every release in order to maintain it's status as a UNIX operating system, that would amount to 24, 000 $ USC every year in order to be a UNIX, money that could be better spent elsewhere. Even were OpenBSD to only take the testing every other year, it would still amount to a great waste of funds better used in other ventures.

   As with Linux, OpenBSD has been designed to function according to particular guidelines which help to define the functionality of an kernel and it's userland, this commonality between the kernel of OpenBSD and the Linux kernel is referred to as POSIX, which helps serve as means to ensure portability of programmes written for one platform to run on others. Because of this commonality, OpenBSD is able to run much of the same software as that which is made for operating systems which use the Linux kernel. In cases where binaries are compiled for the Linux kernel, a compatability layer called compat_linux can be used to act as a bridge, translating system calls made by the Linux-specific binaries to the OpenBSD native calls.

   Having a strong sense of identity and guidelines regarding how to operate as a development group, OpenBSD is like GNU, it is developed by a group of people who believe in the further development of the software and the defense of the liberties of those which made and use the code.

   OpenBSD isn't the only BSD, the various BSDs are all their own self-contained operating systems, which have their own goals and ideas of both what to implement and how to do so. OpenBSD forked from NetBSD over 11 years ago, while NetBSD and FreeBSD both forked from 386BSD 14 years ago, that has given the three systems significant opportunity for divergence, DragonFly BSD, while the most recent of the significant BSD operating systems, has had 4 years in which to change. Because of this what applies to one BSD-derived operating system may or may not apply to another, for example, where some security mechanisms used by OpenBSD are not used by FreeBSD, NetBSD or DragonFly BSD, some used in the other BSDs are not used in OpenBSD.

  OpenBSD is not dying, quite the contrary, after eleven years of development OpenBSD is doing better now than it was when it initially began development. In 2001 OpenBSD received a grant for development via the POSSE project, a grant which came from the United States Department of Defense via the University of Pennsylvania Distributed Systems Laboratory, through this approximately a million dollars in United States Currency was given to Theo de Raadt to use as he saw fit on the development of OpenBSD. OpenBSD was selected for this funding because it was determined to be, "the computing world's most secure forum for the development of open-source software." While this grant was eventually terminated prior to it's completion due to, "world events and the evolving threat posed by increasingly capable nation-states," a majority of the funds had already been allotted and spent in the accellerated development state allowed by the funding. Organizations such as GoDaddy, the Mozilla Foundation, and Google have all donated upwards of 10, 000 dollars.

  There are many operating system available both freely and commercially, they have strengths and weaknesses, where one may succeed another may fail - it is important to understand that a round peg may not be the best one to put into a trapezoid hole. Sure, it could fit into a hole bigger than it, or with enough force, you could cram it into a smaller hole, but it's not the right fit, the hole should have a trapezoid peg that fits correctly. OpenBSD is a peg, just as any other operating system, evaluating both the task you are looking to perform and what OpenBSD is able to do is needed before attempting to cram it into a hole. If you're going to put things together yourself, try for a jewel bearing situation, where everything fits nicely, peg-to-hole, with as little friction as possible.



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