I don’t really like computers. I need my tools to be obvious, and computers are as far from obvious as you can find. I need things to be organized, and computers seem to follow the second law of thermodynamics religiously. But I still try.
My latest attempt is called OpenBSD. I’ve begun to use it because it is just a little bit more obvious and organized than GNU/Linux. On this page, I thought I’d explain my personal setup and collect all the “tips and tricks” that I’ve come across.
For the search engines, here are a couple of keywords: how to easily install OpenBSD on an existing partition.
OpenBSD lacks a graphical installer. Luckily, the text-based
installer is one of the best I’ve used. However – as always, when
it comes to disk partitioning, you need to be sure about what you’re
doing, and I just couldn’t figure out how to use the version of
fdisk provided by OpenBSD. Here’s what I did instead:
- Booted back into Debian
- Used Debian’s
fdiskto create an OpenBSD partition (A6)
- Resumed the installation process
Now, the installer will ask you whether you want to install the system onto the already existing OpenBSD partition – no further partitioning needed!
If you’ve read about OpenBSD before, you’ve probably been advised to read the man pages. I’ll echo this advice, because the man pages are usually very good.
If you don’t enjoy reading man pages through
less, you can easily
convert them to PDF or HTML (insert your favorite PDF reader or WWW
MANPAGER=mupdf man -T pdf intro MANPAGER=seamonkey man -T html intro
The PDF pages are much easier to read thanks to the typography, while the HTML pages are much easier to browse thanks to the hyperlinks.
One of the things I like about OpenBSD is that it asks me on
installation whether X should be automatically started. I answered
no! I don’t spend much time in the console, but as I said, I want
organization; every program that is automatically started is a tiny
drop of confusion, and drops are what makes up oceans. You could
say that I use logos to separate order from chaos – I mean,
… speaking of which, let’s go through my
OpenBSD comes with a version of the Korn shell called the public-domain Korn shell, or (PD)ksh for short. It has the following qualities:
- Mostly POSIX-compliant
- Supports custom completion
There are two files relevant to your ksh configuration:
.kshrc, both residing in your home directory.
.profile is run when you log in – it is a good place to start
ssh-agent. To have ksh execute
.kshrc for interactive
.profile must include the following line:
Personally, I keep most configuration in
.kshrc. Here is a
Note that I personally use mksh, another implementation of the Korn shell developed by the creator of MirBSD.