Why I run OpenBSD

Posted on February 9, 2020

I don’t consider myself a beginner to Unix or computers (I even have a PhD in the damn things), but I do consider myself a fairly inept and inexperienced systems administrator, with no great desire to spend the time to become better, and my needs are fairly basic - just the usual web/shell/IRC/mail server stuff, and other random infrastructure needs that come along for my work. Incidentally, this is exactly why I prefer OpenBSD. Everything is so minimalist, the defaults so sensible, and the documentation so good, that I trust the machines I set up. I have great confidence that I did not overlook something crucial. The OpenBSD http daemon is beautifully simple - too simple for many uses, but perfect for mine. The OpenBSD mail daemon is the only mail daemon I have ever been able to set up from scratch, just from reading the man pages.

I run Linux (NixOS and RHEL) on my desktop and some servers respectively, because of needs that OpenBSD simply does not support (mostly GPU computing). Linux is fine and certainly runs very fast, but OpenBSD is the only operating system I honestly like.