Seth Hanford runs OpenBSD

I started my career as a Windows sysadmin in 2001; coincidentally, I found myself searching the Internet for “most secure operating system” shortly thereafter. Lots of options appeared, but after investigating a few, I became enamored with the OpenBSD community. By the end of 2001, I was also dealing with significant spam issues in my personal email and for some business clients, and began exploring OpenBSD as a safe front-end for personal and business use. At the time, this would’ve been Postfix, Amavisd-new, SpamAssassin, ClamAV to protect Exchange 5.5 backends. Work insisted that it was a Windows-only shop and “Linux isn’t for us”, so I was limited to using OpenBSD for personal projects instead.

A few years and a job change later, I had transitioned from system administration to Information Security. I’ve worked in vulnerability intelligence, product security, threat intelligence, and security operations, blue team roles since then. OpenBSD had embedded itself in my personal life, but work continued to require some form of commercial OS for key daily tasks. I was fortunate to move to OS X for a BSD-based daily driver professionally macOS X 10.3, and 2004 setup OpenBSD with Xfce as a family computer for a short time. Still, my use of OpenBSD was primarily restricted to the excellent pf(4) firewall, and powering personal web and email systems. Over the years I’ve enjoyed using SparcStation 5 & 20, Ubiquiti EdgeRouters, old PowerPC systems, and other non-x86 systems particularly.

Recently, I’ve been dreading making the jump to the latest generation of Apple hardware. Things like “no physical Escape key” make hardcore vi(1) users like myself get fairly uncomfortable. But Windows 10 and systemd have the other alternatives not looking much better. As of OpenBSD 6.3, I’m making a concerted effort to transition my important work tasks to OpenBSD-only. Except for one fairly important collaboration tool, everything that I need to do can be done in OpenBSD today. With pledge(2) and unveil(2), and the fantastic work in vmm(4)/vmd(8), syspatch(8), and fixing various microcode flaws, I feel like there’s never been a better time to move.

I’m @SethHanford on Twitter.

10 Aug 2018

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