OpenBSD FAQ - Getting Started with OpenBSD [FAQ Index]

Buying an OpenBSD CD set

Purchasing an OpenBSD CD set is generally the best way to get started. Visit the ordering page to purchase your copy.

There are many good reasons to own an OpenBSD CD set:

If you're installing a release version of OpenBSD, you should use an official CD set.

Buying OpenBSD shirts

Yes, OpenBSD has T-shirts for your wearing enjoyment! You can view them here.

Downloading OpenBSD

There are numerous international mirror sites offering access to OpenBSD releases and snapshots. You should always use the site nearest to you. Before you begin fetching a release or snapshot, you may wish to use ping(8) and traceroute(8) to determine which mirror site is nearest to you and whether that mirror is performing adequately. Access information is here. Of course, your OpenBSD release CD is always closer than any mirror.

In the same directory as the installation sets, each mirror includes a file named SHA256 that contains checksums of the various installation files. You can confirm that none of the downloaded files were mangled in transit using the sha256(1) command.

$ sha256 -c SHA256
Note that this only checks for accidental corruption. You can use signify(1) to cryptographically verify the downloaded files.
$ signify -Cp /etc/signify/ -x SHA256.sig install*.iso
Signature Verified
installXX.iso: OK
This will verify the installXX.iso file, for example. Replace "XX" with the version of OpenBSD that you're verifying. Note that you will need the public key files for OpenBSD's base system (and the signify program!) in order to do this.

Selecting hardware

Selecting appropriate hardware to run your OpenBSD system on is important, as it can mean the difference between success and failure of a project.

If you are shopping for a new PC, whether you are buying it piece by piece or completely pre-built, you want to make sure first that you are buying reliable parts. In the PC world, this is not easy. Bad or otherwise unreliable or mismatched parts can make OpenBSD run poorly and crash often. The best advice we can give is to be careful, and buy brands and parts that have been reviewed by an authority you trust. Sometimes a more expensive machine is a better quality machine. Other times it is not.

There are certain things that will help bring out the maximum performance of your system: