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Old 6th April 2012
nwp nwp is offline
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Default Linux programs on amd64

Hi everyone,

I'm new to OpenBSD and want to get to know the kernel a bit. I noticed that there is a linux emulator for the x86 version of OpenBSD, but not for the amd64 version. It should be doable to use the virtual x86 mode on an amd64 to run the linux emulator for at least 32 bit code. 64 bit code extension could come later, that will take a lot more effort though.

I know OpenBSD generally does not care about binary compatibility since open source software does not need that, but I care and want it. Also it gives me some needed practice with the OpenBSD kernel.

Does anyone know if such a project already exists so I may join it? And if not I would like to know how I should go about making a project, possibly finding like-minded people with a bit of experience.

Thanks all.
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Old 6th April 2012
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Originally Posted by nwp View Post
Does anyone know if such a project already exists so I may join it?

Earlier in OpenBSD's history, binary compatibility was important given that the number of applications officially ported to the operating system was so small. Today, this isn't as critical. In fact, a number of compatibility layers have been removed.

Also in comparison to Linux, the OpenBSD project is small, & the project developers work as a relatively cohesive group under Theo de Raadt's direction. All kernel work is done by the project proper.

OpenBSD's culture is based on the fact that the project's target audience is the project developers themselves. What speaks loudest is source code. The project is open to outside contributions, but they will be scrutinized in the same manner as code already committed to source control.

I say all of this being an outsider myself. We do find a few project developers reading this forum on occasion, & there are a few here who have contributed ports, but in general, this site is an assembly of professionals, enthusiasts & newcomers to the operating system -- none will any official connection to the OpenBSD project itself.

My recommendation is
  • Study the source code.
  • Read the official mailing lists -- especially source-changes@, tech@ & misc@.
  • As your knowledge matures, you may find things which can be improved. Submit diff's. If & as they are accepted, you will begin establishing credibility. This will help as you submit larger diff's involving Linux compatibility.
It's really that simple & that hard together at the same time.

I would not recommend posting on the mailing lists that you want to do this & expect a constructive response. On occasion there are those that take on the world, but rarely are these followed by code submissions. You might consider contacting Theo privately. I have no idea as to whether he would respond, but I suspect that any contact would be treated with more attention if a code diff were attached.
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Old 8th April 2012
nwp nwp is offline
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Thats a bit discouraging. I guess I really have to get it to work by myself and present it to someone important. Thanks for the answer.
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Old 8th April 2012
bmk1st bmk1st is offline
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An OpenBSD developer had a presentation about "On the Compatibility Layer in OpenBSD 5.0" in Slackathon 2011. The slides can be found at http://www.openbsd.org/papers/

Perhaps that will help you a bit.
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