1.0 - Introduction to OpenBSD

1.1 - What is OpenBSD?

The OpenBSD project produces a freely available, multi-platform 4.4BSD-based UNIX-like operating system. Our efforts place emphasis on portability, standardization, correctness, and security. OpenBSD supports binary emulation of most binaries from SVR4 (Solaris), FreeBSD, Linux, BSDI, SunOS, and HPUX.

1.2 - On what systems does OpenBSD run?

OpenBSD 2.8 runs on the following platforms:

bootable means that OpenBSD will boot directly from the CD. The CD set will boot on several hardware platforms. See section 3.0 of this FAQ for details of obtaining OpenBSD on CD.

Previous releases of OpenBSD also had a port for:

Multiprocessor support? See 8.12 for more info.

1.3 - Is OpenBSD really free?

OpenBSD is all free. The binaries are free. The source is free. All parts of OpenBSD have reasonable copyright terms permitting free redistribution. This includes the ability to REUSE most parts of the OpenBSD source tree, either for personal or commercial purposes. OpenBSD includes NO further restrictions other than those implied by the original BSD license. Software which is written under stricter licenses cannot be included in the regular distribution of OpenBSD. This is intended to safeguard the free use of OpenBSD. For example, OpenBSD can be freely used for personal use, for academic use, by government institutions, by non-profit making organizations and by commercial organizations.

For further reading on other popular licenses read: http://www.openbsd.org/policy.html.

The maintainers of OpenBSD support the project largely from their own pockets. This includes the time spent programming for the project, equipment used to support the many ports, the network resources used to distribute OpenBSD to you, and the time spent answering questions and investigating users' bug reports. The OpenBSD developers are not independently wealthy and even small contributions of time, equipment, and resources make a big difference.

1.4 - Why might I want to use OpenBSD?

New users frequently want to know whether OpenBSD is superior to some other free UNIX-like operating system. That question is largely un-answerable and is the subject of countless (and useless) religious debates. Do not, under any circumstances, ask such a question on an OpenBSD mailing list.

Below are some reasons why we think OpenBSD is a useful operating system. Whether OpenBSD is right for you is a question that only you can answer.

1.5 - How can I help support OpenBSD?

We are greatly indebted to the people and organizations that have contributed to the OpenBSD project. They are acknowledged by name here:


OpenBSD has a constant need for several types of support from the user community. If you find OpenBSD useful, you are strongly encouraged to find a way to contribute. If none of the suggestions below are right for you, feel free to propose an alternative by sending e-mail to donations@openbsd.org.

1.6 - Who maintains OpenBSD?

OpenBSD is maintained by a development team spread across many different countries. The project is coordinated by Theo de Raadt, located in Canada.

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