Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

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Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

zalit
Hi

I am new to OpenBSD. In fact, I am a total newbie here. After reading
many posts on this list, I formed the impression that all or most
OpenBSD users are high-end IT professionals.
I was wondering: are there OpenBSD users who are not so advanced in
terms of IT expertise? That is, who are simple computer *users*, not IT
professionals?
I need to know this because I am starting feeling that, as an average
computer user, I might be out of place here. I was attracted to OpenBSD
by its security-by-default philosophy. Admittedly, I don't know much
about security and I would not be able to set the proper security
settings on my own, so I have decided to adopt OpenBSD and use it for
simple day-to-day tasks, as a desktop OS (as I would any popular Linux
distribution). Does this choice of mine, and its underlying reasoning,
make sense?
Are there any significant drawbacks to my adoption of OpenBSD (such as
OpenBSD being too technical and too difficult, as compared, say, to
Linux distros)?

Please, give me some advice. If OpenBSD is not for me, I would rather
know it sooner than later.

Thanks

Zaf

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Shawn K. Quinn-2
On Tue, Nov 19, 2013, at 09:37 AM, [hidden email] wrote:
> Hi
>
> I am new to OpenBSD. In fact, I am a total newbie here. After reading
> many posts on this list, I formed the impression that all or most
> OpenBSD users are high-end IT professionals.
> I was wondering: are there OpenBSD users who are not so advanced in
> terms of IT expertise? That is, who are simple computer *users*, not IT
> professionals?

I have a lot of tech knowledge and have no trouble using a CLI, but I'm
not an IT professional at least in the sense that I do not get a
paycheck from working in IT.

> I need to know this because I am starting feeling that, as an average
> computer user, I might be out of place here. I was attracted to OpenBSD
> by its security-by-default philosophy. Admittedly, I don't know much
> about security and I would not be able to set the proper security
> settings on my own, so I have decided to adopt OpenBSD and use it for
> simple day-to-day tasks, as a desktop OS (as I would any popular Linux
> distribution). Does this choice of mine, and its underlying reasoning,
> make sense?

Taken by itself, the reasoning is solid. It's the same reason I use
OpenBSD for a system which is primarily a firewall/router.

> Are there any significant drawbacks to my adoption of OpenBSD (such as
> OpenBSD being too technical and too difficult, as compared, say, to
> Linux distros)?
>
> Please, give me some advice. If OpenBSD is not for me, I would rather
> know it sooner than later.

Using OpenBSD as a desktop may be more painful for you than anticipated
depending on your exact hardware configuration and exactly what you want
to do. For example, thanks to HTML5, at least watching YouTube videos is
now possible without having to resort to the computing equivalent of a
game of Twister. (Before, one either did without YouTube or used
youtube-dl and mplayer.) Some things may be more difficult than
necessary if certain boneheads in charge assumed handing out a GNU/Linux
binary the same way they hand out Windows and MacOS X binaries is enough
(happens way too often).

Due to "secure by default" there are a lot of things that would "just
work" on a GNU/Linux system that will not work on OpenBSD without
twiddling a sysctl or two, or running something as root that wouldn't
require it on GNU/Linux.

--
  Shawn K. Quinn
  [hidden email]

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Salim Shaw-2
In reply to this post by zalit
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

OpenBSD is for the world. You have to ask yourself a few questions. Are
you an open source advocate? Do you like the freedom to use an operating
system the way you want to? Do you value stability and code correctness
in an operating system? Is security paramount in your computing world?
Do you value accurate documentation and a developer world who pride
themselves on correctness? If the answer to these few question is yes,
then OpenBSD is for you.

If you like for someone to tell you, how to use an operating system and
don't mind your OS crashing and security exploits, then you're in the
wrong place.




On 11/19/2013 10:37 AM, [hidden email] wrote:
> Hi
>
> I am new to OpenBSD. In fact, I am a total newbie here. After reading
many posts on this list, I formed the impression that all or most
OpenBSD users are high-end IT professionals.
> I was wondering: are there OpenBSD users who are not so advanced in
terms of IT expertise? That is, who are simple computer *users*, not IT
professionals?
> I need to know this because I am starting feeling that, as an average
computer user, I might be out of place here. I was attracted to OpenBSD
by its security-by-default philosophy. Admittedly, I don't know much
about security and I would not be able to set the proper security
settings on my own, so I have decided to adopt OpenBSD and use it for
simple day-to-day tasks, as a desktop OS (as I would any popular Linux
distribution). Does this choice of mine, and its underlying reasoning,
make sense?
> Are there any significant drawbacks to my adoption of OpenBSD (such as
OpenBSD being too technical and too difficult, as compared, say, to
Linux distros)?
>
> Please, give me some advice. If OpenBSD is not for me, I would rather
know it sooner than later.
>
> Thanks
>
> Zaf
>


- --
Salim A. Shaw
System Administrator
OpenBSD / Free Software Advocate
Need stability and security --- Try OpenBSD.
BSD, ISC license all the way: Sell services, don't lease secrets
Comment: Using GnuPG with Thunderbird - http://www.enigmail.net/

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Chess Griffin-2
In reply to this post by zalit
On 19.11.2013 10:37, [hidden email] wrote:
> Hi
>
> I am new to OpenBSD. In fact, I am a total newbie here. After reading
> many posts on this list, I formed the impression that all or most
> OpenBSD users are high-end IT professionals.
> I was wondering: are there OpenBSD users who are not so advanced in
> terms of IT expertise? That is, who are simple computer *users*, not
> IT professionals?

I am sure there are many OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals - I
am one of them.  I don't know what your specific needs are, but I would
say that OpenBSD is good for anyone who is willing to read the FAQ and
other official documentation including man pages and spend time learning
the system and how it works.  Also, I would suggest searching the misc@
archives if there is a question before posting to the mailing list.

Put it on an extra partition or a spare computer and see where it takes
you.  You'll never really know if OpenBSD is for you until you try it.

--
Chess Griffin

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

John Long-4
In reply to this post by zalit
On Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 04:37:25PM +0100, [hidden email] wrote:

> Are there any significant drawbacks to my adoption of OpenBSD (such
> as OpenBSD being too technical and too difficult, as compared, say,
> to Linux distros)?

One of the things that makes code good and secure is simplicity. That focus
on keeping things simple is a way of life that make OpenBSD a good choice
for people with a low bullshit tolerance. And I think it makes it more
approachable, not less, than Linux and certain other not to be named GUI
malware with a EULA parading around as an OS.

OpenBSD makes a clear separation between the OS and most of the applications
that run on it. That is not true of many other OS and OS-like systems. If
you go to one of the mirrors and find the packages for your architecture
(presumably you're using either 32 or 64 bit Intel) you can see which
applications are available. A desktop means different things to different
people. If all the apps you need and want are available then there is no
reason why you won't be happy with OpenBSD. If they aren't, you'll have to
do a little more thinking and research. You can build many apps on OpenBSD
but there is a general problem of Linux people not realizing there is more
to the world than Linux and not everything that builds on Linux will build
without changes on OpenBSD.

> Please, give me some advice. If OpenBSD is not for me, I would
> rather know it sooner than later.

I don't really think you can make a decision on paper unless your goals and
requirements are pretty clear. If you have to have apps that only run on
Linux or Windows that's an easy decision. Otherwise it's worth looking into
your options and trying them out. If you overcommit you can always buy
another box.

/jl

--
ASCII ribbon campaign ( ) Powered by Lemote Fuloong
 against HTML e-mail   X  Loongson MIPS and OpenBSD
   and proprietary    / \    http://www.mutt.org
     attachments     /   \  Code Blue or Go Home!
 Encrypted email preferred  PGP Key 2048R/DA65BC04

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Jan Stary
In reply to this post by zalit
On Nov 19 16:37:25, [hidden email] wrote:
> I am new to OpenBSD. In fact, I am a total newbie here. After
> reading many posts on this list, I formed the impression that all or
> most OpenBSD users are high-end IT professionals.
> I was wondering: are there OpenBSD users who are not so advanced in
> terms of IT expertise? That is, who are simple computer *users*, not
> IT professionals?

My whole family, none of whom have anything to do with IT.

> I need to know this because I am starting feeling that, as an
> average computer user, I might be out of place here.
> I was attracted
> to OpenBSD by its security-by-default philosophy. Admittedly, I
> don't know much about security and I would not be able to set the
> proper security settings on my own, so I have decided to adopt
> OpenBSD and use it for simple day-to-day tasks, as a desktop OS (as
> I would any popular Linux distribution). Does this choice of mine,
> and its underlying reasoning, make sense?

It depends, of course, on your requirements.

If, for example, there is a certain application that you
absolutely have to use, and it only comes as a Windows binary,
or a Linux binary, then of coure you are out of luck.
But you would have noticed that by now.

For a "simple day to day use", my wife uses the current/macppc
I installed for her, with fvwm2 on top, without even knowing
what OS it is (or what an OS is).

> Are there any significant drawbacks to my adoption of OpenBSD (such
> as OpenBSD being too technical and too difficult, as compared, say,
> to Linux distros)?

After some time with OpenBSD, you might actually appreciate
the _utmost_simplicity_ of OpenBSD, as compared to Linux or Windows.

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Carl Trachte
In reply to this post by Salim Shaw-2
 OpenBSD has one of the fastest easiest installs of any operating
system out there.  The doc is clean and excellent.

I've never heard "less is more" as an OpenBSD philosophy, but it is my
philosophy and part of why I like OpenBSD.  I'm a geologist who does
programming in high level, dynamic languages as a hobby and part of my
job.  My sysadmin skills go as far as I need them to to administer an
OpenBSD laptop.

The community (this list, for example) will expect you to refer to the
documentation and experiment a bit before coming here and asking for
help.  The one time I got help here on a wireless setup for my Verizon
MIFI unit, I got an answer almost right away.  People were pretty
kind, too, as I did not have a handle on the ins and outs of
encryption keys and what a wpa key was.  Since then, through working
through more than once, I've learned those things.

As your machine's admin, you will learn things through using it with
OpenBSD.  This can take time and it helps to have an interest in these
things.  Your reward is a machine that behaves the way you expect it
to and fewer security problems (every Windows user I know complains
bitterly about viruses :-\  ).

My 2 cents.


On Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 8:52 AM, Salim Shaw <[hidden email]> wrote:

> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
>
> OpenBSD is for the world. You have to ask yourself a few questions. Are
> you an open source advocate? Do you like the freedom to use an operating
> system the way you want to? Do you value stability and code correctness
> in an operating system? Is security paramount in your computing world?
> Do you value accurate documentation and a developer world who pride
> themselves on correctness? If the answer to these few question is yes,
> then OpenBSD is for you.
>
> If you like for someone to tell you, how to use an operating system and
> don't mind your OS crashing and security exploits, then you're in the
> wrong place.
>
>
>
>
> On 11/19/2013 10:37 AM, [hidden email] wrote:
>> Hi
>>
>> I am new to OpenBSD. In fact, I am a total newbie here. After reading
> many posts on this list, I formed the impression that all or most
> OpenBSD users are high-end IT professionals.
>> I was wondering: are there OpenBSD users who are not so advanced in
> terms of IT expertise? That is, who are simple computer *users*, not IT
> professionals?
>> I need to know this because I am starting feeling that, as an average
> computer user, I might be out of place here. I was attracted to OpenBSD
> by its security-by-default philosophy. Admittedly, I don't know much
> about security and I would not be able to set the proper security
> settings on my own, so I have decided to adopt OpenBSD and use it for
> simple day-to-day tasks, as a desktop OS (as I would any popular Linux
> distribution). Does this choice of mine, and its underlying reasoning,
> make sense?
>> Are there any significant drawbacks to my adoption of OpenBSD (such as
> OpenBSD being too technical and too difficult, as compared, say, to
> Linux distros)?
>>
>> Please, give me some advice. If OpenBSD is not for me, I would rather
> know it sooner than later.
>>
>> Thanks
>>
>> Zaf
>>
>
>
> - --
> Salim A. Shaw
> System Administrator
> OpenBSD / Free Software Advocate
> Need stability and security --- Try OpenBSD.
> BSD, ISC license all the way: Sell services, don't lease secrets
> Comment: Using GnuPG with Thunderbird - http://www.enigmail.net/
>
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> =K6m4
> -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Donald Allen
In reply to this post by zalit
On Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 10:37 AM,  <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi
>
> I am new to OpenBSD. In fact, I am a total newbie here. After reading many
> posts on this list, I formed the impression that all or most OpenBSD users
> are high-end IT professionals.
> I was wondering: are there OpenBSD users who are not so advanced in terms of
> IT expertise? That is, who are simple computer *users*, not IT
> professionals?
> I need to know this because I am starting feeling that, as an average
> computer user, I might be out of place here. I was attracted to OpenBSD by
> its security-by-default philosophy. Admittedly, I don't know much about
> security and I would not be able to set the proper security settings on my
> own, so I have decided to adopt OpenBSD and use it for simple day-to-day
> tasks, as a desktop OS (as I would any popular Linux distribution). Does
> this choice of mine, and its underlying reasoning, make sense?
> Are there any significant drawbacks to my adoption of OpenBSD (such as
> OpenBSD being too technical and too difficult, as compared, say, to Linux
> distros)?

You can't lump Linux distros together, in terms of sys-administration
difficulty. Some, e.g., Mint or Ubuntu, try to be easy to administer
and hide the details from you. Others, such as Slackware or Arch,
require more knowledge. OpenBSD is certainly more comparable to the
latter than the former. It's not a point-and-shoot camera; it's more
like a Leica or a Hasselblad. You have to be willing to focus it
yourself (heaven forfend!) and know something about exposure. But if
you are willing to learn (and learning will not be impeded by poor
documentation; one of the things that is unusual about OpenBSD is the
care devoted to the documentation), the results will be gratifying.

>
> Please, give me some advice. If OpenBSD is not for me, I would rather know
> it sooner than later.
>
> Thanks
>
> Zaf

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Jack Woehr-2
In reply to this post by zalit
[hidden email] wrote:
>  I have decided to adopt OpenBSD and use it for simple day-to-day tasks, as a desktop OS (as I would any popular Linux
> distribution). Does this choice of mine, and its underlying reasoning, make sense?

Yes, it does most of the stuff Linux does, mostly except where prevented from doing so by closed source of the sort
acceptable to Linux but not to OpenBSD>

> Are there any significant drawbacks to my adoption of OpenBSD (such as OpenBSD being too technical and too difficult,
> as compared, say, to Linux distros)?

It is a tad more technical. It is not hideously difficult. It's fast enough to install and try that you might as well
grab a spare computer and try it once. Read the directions, they're concise and accurate.

--
Jack Woehr               # "We commonly say we have no time when,
Box 51, Golden CO 80402  #  of course, we have all that there is."
http://www.softwoehr.com # - James Mason, _The Art of Chess_, 1905

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Jeremie Courreges-Anglas-2
In reply to this post by Salim Shaw-2
Salim Shaw <[hidden email]> writes:

> OpenBSD is for the world. You have to ask yourself a few questions. Are
> you an open source advocate? Do you like the freedom to use an operating
> system the way you want to? Do you value stability and code correctness
> in an operating system? Is security paramount in your computing world?
> Do you value accurate documentation and a developer world who pride
> themselves on correctness? If the answer to these few question is yes,
> then OpenBSD is for you.

I'd like to point out that "yes" is not a required answer to all those
questions.  Just pick what you like...

[...]

--
jca | PGP : 0x06A11494 / 61DB D9A0 00A4 67CF 2A90  8961 6191 8FBF 06A1 1494

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Michael-460
In reply to this post by zalit
Zaf, I am not an IT professional and I run OpenBSD on my pc and laptops.
I've used it for years (since 3.0) and am very, very happy.
I haven't looked at comparable programs for powerpoint files, so I boot
Windows for those.



On Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 6:37 AM, <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi
>
> I am new to OpenBSD. In fact, I am a total newbie here. After reading many
> posts on this list, I formed the impression that all or most OpenBSD users
> are high-end IT professionals.
> I was wondering: are there OpenBSD users who are not so advanced in terms
> of IT expertise? That is, who are simple computer *users*, not IT
> professionals?
> I need to know this because I am starting feeling that, as an average
> computer user, I might be out of place here. I was attracted to OpenBSD by
> its security-by-default philosophy. Admittedly, I don't know much about
> security and I would not be able to set the proper security settings on my
> own, so I have decided to adopt OpenBSD and use it for simple day-to-day
> tasks, as a desktop OS (as I would any popular Linux distribution). Does
> this choice of mine, and its underlying reasoning, make sense?
> Are there any significant drawbacks to my adoption of OpenBSD (such as
> OpenBSD being too technical and too difficult, as compared, say, to Linux
> distros)?
>
> Please, give me some advice. If OpenBSD is not for me, I would rather know
> it sooner than later.
>
> Thanks
>
> Zaf

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Eric Oyen
In reply to this post by zalit
There are actually rather a few of us. I have a fairly large IT skillset, but haven't had the opportunity to use them in some time.

ALso, I am virtually the only blind user of OpenBSD that I know of (use a remote login as some tools won't work directly from console). I won't harp on that point (people are aware and leave it at that).

There are lots of resources available for the starting user. the document "man afterbot" is very important if you wish to set up some ancillary services.  There is also a fairly large ports tree for some items that might not have been packaged yet.

THere are also plenty of people around here to ask questions of, though it is recommended that you do some legwork first. Just be aware, like any community, there are personalities here. SO don't take some of the comments personally.

-eric

On Nov 19, 2013, at 8:37 AM, [hidden email] wrote:

> Hi
>
> I am new to OpenBSD. In fact, I am a total newbie here. After reading many posts on this list, I formed the impression that all or most OpenBSD users are high-end IT professionals.
> I was wondering: are there OpenBSD users who are not so advanced in terms of IT expertise? That is, who are simple computer *users*, not IT professionals?
> I need to know this because I am starting feeling that, as an average computer user, I might be out of place here. I was attracted to OpenBSD by its security-by-default philosophy. Admittedly, I don't know much about security and I would not be able to set the proper security settings on my own, so I have decided to adopt OpenBSD and use it for simple day-to-day tasks, as a desktop OS (as I would any popular Linux distribution). Does this choice of mine, and its underlying reasoning, make sense?
> Are there any significant drawbacks to my adoption of OpenBSD (such as OpenBSD being too technical and too difficult, as compared, say, to Linux distros)?
>
> Please, give me some advice. If OpenBSD is not for me, I would rather know it sooner than later.
>
> Thanks
>
> Zaf

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Dennis Davis-3
In reply to this post by Michael-460
On Tue, 19 Nov 2013, Michael wrote:

> From: Michael <[hidden email]>
> To: misc <[hidden email]>
> Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2013 19:44:29
> Subject: Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

...

> I haven't looked at comparable programs for powerpoint files, so I
> boot Windows for those.

Impress:

http://www.libreoffice.org/features/impress/

from LibreOffice may do what you want.  Haven't used it myself.
LibreOffice is in ports/packages on the amd64 & i386 platforms.
--
Dennis Davis <[hidden email]>

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Gökşin Akdeniz
In reply to this post by zalit
Tue, 19 Nov 2013 16:37:25 +0100 tarihinde
[hidden email] yazmýþ:


> to Linux distros)?
>
> Please, give me some advice. If OpenBSD is not for me, I would rather
> know it sooner than later.
>
I am not an IT Pro :) On the other hand I do run OpenBSD on
desktop/laptop. I am quite comfortable with it. Michael W. Lucas wrote
an excellent book about OpenBSD. It is "Absolute OpenBSD 2nd Edition"
It helps a lot. Besides I suggest you to watch Michael W. Lucas about
OpenBSD for Linux users. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXPV3vJF99k It
all sums up; how to work with openbsd, do daily computing and etc.

--
Gökþin Akdeniz <[hidden email]>

[demime 1.01d removed an attachment of type application/pgp-signature]

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Gregor Best
In reply to this post by Eric Oyen
On Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 01:28:30PM -0700, eric oyen wrote:
> [...]
> ALso, I am virtually the only blind user of OpenBSD that I know of
> [...]

Which reminds me... If I recall correctly, one of your issues was the
installation procedure being targeted at sighted users. -current has
an option for automatic installation via previously prepared answers
to the questions bsd.rd asks. Did you give that a try, and if so, how
did it work out? I'd be really interested in if it can improve the
installation process for you and other visually impaired users.

--
        Gregor Best

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Carsten Larsen
In reply to this post by zalit
Hi Zaf,

I am an IT professional myself even though my daily work is far away
from the OpenBSD world, which is also the major reason I find OpenBSD
attractive.

I would say your reasons make good sense and so do your choice. It takes
time to learn but if you value the security-by-default philosophy then
you are the right place.

The way I see it there is no replacement for OpenBSD. If you should
consider an alternative, I would suggest to compare to other BSD
distributions and not Linux.

The contribution part of the community is another story though. My
impression so far is that a highly specialized technical knowledge is
required to be able to contribute at all. But as a user I guess only
basic UNIX skills are required.

Best wishes

---


I have been following these mailing lists for some months now

On 11/19/2013 16:37, [hidden email] wrote:

> Hi
>
> I am new to OpenBSD. In fact, I am a total newbie here. After reading
> many posts on this list, I formed the impression that all or most
> OpenBSD users are high-end IT professionals.
> I was wondering: are there OpenBSD users who are not so advanced in
> terms of IT expertise? That is, who are simple computer *users*, not IT
> professionals?
> I need to know this because I am starting feeling that, as an average
> computer user, I might be out of place here. I was attracted to OpenBSD
> by its security-by-default philosophy. Admittedly, I don't know much
> about security and I would not be able to set the proper security
> settings on my own, so I have decided to adopt OpenBSD and use it for
> simple day-to-day tasks, as a desktop OS (as I would any popular Linux
> distribution). Does this choice of mine, and its underlying reasoning,
> make sense?
> Are there any significant drawbacks to my adoption of OpenBSD (such as
> OpenBSD being too technical and too difficult, as compared, say, to
> Linux distros)?
>
> Please, give me some advice. If OpenBSD is not for me, I would rather
> know it sooner than later.
>
> Thanks
>
> Zaf

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Fred
On 11/19/13 22:38, Carsten Larsen wrote:

> Hi Zaf,
>
> I am an IT professional myself even though my daily work is far away
> from the OpenBSD world, which is also the major reason I find OpenBSD
> attractive.
>
> I would say your reasons make good sense and so do your choice. It takes
> time to learn but if you value the security-by-default philosophy then
> you are the right place.
>
> The way I see it there is no replacement for OpenBSD. If you should
> consider an alternative, I would suggest to compare to other BSD
> distributions and not Linux.
>
> The contribution part of the community is another story though. My
> impression so far is that a highly specialized technical knowledge is
> required to be able to contribute at all. But as a user I guess only
> basic UNIX skills are required.
>
> Best wishes
>

Contributing is easy just buy the great stuff at:

http://www.openbsd.org/orders.html

or give a donation...

Fred
:~)

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Pamela Mosiejczuk
In reply to this post by zalit
On Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 10:37 AM,  <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi
>
> I am new to OpenBSD. In fact, I am a total newbie here. After reading many
> posts on this list, I formed the impression that all or most OpenBSD users
> are high-end IT professionals.
> I was wondering: are there OpenBSD users who are not so advanced in terms of
> IT expertise? That is, who are simple computer *users*, not IT
> professionals?

I am a simple user who learned about OpenBSD upon beginning to share
space with a sysadmin. I was given a sparc to experiment with,
installed femail and used it as a mailserver, then got the bug and
quickly built a webserver as well. I now default to using OpenBSD for
various things and I often tackle complicated projects just for fun.


> I need to know this because I am starting feeling that, as an average
> computer user, I might be out of place here. I was attracted to OpenBSD by
> its security-by-default philosophy. Admittedly, I don't know much about
> security and I would not be able to set the proper security settings on my
> own, so I have decided to adopt OpenBSD and use it for simple day-to-day
> tasks, as a desktop OS (as I would any popular Linux distribution). Does
> this choice of mine, and its underlying reasoning, make sense?

I set up a desktop machine several years ago using similar reasoning,
also figuring that even if it didn't end up any more secure when I was
done, I'd learn more by using the machine every day than by playing
with others just when I had a project in mind. I spent a lot of time
learning how the new packages I'd installed sat on top of the base
system, so at least from an educational perspective it was pretty
fascinating. Made for a nice, clean system, too, since every time I
debated installing yet more applications, I'd be reminded of that nice
secure base I'd started with and had been chipping away at ever since.

It did take me some time to get mine set up nicely into desktop system
form back then, especially compared to the easy job I'm used to when
setting up OpenBSD as a server. I couldn't get the hang of cwm for an
embarrassingly long time and a Brother HL-2040 printer and I nearly
fought to the death. But it worked/works fine.


> Are there any significant drawbacks to my adoption of OpenBSD (such as
> OpenBSD being too technical and too difficult, as compared, say, to Linux
> distros)?

For me it was more a matter of figuring out what types of useful
things OpenBSD could do for me as only a casual user. Once I had a
cool thing I wanted in mind and knew it was possible, I rarely
encountered difficulty in making it happen, given some lead time for
manual reading. You might be surprised at how quickly working with it
starts to seem very comfortable. It helps that it's so streamlined. I
never felt that way about, say, Ubuntu, no matter how much time I
spent with the command line. There's some unifying logic to how things
are organized and what is included by default that makes learning and
exploring on your own a little easier.

Regarding relative difficulty, I'm not sure I saw much of a difference
between learning OpenBSD and the couple flavors of Linux I originally
tried out at around the same time, but I began with almost no Unix
background. It's not a matter of difficulty or technical knowledge so
much as knowing where to look for the information you need. If you're
firmly in the "simple computer user" category, sometimes you end up
spending time trying to guess what names and terms people in the know
might use for things before you can even get a useful result from
apropos. This is, incidentally, a great use for the mailing list
archives, where many useful man page directions have already been
given.

I'll echo the recommendation for Michael W. Lucas' Absolute OpenBSD
2nd edition. It's a great general refresher for those of us who don't
use the OS heavily enough to really memorize the basics and it
complements the documentation well. It also contains some quality of
life tips - turning off incessant beeping, moving windows around, etc.
- that might help out a lot if you do decide to dive into desktop use
and don't yet know what all your options are.

If you're using OpenBSD in the workplace its advantages are obvious.
If you are thinking about it for fun or personal use, it all kind of
boils down to your personal level of curiosity. If you love knowing
how and why things work, you'll probably be really happy getting to
know OpenBSD and will appreciate how useful it can be.

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Re: Are there OpenBSD users who are not IT professionals?

Predrag Punosevac-2
In reply to this post by zalit
On Nov 19 16:37:25, [hidden email] wrote:
> I am new to OpenBSD. In fact, I am a total newbie here. After
> reading many posts on this list, I formed the impression that all or
> most OpenBSD users are high-end IT professionals.
> I was wondering: are there OpenBSD users who are not so advanced in
> terms of IT expertise? That is, who are simple computer *users*, not
> IT professionals?

You are wrong assuming that all or even most people on this list are IT
professionals. However, I think I have one of more interesting stories
to share with misc. I started using OpenBSD six years ago. Being a
research mathematician one of the most important computer tools for my
job is typesetting system TeX. At that time I was an avid FreeBSD user
but I needed some fancy TeX features which were not present at that time
standard distribution of TeX for UNIX called teTeX. I looked around and
OpenBSD was the second (only to Debian) UNIX-like system to switch from
teTeX from TeXLive distribution of TeX. Over the night I switched from
FreeBSD to OpenBSD and discovered how simple and predictable is OpenBSD
comparing to FreeBSD let alone to Ubuntu I had on my office desktop at
that time.  Couple years prior I started running FreeBSD in frustration
with the attitude and incompetence of Linux IT guys after most U.S.
research universities switched from Solaris which was running on X
client to Linux.


But my story doesn't end up here. As the time went by I became thank to
OpenBSD philosophy and design more competent computer and in
particularly UNIX user than I have ever been in my lifetime. I used
those skills to greatly increase my efficiency in performing my day job
which became more demanding as economic crisis hit hard U.S. academia. I
have never taught of myself as an IT professional until my colleagues
and IT personal started relaying on my computer skills  to get things
done.  Thanks to new computer skills I acquired using OpenBSD about six
months ago I got a job offer from an academic data mining lab. I
accepted the job offer and now the large part of my paycheck comes from
doing computer work and more interestingly using OpenBSD not just on my
desktop computer. Am I an IT professional? Not by a long stretch of
imagination but I probably more competent than many who consider
themselves "IT professionals"



> I need to know this because I am starting feeling that, as an
> average computer user, I might be out of place here.

My kids who just learned how to read use OpenBSD. They can tell you
"everything" about booting, buffering and many other things. They  even
do their homework on OpenBSD.

> I was attracted
> to OpenBSD by its security-by-default philosophy. Admittedly, I
> don't know much about security and I would not be able to set the
> proper security settings on my own, so I have decided to adopt
> OpenBSD and use it for simple day-to-day tasks, as a desktop OS (as
> I would any popular Linux distribution). Does this choice of mine,
> and its underlying reasoning, make sense?

Ironically the major downside of making leaving at least in part by
playing with OpenBSD was that for the first time I was forced to use
Linux. At work we have to use proprietary software as MATLAB which
doesn't run on OpenBSD but besides that there are simply situations in
which OpenBSD is not the most appropriate tool (for example to do
scientific computing) or even storing large amounts of data (HAMMER
comes to mind). I am becoming semi-competent RedHat users and I could
not begin to describe you my frustration with inconsistencies,
shear complexity and unpredictability of the Linux in general and RedHat
in particular which is rock stable comparing to a distro like Ubuntu.  

> Are there any significant drawbacks to my adoption of OpenBSD (such
> as OpenBSD being too technical and too difficult, as compared, say,
> to Linux distros)?

I would say that it is the other way around. Linux is too technical and
too difficult. Don't belive me. Try writing semi serious firewall rules
using IP tables and then compare to PF. Try configuring something as
trivial as DHCP server or even client on Linux. Try getting NFS to work
properly or OpenVPN. The situation gets just worse with more complicated
services.

Actually for people who need proprietary software at least on the
Desktop level and plug and play features OS X offers significant
advantages over Linux. If you know how to use it OS X is even
interesting for UNIX guys who do not want to think.