OpenBSD Wiki

This message attempts to describe the most basic initial questions that a system administrator of an OpenBSD box might have. You are urged to save this message for later reference.

For more information on how to set up your OpenBSD system, refer to the "afterboot" man page (i.e. after you exit the mail subsystem, type "man afterboot"). If you are not familiar with how to read man pages, type "man man" at a shell prompt and read the entire thing. Pay specific attention to the "man -k keyword" option, which will permit you to find the man page you are looking for more easily; for instance, "man -k ethernet". The GNU "info" subsystem is also installed with further documentation resources: to read info pages type "info". (The info subsystem behaves like the popular emacs editor.)

Again, PLEASE READ THE MANUAL PAGES. Our developers have spent countless hours improving them so that they are clear and precise.

If you have installed the X11 packages during the install process, you can find further information regarding configuration in the file /usr/X11R6/README.

Several popular binary packages (pre-compiled applications) are available for most architectures. If you installed from a CD-ROM the packages are on the same CD-ROM you installed from in the directory 4.3/packages.

CD-ROM space permitted us to include a subset of the full FTP packages for the most common architectures. Please see the FTP sites to see a full list of packages for each architecture:

If you do not find a package you want on the CD, please go look at your nearest FTP mirror site.

Select your architecture and download the tarballs of your choice. For example to install the emacs package for i386, execute:

# mount /dev/cd0a /cdrom
# pkg_add -v /cdrom/4.3/packages/i386/emacs-21.4p5.tgz

or alternatively install them via FTP this way:

# pkg_add -v

You are STRONGLY urged to use ssh instead of telnet, rlogin, or rsh! ssh is included in all OpenBSD systems. The implementation is OpenSSH, which we are the developers of. For more information, see

Significant efforts were made to centralize all system configuration in the /etc directory. You should be able to find each of the configuration files you seek there, lightly documented. In particular, much of the configuration has been centralized in the file /etc/rc.conf. You should not need to ever edit the file /etc/rc. The files /etc/rc.securelevel and /etc/rc.local exist for this purpose; the first is run before the system has gone into secure mode; the second is run afterwards (if in doubt, add your tools to rc.local).

Please refer to our web pages for any other questions you might have.

Please pay special attention to the Frequently Asked Questions section at

OpenBSD is free software. You can do with it as you like, subject to very few conditions (described at But free software isn't written without money. Network links, hardware costs, release engineering and testing work all take money and significant effort on the part of those who have made this OpenBSD release what it is. Please reward the developers who have made OpenBSD what it is, and thus make it possible for this wonderful process to continue. For more information on how you can help, please see and visit to see a list of those who have donated money, equipment, or other resources to ensure OpenBSD continues.

If you wish to ensure that OpenBSD runs better on your machines, please do us a favor (after you have your mail system configured!) and type something like:

# dmesg | mail -s "Sony VAIO 505R laptop, apm works OK"

so that we can see what kinds of configurations people are running. As shown, including a bit of information about your machine in the subject or the body can help us even further. We will use this information to improve device driver support in future releases. (Please do this using the supplied GENERIC kernel, not for a custom compiled kernel, unless you're unable to boot the GENERIC kernel. If you have a multi-processor machine, dmesg results of both GENERIC.MP and GENERIC kernels are appreciated.) The device driver information we get from this helps us fix existing drivers. Thank you!