The OpenBSD 4.0 Crash Course
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: July 2007
Pages: 59

OpenBSD is a Unix-like computer operating system that is widely regarded for its excellent documentation and its fanatical focus on security. "The OpenBSD Crash Course" Short Cut will help you get an x86 or AMD64/EM64T server, desktop, or network appliance up and running quickly with OpenBSD. You'll learn how to install or upgrade OpenBSD on x86 and AMD64 machines, how to configure it for server or workstation use, and how to properly maintain it until the next release.

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oreillyThe OpenBSD 4.0 Crash Course

(based on 4 reviews)

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Nice little brush up on OpenBSD

By valentin_nils

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The OpenBSD 4.0 Crash Course:

The above is a nice quick-rush intro for a jump start into the OpenBSD system. It contains some valuable tips where to start and what to watch out for. Dont expect the coverage of a full book though. You can read it on the go, in the plane etc and arrive brushed up.

(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Good, but I wanted a little more

By Harold S

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The OpenBSD 4.0 Crash Course:

I wanted it to be more in depth. A real plus are the links to relevant documentation on the site, but there are far too few of those. Far too much time spent on describing how to set up the PC BIOS. I really could not figure out why so many pages were spent on the upgrade from 3.9 section -- what does that have to do with an OpenBSD 4.0 crash course? I would say some strong editorial direction would help - to make the crash course concentrate on how OpenBSD differs from other Unix platforms (include commands and philosophies unique to OpenBSD) - after all administrators contemplating a shot at OpenBSD are probably your target audience.

All in all I would recommend the text to anyone though. There were helpful sections despite my comments. Thank you.

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Good idea, needs some more work.

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The OpenBSD 4.0 Crash Course:

The errors you point out were already submitted for correction -- I pulled the excerpt from the uncorrected manuscript. It's now fixed in the article as well. Second, it was simply a bad part to excerpt because that section was flagged for a rewrite initially anyway. Several editors have been over the entire work since the original manuscript was submitted, and while there are always possibilities, I can say with confidence that the finished PDF is a more-than-suitable introduction to OpenBSD.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


Good idea, needs some more work.

By Frank G

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The OpenBSD 4.0 Crash Course:

I have not read the entire 59-page book, only the sample on the author's website ( . Unfortunately, there are some errors in the sample that would seriously compromise the author's stated intent of providing copy-and-paste examples for configuring an OpenBSD server.

(1) The OpenBSD-modified Apache 1.3 comes with the following modules installed and enabled by default:

The modules are installed by default and disabled. They need to be enabled in /var/www/conf/httpd.conf before they can be used.

(2) By default Apache runs in a chrooted environment -- in other words, Apache operates as though nothing exists outside of the document root, which is by default /var/www/htdocs. So if you have extra Apache modules installed that need to use programs or configuration files in any directory outside of /var/www/htdocs and its subdirectories, then they will not be able to function properly.

httpd chroots to the ServerRoot (/var/www), not the DocumentRoot (/var/www/htdocs). Any programs, libraries, files, or directories that need to be available to the web server can be created in (or copied to) the ServerRoot. For example, copying the appropriate timezone file to /var/www/etc/localtime will allow cgi programs to report the correct localtime, and some php programs may require access to /var/www/tmp to function.

(3)To make mysqld start automatically at boot time, add these lines (or something similar that fits your needs) to /etc/rc.conf.local:

if [ -x /usr/local/bin/mysqld_safe ]; then

echo -n ' mysql'; /usr/local/bin/mysqld_safe &


If /etc/rc.conf.local does not yet exist, go ahead and create it, adding this one line.

This is wrong. /etc/rc.conf.local is an extension of /etc/rc.conf, which is used to set variables for /etc/rc, which is run by init. Custom startup scripts belong in /etc/rc.local, which is part of the default install.

/etc/rc.conf and /etc/rc.conf.local are sourced early in /etc/rc, while /etc/rc.local is sourced late -- after the network is brought up, the firewall turned on, system daemons are running... including my favorite, syslogd. As a result, scripts that are run in /etc/rc.conf[.local] will be started before the system is fully initialized -- which may not have the desired effect, if the daemon loads at all. Perhaps this is the "Crash" referred to in the title? /etc/rc.conf[.local] is for configuration variables only.

And it's three lines, not one.

O'Reilly is generally regarded as a source of high-quality reference material, but while I applaud the effort of putting together a guide for OpenBSD, the bit that I read does not give me confidence that this book would be worth the $9.99 download without serious editing.

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