About OpenBSD

The OpenBSD project produces a freely available, multi-platform 4.4BSD-based UNIX-like operating system. Our goals place emphasis on correctness, security, standardization, and portability.

Why might I want to use it?

Some reasons why we think OpenBSD is a useful operating system:

  • OpenBSD runs on many different hardware platforms.
  • OpenBSD is thought of as the most secure UNIX-like operating system by many security professionals, as a result of the never-ending comprehensive source code audit.
  • OpenBSD is a full-featured UNIX-like operating system available in source and binary form at no charge.
  • OpenBSD integrates cutting-edge security technology suitable for building firewalls and private network services in a distributed environment.
  • OpenBSD benefits from strong ongoing development in many areas, offering opportunities to work with emerging technologies and an international community of developers and end users.
  • OpenBSD attempts to minimize the need for customization and tweaking. For the vast majority of users, OpenBSD just works on their hardware for their application.

Is OpenBSD really free?

OpenBSD is all free. The binaries are free. The source is free. All parts of OpenBSD have reasonable copyright terms permitting free redistribution. More about OpenBSD’s copyright policy can be found here.

The maintainers of OpenBSD support the project largely from their own pockets. This includes the time spent programming for the project, equipment used to support the many ports, network resources used to distribute OpenBSD to you, and the time spent answering questions and investigating users’ bug reports. The OpenBSD developers are not independently wealthy, and even small contributions of time, equipment and resources make a big difference.

What’s included in the base system?

OpenBSD is distributed with a number of third-party software products, including:

The OpenBSD team often patches third party products, typically to improve the security or quality of the code. Much home-grown software is also included. Additional applications are available as packages.

Why is/isn’t ProductX included?

People often ask why a particular product is or isn’t included with OpenBSD. The answer is based on two things: the wishes of the developers and compatibility with the goals of the project. Licensing is often the biggest problem: we want OpenBSD to remain usable by any person anywhere in the world for any purpose.

When is the next release?

The OpenBSD team makes a new release approximately every six months, with the target release dates in May and November. More information on the development cycle can be found here.

Hardware Support

OpenBSD runs on the following platforms:

Specific hardware support details are on the respective platform pages.