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Old 13th March 2014
Roydd85 Roydd85 is offline
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Default Complete beginner in need of a good guide.

Hello, I am pleased to say that I wish to learn all I can about BSD OSes and this seems like a good place to get help. I know that most boards frown upon asking questions that are probably posted on an OSes home page or in an easy to find guide, but I don't even understand those. Let me start by telling you what I do know. I can do basic programming in C++, Python, and I know a little BASH coding as well as the essential basic Linux commands e.g rm, mv, cp, useradd/del,groupadd pwd, cd ls etc. I fully understand the hardware aspects of my computer as well as fixing, upgrading or replacing everything from a blown capacitor to the easy things like HDD, RAM, MOBO, and optical drives. My problem stems from being a long time windows user and so the most I have ever had to do is edit the registry. I am not very familier with networking concepts such as DNS, or configuring routers manually. I do know the basic stuff like what IPs, MAC addresses, and subnet masks are and I know how to find that info with IFconfig but I cannot configure anything yet.

Now, with that rather poor introduction out of the way, I need help getting started with this OS. I don't want to use a GUI until I get the hang of most of the intermediate stuff. Is there a good, easy to understand guide around or a tutorial series that can take me step by step from beginner to intermediate user? I also need help configuring my laptop because it cannot find a DHCP link.
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Old 13th March 2014
J65nko J65nko is offline
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The excellent OpenBSD FAQ is a very good and complete guide. In the beginning of this century, when I started with OpenBSD, and my internet access was with a 64K ISDN modem, I downloaded that FAQ and printed most sections on our HP laserjet printer. That was cheaper and faster than reading and studying from the monitor screen.

With the experience you already have with Linux, I don't see many problems ahead in getting OpenBSD up and running There could be a few minor issues, because sometimes OpenBSD does things different than Linux.

RE: laptop

Laptops are not always the easiest pieces of equipment to configure OpenBSD on. Especially when you need to configure X Window, or a wireless connection. If you are a student and rely on your laptop for your study, it could be easier to somehow get hold of a desktop system.

RE: DHCP link

First read http://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq6.html and you will encounter the DHCP client paragraph. For wired connectivity, that should do the job.

For wireless see 6.13 - What are my wireless networking options?
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Old 13th March 2014
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For FreeBSD, you can start with the handbook's installation guide. They tend to overcomplicate things, in an effort, I guess, to cover all bases, but it's fairly straightforward.
http://www.freebsd.org/doc/handbook/bsdinstall.html

As for a step by step through it, well, other sections are also not bad for getting started.

http://www5.us.freebsd.org/doc/handbook/ is the main page, and after the installing part, it takes you through some basics. It's not always up to date and sometimes leaves out things that are helpful to know, but it's a start.
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Old 13th March 2014
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Heh, and I completely missed the fact that this was the OpenBSD forum. To the OP (original poster), apologies. Everyone else can just snicker about me getting old. I'll blame it on the very early hour, just checking forums before going to work.
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Old 13th March 2014
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roydd85 View Post
Is there a good, easy to understand guide around or a tutorial series that can take me step by step from beginner to intermediate user?
Welcome!

As already mentioned by J65nko, the OpenBSD project's official FAQ is the single best document describing the most recent release. You will save yourself significant aggravation & time by studying this work.

If you would like more explanatory material, Michael Lucas' second edition of Absolute OpenBSD can also be a wise investment.
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Old 13th March 2014
Roydd85 Roydd85 is offline
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Perhaps I was not direct enough. let me completely humble myself and say that I am an idiot, I have a little difficulty comprehending things and I am probably running with a lower octane level fuel than you guys. In short I am not too smart. I looked over the OpenBSD FAQ as soon as I started downloading and have been referencing it all day. My mind is just not grasping the seemingly simple instructions. The man pages are great though. I did google an OpenBSD 101 site but the link was from 06 and even if that site was up I suspect the info is long past obsolescence.
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Old 13th March 2014
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Hello, and welcome!

First, let me say that at one time, everyone was a beginner with this stuff. Everyone. There is no shame in it, and it's perfectly reasonable to not understand something the first or even the thirtieth time you read it. Everyone learns at a different pace, and, everyone learns in different ways.

Second, I wish to reinforce a recommendation from ocicat. Acquire a copy of Absolute OpenBSD. The 1st edition was my go-to bible for many years, and is well worn and still precious to me. The 2nd edition sits proudly on the shelf next to the 1st. Michael's writing style is accessible, understandable, clear, and engaging, and he writes for an audience without prior knowledge of the material. New administrators will get as much value from his guidance as those who have decades of experience.

Third, increase your knowledge one aspect at a time. Take it slowly. Immediate competency in all aspects of the OS is just not possible. Eventually, if you decide to stick with it, you will come to enjoy the simplicity and ease of administration of the OS. But for new users it can be perceived as complex, and when you don't have a BSD background, it can feel overwhelming.

Fourth, be careful of unofficial howto documents and other guidance you can find online. It is often out-of-date, only applicable to a specific use case, written by a newbie, or a combination of all three. Keep that in mind if you refer to them at all, and don't ever blindly type in a command you find online -- understand what each option/operand does. Please note that I include this site in that list of unofficial sources. Use guidance you find here the same way. The vast majority of us are just users.

Fifth, it appears you have successfully installed the OS, and for many, that first installation can be intimidating. So, allow me to offer my congratulations to you!

Sixth, we can help with your networking issue, but we need more information on the connection failure. None of us are looking over your shoulder and we can't see your commands you type nor the responses you receive. See http://daemonforums.org/showthread.php?t=596 for guidance on idealized problem reporting.
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Old 13th March 2014
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One the key tools is a text editor. The original post did not mention this skill and it is requisite in order to manipulate configuration scripts. FreeBSD includes 2 text editors in the base install. OpenBSD provides mg, vi and ed(1).

You will need to be able to utilize an editor to set PKG_PATH in order to install software and select alternative window managers/desktops.

Another helpful skill is to be able to access the documentation that is sitting in your new install. Entering
Code:
man man
will get you started. An additional example is
Code:
man vi

Last edited by shep; 13th March 2014 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 13th March 2014
Roydd85 Roydd85 is offline
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Thanks for the encouragement, it definitely helps me to stay motivated. I also want to thank everyone for the warm welcome I have received. I know that some communities are closed off and seem to despise newcomers, and for a little while I thought I might find that reaction here because I requested fairly easy to find info. As far as the book that was suggested, is the latest version still relevant as far as latest feature additions and changes go? In regards to my network issue, the problem is that I just don't know enough about networking and the lack of familiarity with the OS. Thanks everyone.

btw, I did not mention that I know how to use text editors because I thought that was implied with the programming and BASH knowledge. I was trying to find a text editor and I repeatedly typed in nano out of habit. Thanks for the names.
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Old 13th March 2014
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Yes, the 2nd edition is still relevant, it was a 2013 publication. (Much of the 1st edition is still relevant, too, but those parts were retained and improved for the 2nd edition.)
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Old 13th March 2014
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I will pick that up then, after I get some money of course.
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Old 16th March 2014
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Default newbie also

I too am relatively new here

1. Read "afterboot" or equivalent should be mentioned in post install or mail.
2. download packages and pkg_add nano if you are not a vi person (easy editor)
3. you can goto /usr/port/ and use make search key=softwarewanted command
to search for software once you down load the ports tree.
4. read the man page for visudo so you can edit the file and use
sudo instead of su. This will provide you logging so you know who what when
mucked up your system.
5. find your log files,,,,example /var/log or /var/www/logs/ also will help
in troubleshooting and daily system info.
6. get a handle on ifconfig and basic system networking.
7. u can use packet filtering ie. pf.conf to protect your machine and get traffic
info even if you are behind a firewall or router.
8. use man, info, and apropos to find stuff
9. I like reading mentioned above Absolute openbsd, ssh mastery, and the book of pf.
10. mentioned above faq's are best,,,,,sometimes i need help with unix commands and
visit a unix site for examples. But i do not put any value in how i did its, or bsd
tutorials online as they are usually outdated and hardware specific.
11. I do install x sometimes for testing the likes of XFCE4 but in general am happy
with the terminal (SSH) for my server maint, and file movements and editing.
12. OpenBSD default install has ssh client and server you can find their config files
in /etc/ssh/
13. hope this helps, if errors above chalk it up to also being a newbie.

Last edited by frcc; 16th March 2014 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 16th March 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frcc View Post
I too am relatively new here

1. Read "afterbook" or equivalent should be mentioned in post install or mail.,
afterboot(8)
Quote:
Originally Posted by frcc View Post
2. get ports tree and pkg_add nano if you are a vi person (easy editor)
You don't need the ports tree if you're going to use packages. Please use packages, especially if you are running release (which you probably should be if you're new).

I would also say that while nano (or I'll throw out ee here, since I maintain that) and other "easy" editors can make for useful crutches for the very new, you really should learn vi and/or emacs. Why? vi and emacs are the two "standard" editor types on Unix, and you cannot rely on a foreign machine having the "easy" editor you're used to. However, you can expect a vi or emacs (usually both, but almost certainly vi) on foreign machines. Fortunately, OpenBSD has vi(1) (in the form of nvi) and mg(1) (a lightweight emacs clone) in base. Start learning one of those two as soon as you begin to have the slightest bit of comfort with the command line. Learn one as a daily editor and the other enough to be useful with it (navigating, writing/editing text, search/replace, save, quit). You can always graduate to vim (pkg_add vim) or emacs (pkg_add emacs) later.

You are going to spend a lot of time in a text editor so it is in your best interest to take this very seriously and very early on in your Unix career. FWIW, I am a vi user but I am more than comfortable using emacs. I even maintain a really tiny (28K binary size) emacs clone for an OS called RetroBSD. (https://github.com/ibara/emg for the interested)
Quote:
Originally Posted by frcc View Post
3. you can goto /usr/port/ and use make search key=softwarewanted command
to search for software once you down load the ports tree.
pkg_info -Q packagename
pkg_info(1)
No ports tree required. Please use packages, especially if you are running release (which you probably should be if you're new).
Quote:
Originally Posted by frcc View Post
7. u can use packet filtering ie. pf.conf to protect your machine and get traffic
info even if you are behind a firewall or router.
BSD Now (http://www.bsdnow.tv/) has some useful stuff for people new to pf (http://www.bsdnow.tv/tutorials/pf). There's also The Book of PF if you get really into firewalls. Also a great resource to have for anyone using pf.
Quote:
Originally Posted by frcc View Post
8. use man, info, and apropos to find stuff
man(1)
info(1)
apropos(1)
Quote:
Originally Posted by frcc View Post
11. I do install x sometimes for testing the likes of XFCE4 but in general am happy
with the terminal (SSH) for my server maint, and file movements and editing.
Since you mentioned ports a few times I'll say it. If you ever want to work with ports you MUST have all the xsets installed. They're offered to you by default at install time so just install them. You're not going to be in an environment where having X installed is a problem. And if you are, you'll already know.
Quote:
Originally Posted by frcc View Post
12. OpenBSD default install has ssh client and server you can find their config files
in /etc/ssh/
I would certainly hope so, as OpenSSH is an OpenBSD project.
This should be echoed as often as possible because not enough people know it. If you've ever typed/used ssh on any OS then you rely on OpenBSD.


And let me also voice support for the suggestions given by others already in this thread, such as J65nko, ocicat, and jggimi. And apologies in advance if this gets broken off into another topic. Sorry to make you admins do extra work.
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Old 16th March 2014
frcc frcc is offline
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yes thanks,,,,meant to "SAY" packages "NOT" ports, hope roydd85 see's the value in the above correction. I appreciate it .

i think "ed" is a default line editor also on most unix/linux systems, mac os as well (if you're into line editing), personally i quit using ed years ago (wrting hundreds of batch files on mainframes) but can use it in a pinch if a foreign machine has no nano or ee or ability to get them.

Ibara's above comment conerning vi or emacs holds water if one wants to become an accomplished unix user. I would prefer either over "ed"......

Last edited by frcc; 16th March 2014 at 03:05 AM.
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Old 16th March 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frcc View Post
i think "ed" is a default line editor also on most unix/linux systems, mac os as well (if you're into line editing), personally i quit using ed years ago (wrting hundreds of batch files on mainframes) but can use it in a pinch if a foreign machine has no nano or ee or ability to get them.
Yes, ed(1) is an editor that you will also find on any Unix system. But it is very old and extremely unintuitive so it is best to save learning it for some day in the far future. The only case I can really think of where you'd be stuck somewhere having to use ed(1) is if you're on a machine that has dropped into single user mode and the only partition you can mount is / (containing /bin) and ed(1) is the only editor that has been statically compiled.

I don't think full-blown crisis is a scenario new people are going to find themselves in very often.

And if you're a new person and that sounds frightening, you can always statically compile vi(1) and mg(1) and put the resulting binaries in /bin. Now the chances of you needing to use ed(1) have dropped to everything above, but only on a foreign machine. Plus doing this will teach you the basics of cvs(1) and cc(1) (tools you will need to compile vi(1) and mg(1)) so it might be a good weekend project anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frcc View Post
Ibara's above comment conerning vi or emacs holds water if one wants to become an accomplished unix user. I would prefer either over "ed"......
Everyone should prefer anything over ed(1).
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Old 16th March 2014
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Thanks for all of these tips. I am comfortable with running commands in the terminal but like Ibara mentioned, I have been relying on nano and only used vim a few times. Since I began trying to transition to OpenBSD I have only been using vi to practice editing files and such. It's nice to know that I need to stick with vi because I would have kept using nano forever in ignorance.
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Old 16th March 2014
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You can stick with vim if you want to. Vim is a superset of vi. The basics are the basics. Vim will let you customize your editing experience greatly once you're ready to do so.

I generally point people to vi(1) when they start because it is already there. And once they're familiar with vi(1) then they're already comfortable with vim and can start harnessing its extra power immediately.
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Old 16th March 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post
Second, I wish to reinforce a recommendation from ocicat. Acquire a copy of Absolute OpenBSD.
Thanks for this recommendation. OpenBSD is my favourite version of BSD. I started with OpenBSD 5.0. I have learned about OpenBSD through reading the provided on-line documentation and by trial and error. I am going to order Absolute OpenBSD today.
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Old 17th March 2014
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Default Other useful books

SSH Mastery by Michael W Lucas Jan 2012

The Book of PF by Peter N.M. Hansteen 2nd edition
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