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What are some of the most helpful tutorials you’ve read or written for OpenBSD? I know the manpages are great, but a good, clearly-scoped tutorial (especially one that works from version to version of OpenBSD) can be a great scaffold for new users to rest on when they’re starting out. For example, when I was starting out with using OpenBSD as a daily driver, I referred to Keith Burnett’s guide to a basic laptop install for guidance, which then gave me a framework to try new things on my own once I’d done it a few times.


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    I started with the OpenBSD FAQ and its installation guide when doing my first install on a used ThinkPad T430s.

    The macppc page also came in handy when installing OpenBSD on a used iMac G4.

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      He’s fairly well known on lobste.rs, but I found a lot of concise guides by Roman Zolotarev, https://www.romanzolotarev.com

      He was certainly the primary motivation for me installing OpenBSD as well.

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        Thank you. :)

        P.S. Folks, if you’re willing to try OpenBSD, I’m always here to help you.

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        Also a bit dated but still useful is “Absolute Openbsd” by Michael W. Lucas or ‘Secure Architectures with OpenBSD’

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          Tutorials would be a good resource, but one reason that you don’t find many is that they potentially need to be updated every 6 months - and no one ever seems to keep their tutorials up to date…

          There have been various threads on the OpenBSD misc@ list over the years, but as the developers put so much effort into producing great man pages, that has been the default answer to this issue.

          When I was starting with OpenBSD I already had The Complete FreeBSD by Greg Lehey as a handbook, as my journey with *BSDs started with FreeBSD, and then when I discovered OpenBSD in 2000, it remained a useful resource. FreeBSD still has their handbook some of which will be relevant to OpenBSD partly as both have their roots in 4.4 BSD.

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            That’s actually one of the reasons I appreciated Burnett’s guide, because he keeps it updated with each new version. I can recommend it to someone with confidence that it’ll apply to the latest OpenBSD release.

            I’m hoping to introduce some of my more enterprising students to OpenBSD and *nix in general next year, and a clear tutorial can be a solid resource to get them over the initial learning curve of interacting with a non-Windows or non-macOS system.

            I agree that the manpages are an excellent resource, and a solid tutorial should lead users toward the manpages instead of StackOverflow.

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              There are professional tutorials from events.

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              I really liked Be Your Own VPN Provider With OpenBSD v2 – This is not just about setting up OpenVPN, it covers an FDE install, basic steps to make the default install even more secure, has a PF config (great for PF newbies who want to see a practical example) and it guides you through setting up unbound with dnscrypt-proxy.

              There are also two great vmd guides I know of: 1, 2. This repo complements them very well.

              I always start with the man pages, but in vmd’s case I needed a working example to get me going.

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                Unlike with a lot of linux distributions, the OpenBSD manpages are well written, and always link to a few similar manpages (for example, when you are looking at the documentation for a program, but you need to know the config file syntax, there will be a reminder at the bottom of the page that there is a manpage just for the configuration file). About a year ago I used mainly the manpages and the IRC channel to get myself situated after reading the FAQ a few times. Back then, there weren’t really tutorials for doing things on OpenBSD on the internet.

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                  That guide you linked looks really good, it has a lot of links to official docs, this is the format I love.

                  I always hear praise for the OpenBSD man pages and I don’t want to diss them, but I’m really, really bad at digesting information in this form. Take for example https://man.openbsd.org/pf.conf.5 and https://man.openbsd.org/pfctl.8.

                  It may contain everything one would want to know, but the dots don’t connect. So my usual way for anything I’ve never worked with would be:

                  • google some introductory tutorial, read it fast and don’t really try to remember the details, jsut an overview
                  • find some code/config examples for easy stuff
                  • look at the official documentation (man pages in this example) for details and double-checking the tutorial

                  I know different people need different things, but give a me a list of facts and I’m still clueless. But by tutorial I don’t mean those ultra-introductory Ubuntu tutorials you find everywhere - I’ve used a lot of flavors of Linux and BSD over the years, I just need the correct pointers, neither a basic howto nor a list of a million things I’d need months down the road.

                  Another point: man pages usually are detailed descriptions of one thing, sometimes with helpful cross links, but they usually don’t show you how to connect the dots - or the order in which to proceed - that’s what good guides tell me. Not really how to do it exactly but how to proceed with which tools - in interactive glossary so to speak

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                    …especially one that works from version to version of OpenBSD…

                    This is unlikely. While OpenBSD tends to be evolutionary, the developers are unafraid to make changes where it makes sense.