The BSD Journal

The purpose of this web site is to journal my experiences using BSD operating systems on a number of different hardware platforms. These days I use either OpenBSD or Apple's macOS on the desktop. The majority of my server systems also run OpenBSD.

I occasionally use NetBSD for some projects. For large storage system I almost always use FreeBSD with ZFS. DragonFly BSD with its Hammer filesystem might be an interesting option for storage in the future.

March 14, 2017 - I have now upgraded my Thinkpad X1 Carbon 4th Gen with a 2TB Samsung 960 Pro M.2 PCIe SSD and also upgraded my ThinkPad X260 with a 960GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD. Yes, I think the Samsung 850 Pro SSDs are great, but I decided to add some diversity into my storage on my main laptops. I have also done some traveling with both systems and found the X260 with its extended battery to be a much better traveling system. I still like the 2560x1440 display on the X1 Carbon 4th Gen better but, otherwise, the X260 is a better system for me. The X260 does have a 1920x1080 display which is still quite nice and a big improvement over the 1366x768 displays on the ThinkPad 11e and X230.
December 11, 2016 - I also decided to get another PowerMac G5 I purchased recently up and running with OpenBSD. This one is a little bit older and does not exhibit any of the SATA controller DMA issues that the Quad G5 does. I also was able to use radeondrm(4) at up to 1920x1200 without issue. I have also ordered a FirmTek SeriTek 2SE2-E PCIe eSATA card for the Quad G5 to potentially work around the DMA issues. This card is apparently the only one available that is bootable in the PowerMac11,2 systems.
December 8, 2016 - Thanks to Alexandre Ratchov for fixing the microphone disabled audio bug that caused playback of audio at 2X on my Lenovo X1 Carbon 4th Gen when the microphone was disabled in the BIOS. Also added a PowerMac G5 to my main systems. I am still working out some issues with radeondrm(4) but the system is functioning otherwise with OpenBSD-current except for some DMA issues with the SATA controller that show up periodically. I am exploring options to work around the issue.
December 1, 2016 - A few more slight changes for the new machines.
November 18, 2016 - I added some new entries for machines I am currently using. I have some more upcoming blog posts about new uses of OpenBSD for me as well.
October 29, 2015 - OpenBSD 5.8 was released earlier this month with the usual complement of more and more features. The most interesting news for OpenBSD-current is new support for (U)EFI booting as documented in Jasper's blog post. I'm making some progress toward getting OpenBSD running smoothly on a 2013 11-inch MacBook Air. Apple has long supported BIOS emulation booting but this does not play well with OpenBSD for whatever reason. Some of these things are documented in Joshua Stein's gist on the subject.
June 15, 2012 - I have been working on a new project and needed to use a couple of Sun Fire V120 machines running OpenBSD/sparc64. Since the release of OpenBSD 5.1, it has been possible to use a softraid(4) volume for your root filesystem. The instructions are clear for amd64 and i386 systems but I couldn't find the required information for sparc64 systems. I finally figured it out. The process is written up in this article.
September 5, 2011 - Today, I brought my Zaurus SL-C3100 back online with the OpenBSD/zaurus snapshot from Aug 17 which is close to what 5.0 release will contain. I am planning on adding some particular information about this system. So far I have been unable to get any wireless CF card that I have (I own four) to work with WPA. I also have two ethernet CF cards that both are recognized as ne(4) devices. For now I am sticking to ethernet but this information may be valuable for other OpenBSD/zaurus users. Expect a page this month with more information.
September 4, 2011 - I am now running my email on a new OpenBSD server running an OpenBSD/amd64 snapshot approximating what 5.0 release will be. I am running Dovecot 2.0.13 for IMAP and LDA along with OpenSMTPD about what 5.0 release will be for all my email needs. I am quite impressed with OpenSMTPD and I have already been using Dovecot 2.0 for quite some time on another server. This combination seems to be an excellent fit and I prefer OpenSMTPD to Postfix even though Postfix is an excellent product as well. I will have more details on this setup this coming week as well.
July 20, 2011 - I have updated some of the machine entries to reflect some machines I have sold and/or replaced.
June 17, 2011 - I currently have a number of my OpenBSD machines offline due to moving and this is reflected in the list of machines for now. I am also working on some specifically OpenBSD projects and will have more on that soon. I have also been working with DragonFly BSD on a laptop for testing purposes. This is now reflected in the list of machines I am using. I have also archived my list of machines to Archived Ports 2011. I have redesigned the list of machines to reflect what I am using rather than what operating system category they fall under.
June 7, 2011 - Over the past several releases of OpenBSD, work has been going on to improve the experience when using virtual machines. To that end, OpenBSD has added the vmt(4) driver to provide a kernel level implementation of VMware Tools. It only handles the basics like reboot and shutdown along with providing access to the host machine's clock as a timedelta source and also reporting the first non-loopback IP address to the host. Although none of these features are absolutely essential, it just makes life easier when running OpenBSD in a VM which I do constantly. The other extremely useful addition to OpenBSD is vmwh which is described as:
vmwh is a vmware helper for X11, developed on OpenBSD to run in userland alongside the vmt(4) vmware kernel driver and the vmmouse Xorg driver. It detects when the mouse cursor switches back to the host ("ungrabs") and sends the guest's X11 clipboard data (read from xclip) to the host through the vmware backdoor, which gets put onto the host's clipboard. It then detects when the mouse cursor switches back to the guest ("grabs") and replaces the X11 clipboard contents (via xclip) with the host's, which is read through the vmware backdoor.
This simple program makes a huge difference for usability. I use VMware Fusion frequently and I can seamlessly switch back and forth between Mac OS X and my OpenBSD VM this way. The vmwh program was written by jcs and he did a great job!
May 29, 2011 - Once again this site has not been updated recently. The previosly mentioned upgrade to version 1.2 of the Dovecot mail server was delayed and then cancelled due to the completion of the version 2.0 release. Dovecot 2.0 has now reached 2.0.13 and this past week has been added to the OpenBSD ports tree for inclusion in the next release. There have also been additional improvements in opensmtpd as well that went in this past week. I have been running Dovecot 2.0 as my primary mail server for about three months and have been very impressed with its performance and stability. For a variety of reasons that mail server has been running FreeBSD but the whole environment will soon be migrated to an OpenBSD server to coincide with the launch of an exciting new commercial service. More details will be available soon on that front. In site news, I have once again archived the out of date ports list to Archived Ports (2010).
June 8, 2010 - I am in the process of provisioning a new Dovecot IMAP server for mail services. I have been using Dovecot for a few years now and it has been flawless all along. In this case, I am moving from 1.1 to 1.2. I am also looking forward to using Dovecot 2.0 once it is released. Many improvements have been made to make things even faster including the new mdbox mailbox format. Another project I am working on is the new project. The goal is to produce -stable and -current releases of OpenBSD and also releases of NetBSD.
June 7, 2010 - I now have OpenBSD/amd64 and OpenBSD/i386 building full -stable releases as HVM domU systems on a NetBSD/xen 5.0.2_PATCH dom0 with a Xen 3.3.2 kernel. It's not as fast as it would be natively but it runs remarkably well. It provides a great way to have multiple virtual machines doing a number of different tasks and all of them are nicely separated. I have also created a NetBSD/amd64 domU and a NetBSD/i386 domU both using the NetBSD Xen paravirtualization kernels.
June 6, 2010 - Here we go again. It seems I have gotten so busy that I rarely have time to update this site but I am back in the swing again. Once again, I am doing some updates and cleaning it up. I have archived the out of date ports list to Archived Ports. I have updated the introduction as well as added some addition hardware platforms that I am working with.
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