thfr runs OpenBSD

I am thfr and I’m probably not a usual BSD person. I’m in healthcare, and work on electronic health record systems. My path to OpenBSD was through a hobbyist interest in free software. I ran different Linux distros on my personal computers on and off at first, invariably leading to frustration over reliability problems with regular usage and software updates (I still have an Ubuntu partition, and similar problems still exist).

When I learned about *BSD, the underlying principles made sense to me—joint development of kernel and userland, permissive license, for example. In addition, cybersecurity concerns started to become an almost daily thing in the news, especially Heartbleed.

This all made OpenBSD a very interesting proposition. And, unlike FreeBSD at the time, X11 and wireless worked out of the box! First, I just tinkered with it, but eventually decided that it fulfilled most of my needs for personal computing with up-to-date browsers and LibreOffice. Video in the browser was an issue at the time. I hadn’t learned about using mpv for watching YouTube videos, and there was a scarcity of games. Nonetheless, I decided that I’d rather go with fewer features, but a more refined security architecture (was about the time when pledge(2) was introduced).

Eventually, I used it for almost everything, but would still boot into Windows or Linux for gaming. I started keeping a list of games in ports and kept track of new additions. Over time I found many open source games that were not available and started experimenting with porting some of my favorites like dxx-rebirth. While I initially expected to only play the likes of NetHack on OpenBSD, I eventually found and tried UFO: Enemy Unknown (aka X-Com: UFO Defense). Desite its age, it was the game that convinced me that enjoyable gaming experiences are possible on OpenBSD.

Nowadays, I do almost everything on OpenBSD. #openbsd-gaming at freenode and the /r/openbsd_gaming subreddit are my go-to places for our small subculture that’s enthusiastic about using this great OS for more than servers and routers.

At work, everything runs on Windows and Oracle. However, I can do most of my emailing and things like preparing presentations or papers with my OpenBSD laptop.

Find me on Twitch, Mastodon, and my site.

7 Aug 2018

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