How to use these Guides ?

As discussed in the Site Directions these notes are morphing (or evolving) from my own needs to record what I’ve gone through, and make it possible for me to rebuild or reinstall a configuration with OpenBSD. In this context, I have a few close friends who find these notes [in]valuable(?) so I continue to review the notes when possible.

  • Read It in the context of greater OpenBSD documentation
  • Do not copy / paste
  • Use a Test Environment/Network
  • Have Fun

I have tried to go back and add some minimal set of information with each guide/note (such as version of OpenBSD it was installed with.)

If the guides help you, we’re excited, if it doesn’t and some correction may make it better, please feel free to contact us with corrections

Read It in the context of greater OpenBSD documentation

These notes are not authoritative, and may mindlessly lead you wrong. Use the notes where useful, but when you’re done with it (or better yet while you’re using it) refer to the ‘real’ documentation

I’ve tried most of these notes on multiple installations, but

  • that doesn’t mean I actually got it right (stable, secure, etc.)
  • these hosts were either i386 (and more recently) amd64 and as such is a very limited test for the context of OpenBSD

And, it gets worse, some of these notes are just placeholders for documentation in the works (and there’s no real distinction between what is tried, and what is ‘in development’)

Do not copy / paste

I present a lot of sample command-line, scripts, configurations but their intentions are not for copy / paste (well, actually they are, but that will only work in a few contexts)

Please, do not copy and paste. Use the samples as something that may have worked for me, but always make sure that the material is relevant for your intended host design.

If you want to copy/paste, then I suggest a test install with these notes as a beginning to your own internal documentation.

Use a Test Environment/Network

When we first began, much of the work had to be on the ’live’ network (even if the new service wasn’t actually active.) For example, since Postfix really needs a working DNS environment to ‘behave’ the test install works a lot better whne the host can connect to the Internet.

With the current low cost of refurbished/2nd hand hardware, there really is no excuse for performing a test install outside of a test network. Network switches come in all sizes, and cheap, and if you’re really lazy, then you can use Virtual Machines to set up your environment.

Routing issues are just too difficult to find when you’re test environment is using a ‘faked’ context, side-loading, on the actual network. Putting everything into a test environment really simplifies the different issues that can go wrong, because you can reset the whole test environment.

Test Network ? Highly Recommended.

The only time I’ve used real server-grade hardware in my test networks, is because that hardware was what I was building for deployment (example the server itself, or switches in test.) The rest of the hardware have been requisitioned (acquired) desktop hardware from different areas.

OpenBSD works great on low-end equipment, use that flexibility to build your test network and get another step closer to having a well tested configuration before deployment

Have Fun

When ever I talk with my kids about what they’ve learned at school, they haven’t learned anything. Everything that has really been ingrained are things that they’ve enjoyed, had fun with, and want to share with everyone at home. If you’re mildly twisted, then you might be just right for enjoying the OpenBSD experience.

Otherwise, if you’re mildly paranoid and hate “interfering auditors” then installing it correctly might just let them go to the next check-point quickly.