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:
- CD sales support ongoing development of OpenBSD.
- Development of a multi-platform operating system requires constant
investment in equipment.
- Your support in the form of a CD set purchase has a real impact on
- The CDs contains binaries (and source) for the most popular supported
- The CDs are bootable on several platforms, and can be used to bootstrap
a machine without a pre-existing installed operating system.
- The CDs are useful for bootstrapping even if you choose to install a
- Installing from CD is faster and preserves bandwidth.
- OpenBSD CDs always come with very nice artwork and stickers.
Your system isn't fully complete without these.
You can only get these stickers by buying a CD set.
- The CD set is complete enough to bring up a full development environment
without any network connection at all.
If you're installing a release version of OpenBSD, you should use an official
Buying OpenBSD shirts
Yes, OpenBSD has T-shirts for your wearing enjoyment!
You can view them here.
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
to determine which mirror site is nearest to you and whether that mirror is
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
You can confirm that none of the downloaded files were mangled in transit
using the sha256(1) command.
Note that this only checks for accidental corruption.
You can use signify(1)
to cryptographically verify the downloaded files.
$ sha256 -c SHA256
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.
$ signify -Cp /etc/signify/openbsd-XX-base.pub -x SHA256.sig install*.iso
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
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:
- Let the application choose the hardware:
It is usually better to make an adjustment to the hardware you were
planning on using rather than compromising on your application design
because you have something you "really wanted to use."
- Identify your bottlenecks:
Don't pay extra for the cutting-edge processor if your application is
restricted by disk I/O.
Don't pay for fast disks if your system is restricted by network speed.
Don't pay for much of anything if your bottleneck is a 128kbps DSL line.
- Keep it simple:
Simple hardware usually has simple problems.
Complex hardware that isn't supposed to ever break may take you a long
time to repair when it breaks anyway.
- Use hardware you understand, or learn the new hardware before you
implement a production system:
Regardless of the technical merits of the hardware, committing to use a
particular type of hardware before you have become familiar with it,
both how it works and how it fails, is foolish.
- Use multiple disks:
Instead of buying one large disk, buy multiple smaller disks.
While this may cost more, distributing the load over multiple spindles will
decrease the amount of time necessary to access data on the disks.
And, with more spindles, you can get more reliability and faster data access
- Break up large blocks of storage:
Many people make the mistake of designing a system that stores large amounts
of data to have one "big block" of storage.
This is usually a bad design.
You will usually find it much better to break up your storage into
This has many advantages, two of the biggest being that you can add more
storage later when you need it easily (you weren't going to get the
requirements estimate right, no one ever does), and you can buy a small
amount of storage now, then add much more later when the price will have
most likely dropped and the capacity will have increased.
- Avoid cheap network adapters:
OpenBSD supports a plethora of cheap network adapters.
These adapters work great in home systems and low or moderate throughput
business and research environments.
If you need high throughput and low impact on your server, you are better
off buying a quality network adapter.
Unfortunately, some name-brand adapters are not much better than the
cheap adapters, and some potentially good adapters do not have accurate
documentation available to write good drivers.
Gigabit adapters often perform better than 10Mbps/100Mbps adapters, even
when used on slower speed networks, due to superior buffering.