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Old 14th November 2022
Entropic Entropic is offline
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Default OpenBSD Noob in need of guidance

Hi All,

I'm looking to set OpenBSD 7.2 up on a 10 year old HP Probook 6470B, and please excuse me if these questions are a little naive but since working with MS DOS 6.22 in childhood some 25+ years ago and spending the bulk of my time in GUI based OS's since, I'm going to need all the help I can to get this working..

Firstly, given the hardware mentioned above: do I need the i386 or can I use the AMD64 installation files? The CPU is an Intel Pentium so I'm guessing I'm limited to i386 but then I read a forum post where some OpenBSD experts were talking about i386 lacking some security mitigations of AMD64, and if I can get the AMD64 working on this hardware I'd rather run with that if possible. Do I have a choice here?

Secondly, the installation basics: I've taken a look at the helpful forum FAQ here, and ended up at the OpenBSD FAQ (official) which led me to look into how I create the installation media. In my case it will be a USB installer, but the guidance seems to indicate the use of a DD command. (# dd if=install*.img of=/dev/rsd6c bs=1M)
Is this command based on the assumption that I'm already in a Unix environment?! If so I need to know how to create this media on an M2 (Arm64) Macbook where I'm guessing the DD command line won't even work in terminal..

Thirdly, does anyone have links on how to lock down a freshly installed OpenBSD installation? I'm already aware of its secure by default installation nature, but I'm dealing with some determined bad actors and I don't want to leave any doors open on this fresh installation. e.g. Can I disable Wifi straight away? (or is it disabled by default?) I've previously used this helpful guide from Dr Duh https://github.com/drduh/macOS-Secur...-Privacy-Guide to lock down my fresh MacOS installations of the last few years. Is there something similar for OpenBSD that gives this solid command by command guidance on achieving the same kind of lockdown on a fresh OpenBSD install?

Thanks in advance for any guidance. I look forward to getting this most secure OS up and running to secure my future computing!
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Old 14th November 2022
bsd-keith bsd-keith is offline
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I'd try it with the 64bit installer first, should work, the wifi, if supported, can be set up up at the installation stage, choose all the sets with the exception of comp & game, & you will be offered to start a GUI, choose that option, & you should be ready to discover a new world of computing.

The FAQ are very informative & worth a read, security is what you make of it, but for a basic user, it's good to go.

Getting the install72.img file onto your pendrive can be achieved several ways, but I suggest trying the cp (copy) command on your Mac, just make sure to copy it to the whole (pen)drive.
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Old 14th November 2022
Entropic Entropic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsd-keith View Post
I'd try it with the 64bit installer first, should work, the wifi, if supported, can be set up up at the installation stage, choose all the sets with the exception of comp & game, & you will be offered to start a GUI, choose that option, & you should be ready to discover a new world of computing.

The FAQ are very informative & worth a read, security is what you make of it, but for a basic user, it's good to go.

Getting the install72.img file onto your pendrive can be achieved several ways, but I suggest trying the cp (copy) command on your Mac, just make sure to copy it to the whole (pen)drive.
Thanks for the quick reply Keith. It seems this forum is more active than I first thought! It's also kinda cool to get a reply from someone across the globe in the town that I actually lived in before emigrating out to Australia back in the late 1980s as a kid! (I was in Camberley).

That's nice to hear that I'll be prompted during the install regarding the Wifi. There's no hardware button to turn it off on that laptop and I really don't even want it on so it looks like I can disable it from the outset right?

Regarding this install72.img file. I'll certainly look into this cp option to get it onto the USB drive, though I might not need this as downloading it via the browser (currently MacOS), I'll just download it and then transfer it to the USB drive via the GUI. Isn't there some other tricks I need to do to the USB stick to make it a bootable installer ?
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Old 14th November 2022
bsd-keith bsd-keith is offline
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It's a disk image, so as long as its image copied to the whole drive, it should boot up OK.

(I, personally, always use the command line when creating bootable pendrives, but it might work, it shouldn't be copied to a mounted drive.)

(The 3 ways to make a bootable are dd, cp, & cat)

P.S. Unless you configure wifi, it won't get configured by default.

If you are seriously worried about wifi, you could open up the laptop & remove the little PCI card, but that is a bit drastic...
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Last edited by bsd-keith; 14th November 2022 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 14th November 2022
shep shep is offline
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I tried OpenBSD on an old HP G60 recently. The wireless card is toggled for "Airplane Mode". In linux, you can unblock the wireless card with rfkill commands. I could not figure out how to unblock the atheros AR9285 card in OpenBSD.
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Old 14th November 2022
Entropic Entropic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsd-keith View Post
It's a disk image, so as long as its image copied to the whole drive, it should boot up OK.


(I, personally, always use the command line when creating bootable pendrives, but it might work, it shouldn't be copied to a mounted drive.)

(The 3 ways to make a bootable are dd, cp, & cat)
I'm not quite sure what to make of this section. Put differently, are you saying that copying the OpenBSD installation image to the USB stick should work using my method of simply dragging the freshly downloaded file onto the USB using the MacOS GUI, but that you can't be sure as you have always created the bootable USB's using command lines? The last line of this section seems to suggest that its absolutely mandatory to use the command line options to transfer the images to the USB as if this is what makes it bootable?

PS: I've just been trying to figure out if i can use the DD command in OSX (MacOS) terminal and it looks like I can. Again they don't clarify if its the use of the DD command that magically endows the USB stick with "bootable" characteristics or whether its just a faster way of transferring the image file to the USB stick Why does the USB stick need to be unmounted before having the OpenBSD installation files moved to it - is this relevant to OSx where I'll be creating this USB installation stick?
Quote:
P.S. Unless you configure wifi, it won't get configured by default.
Ah yes this rings true with what I read somewhere in the last couple days on one of the many sites I've visited re: OpenBSD in the last couple days. Thanks for clearing this up.

Quote:
If you are seriously worried about wifi, you could open up the laptop & remove the little PCI card, but that is a bit drastic...
I was considering this with an older Macbook that I'll soon be retiring but I think I'll be content with the default 'off' state inherent to OpenBSD
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Old 14th November 2022
bsd-keith bsd-keith is offline
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You must 'image write' to the disk, (it isn't a normal type of copying like a file), if you see your disk in a file manager, but it isn't mounted, using a GUI may work - no guarantees from me.

I recommend you do it from the command line.
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Old 14th November 2022
bsd-keith bsd-keith is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shep View Post
I tried OpenBSD on an old HP G60 recently. The wireless card is toggled for "Airplane Mode". In linux, you can unblock the wireless card with rfkill commands. I could not figure out how to unblock the atheros AR9285 card in OpenBSD.
No idea either, & I've had a search online, but all I found was someone using a live Linux to turn it off in FreeBSD, so I'm guessing you could reset it that way.
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Old 15th November 2022
Entropic Entropic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsd-keith View Post
You must 'image write' to the disk, (it isn't a normal type of copying like a file), if you see your disk in a file manager, but it isn't mounted, using a GUI may work - no guarantees from me.

I recommend you do it from the command line.
Ahh great, thanks for the explanation. So by writing the image, and the nature of that image file being the .img install file, it takes care of letting the operating system know that its a drive to boot from (after I presumably hit F12 and tell the BIOS to boot from USB first ofc?)
I'll be trying out the DD command instructions from that site I posted up earlier in this thread and let you know how I go!
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Old 15th November 2022
bsd-keith bsd-keith is offline
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Just make sure that you write it to the right drive, double check the drive names/sizes.
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Old 15th November 2022
Entropic Entropic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsd-keith View Post
Just make sure that you write it to the right drive, double check the drive names/sizes.
Ah yeah, I recall reading something a couple days ago about how important it is to check this as like in old DOS you can wipe your entire base drive in a single command...
Wasn't there some qualifying flag you can add to double check the destination (OF) drive to ensure its the intended one??

In MacOS I've used diskutil list to show the array of partitions. Apple likes to set out a large number of partitions and what I assume are labels for sub partitions? Attached is a screenshot I've just taken showing the existing disks before I connect any USB drive. I plan to run this command again after connecting the USB to see what new disk name it gets assigned so I can use that for the 'OF' part of the DD command line argument.
Attached Images
File Type: jpeg Image 15-11-2022 at 03.05.jpeg (16.5 KB, 5 views)

Last edited by Entropic; 15th November 2022 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 15th November 2022
bsd-keith bsd-keith is offline
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Yes check & double check to be safe, especially as you are new to doing this.

Sometimes I'll use dmesg|tail just after inserting the pendrive, (other times I use fdisk -l on Linux) to make sure I have the right drive.

When you come to install your OpenBSD, you get the chance to check disks again before commiting to the install, just make sure you read the info given at each part of the installation, & you should be OK.
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Old 16th November 2022
Entropic Entropic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsd-keith View Post
Yes check & double check to be safe, especially as you are new to doing this.

Sometimes I'll use dmesg|tail just after inserting the pendrive, (other times I use fdisk -l on Linux) to make sure I have the right drive.

When you come to install your OpenBSD, you get the chance to check disks again before commiting to the install, just make sure you read the info given at each part of the installation, & you should be OK.
Thanks Keith. I'll be keenly using that dmesg command line upon inserting the USB stick to ensure I'm OF to something other than my existing macbook HDD!
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