How many times I've heard : « OpenBSD is a system made for servers not desktops »
Well... that's so wrong !
This paper is not aiming to be very technical as the setup is really easy, its goal is to help you see OpenBSD as a system you can use everyday for almost everything you need.
Why should we use OpenBSD as a Desktop ?
- It's free...
- Stable, no crash, no surprise
- Secure by default, and you can still use Packet Filter to secure even more your desktop like a server
- Good performances with Xorg (the rest depends on your configuration)
- Very good hardware recognition
- Allows a full disk encryption, awesome when you go out with your laptop
- Good package system to find what you need (Desktop Environment, Web browser, Music Player, etc)
What Desktop Environment may I use ?
There is a lot of Desktop Environments you can install on OpenBSD :
In this paper, we'll focus on XFCE's setup. Why ?
- It runs smoothly on most configurations, as it's light it uses less battery
- It's beautiful, managing transparency for example, a lot of themes are available too
- It manages multiple virtual desktops easily
- It allows you to add hightly configurable panels making your desktop experience even better
- We can run it without needing root privileges
Configure and install what we need !
Then, depending on your hardware configuration you may need to set the machdep.allowaperture value to 2 on your system :
# vi /etc/sysctl.conf machdep.allowaperture=2 # reboot
machdep.allowaperture grants access to the /dev/xf86 device driver which provides access to the memory and I/O ports of a VGA board and to the PCI configuration registers for use by the X servers when running with a kernel security level greater than 0. (More informations here.)
IMPORTANT : Since the 5.4 release it's not necessary to use it anymore on Intel/AMD architectures, but in some cases (if you use virtualization for example) you'll still need it.
# pkg_add xfce xfce-extras firefox vlc
My goal is to run everything unprivileged, I'll configure XFCE to start manually and as a simple user :
$ vi ~/.xinitrc exec startxfce4 $ startx
Your Desktop Environment should be starting.
You can easily configure it by right-clicking and browsing options.
Automatically start XFCE at system startup :
If you want your system to start XFCE immediately without having to use startx, just make a crontab to launch it when the system starts :
$ crontab -e @reboot /usr/X11R6/bin/startx > /dev/null 2>&1
Need help ?
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