Tim Chase runs BSD

My Unix journey began in high-school with access to a lab of DEC Ultrix machines which, unlike Windows 3.1 and Mac OS of the day, had real preemptive multi-tasking and native networking, giving roaming $HOME profiles on NFS shares, FTP & telnet access, and gopher & Spyglass Mosaic web browsing (and networked games like Bomberman). It also didn’t hurt that the screens had far better resolution & color-depth than anything in the PC world.

In college, a classmate introduced me to vi(1), writing all his class papers and printing them on green-bar paper using the line-printer in the lab. Though a little rough to start, it quickly replaced my DOS editor Q.EXE as my default. Also around this time I had a go installing both Slackware Linux (from an agonizing number of floppies) and FreeBSD (2.x from a Walnut Creek CD-ROM) on my 486.

Out of college, I purchased my first laptop (a Gateway Solo 1200 with an 800MHz Celeron processor and 128MB of RAM which I later upgraded to the maximum 320MB). However, the WinME with which it came crashed frequently and needed regular updates & reboots. After several reinstalls with Debian Linux, QNX, Minix, and several other experiments, the machine currently runs OpenBSD 6.3 and still chugs along.

It’s hard to choose a favorite BSD. I like FreeBSD and HardenedBSD for jails and the data-integrity that ZFS gives me. But I also like OpenBSD for its aggressive security stance, light resource usage, and the broad range of utilities available in a default install.

My home “lab” now has a mix of Debian Linux on a Lenovo, OpenBSD (both on that old Gateway laptop and on a slightly newer PPC iBook G4), and FreeBSD (on a Dell Mini9 & Mini10 netbook maxed out with 2GB of RAM each, and on a discarded hand-me-down Inspiron 1420 with 3GB of RAM). My Raspberry Pi Model B runs whatever OS image I put on the SD card that day (usually Raspbian or FreeBSD). Finally, I have a VPS instance with OVH onto which I’ve hacked an (unsupported) instance of FreeBSD hosting jails that serve email, some light database- & static-backed web work, as well as some other temporary experiments like LDAP, IRC, and gopher servers.

In my hobby time, I goof off on Twitter, and run @ed1conf on Twitter and on Mastodon. I also do some development on the side for a local non-profit, as well as lurk on Vim and Python mailing lists, answering the occasional question.

7 Aug 2018

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