Neeraj Pal runs BSD

I’m Neeraj (a.k.a. bsdboy, Neeraj Pal). My career track has been mostly in system/network administration and computer security.

Initially, for four years, I had HP Pavilion M6 laptop, but a sad part was I couldn’t install OpenBSD on it, because of a RAID driver issue. Then, in December of 2017 I bought ThinkPad T470 and managed to install OpenBSD on the real hardware and was very happy with that.

I was introduced to OpenBSD and FreeBSD out of curiosity. One of my friend, who is currently working as a SAS Software Consultant and also a system security enthusiast, had challenged me to setup OpenBSD with Fluxbox WM and OpenOffice in 2015. At that time I was learning about managing servers and their security.

I tried OpenBSD on QEMU and it felt a little bit difficult to install Fluxbox with SLiM login manager. If I remember correctly there was an issue with the mouse pointer. Later Peter N. M. Hansteen and other members of the community from OpenBSD public group helped me.

My favorite BSD is OpenBSD and I love using it because it’s a minimalist, secure, and no bloat system by default. Few other points: its excellent documentation, clean source-code, and the awesome community.

I like to read the source-code of OpenBSD to learn the internals and mitigation approaches for issues like recent vulnerabilities: Meltdown, Spectre, TLBleed, L1TF, etc. Their mitigation approaches are good and clean. As they have added pledge(2), unveil(2), RETGUARD, arc4random(3) as one of the best PRNG and other features to improve security and to make an attacker’s life difficult. All of that makes this software project unique.

I learned the importance of perfect exploit mitigations because of OpenBSD. It is a perfect example of innovating at exploit mitigations and system hardening practices.

I use OpenBSD as a desktop OS on my laptop and as a VPS server provided by OpenBSD.Amsterdam. OpenBSD is my frist choice for any server facing public network.

I have BeagleBone Black running OpenBSD and three Raspberry Pi-3 running FreeBSD, NetBSD, and Linux. So I can recreate any setup I want to learn something and easily tinker with them.

Before OpenBSD, I have used FreeBSD a little to taste the flavor of BSD systems and to learn some system administration stuff on it and also I have tinkered FreeBSD kernel and written some rootkits for fun while reading “Designing BSD rootkits” by Joseph Kong.

My personal blog is running on OpenBSD too. It serves HTML files with httpd(8), sends and receive emails with OpenSMTPD.

Find me on Twitter, Mastodon, and my personal site.

My public key fingerprint is A84B 517F AF17 E021 B646 3AAE 1D3E 628F 0CBE 696B.

28 Oct 2018

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