Hello OpenBSD, my old friend

 · Systeemkabouter

Around the turn of the millennium I was introduced to OpenBSD. It was probably via the gateway drug of the time : OpenSSH. OpenSSH is everywhere now, but then it was new, shiny and free/libre.

Armed Puffy image

It was not exactly love at first sight. As a longtime Linux user, the learning curve was real. But I did totally love the simplicity and merchandise. There were a couple of services that I preferred on top of OpenBSD, mostly network related. So OpenBSD was part of my tool chest for some time. Then it slowly disappeared off my radar.

It was around a year ago that I installed OPNsense firewall software on my PC Engines APU2 board. It was based on HardenedBSD and it was nice clean and simple.

The last ten years or so, I’ve been mostly using Ubuntu/Red Hat/MacOS/Windows in different combinations. Linux started out as a rather simple and flat system, but it gained abstraction after abstraction. And then some system redesigns. As I was working with it on a daily basis, I just kept up.

OpenBSD 6.5 artwork

Last week I ordered an OpenBSD VPS from the guys running OpenBSD.Amsterdam. Just for fun and giggles. I was pleasantly surprised at how simple everything still seems to be. Configuring a working webserver, including working Letsencrypt TLS, in minutes, with stuff in the base install. Also adding MariaDB and PHP-FPM was just really clean and simple. Tools are compact and simple, man pages are compact and simple. No feature overload, no information overload. I really enjoyed it.

So I feel it is very much time for a BSD renaissance. BSD is dying in the same year that Linux will break through on the desktop, so there should be some years left for me te re-explore OpenBSD.