I received OpenBSD 3.2 by mail yesterday and installed it on my trusty cast-off Pentium that'll ultimately become my firewall. Here are some observations:
- The installer expects that you know your stuff. Period. There's no flashy graphics, not even text-based windows. The furthest it goes toward fancy is to display some of the startup information messages in white text on a blue background. You frequently find yourself at a simple '>' prompt.
- The installation documentation that comes with the CD is little more than a capture of the messages and responses in a standard install. Deviate at all and you're on your own.
- This is a small, stable, fast, and VERY SECURE operating system. There's nothing there that doesn't need to be, and what is there has been scrutinized more closely than probably any other operating system on the planet for security. The OpenBSD mantra — “secure by default” — means that you get a pretty basic installation out of the box. If you want your box to do more stuff, you need to turn it on. In figuring out HOW to turn it on, you often learn more about whether or not you really want to do it, and what the dangers are.
- Configuring the system as a packet filter was ridiculously simple. One-line modifications to four configuration files and a reboot and it was done.
Anyway, if you're looking for secure, check out OpenBSD. (By the way, unlike other free operating systems, they won't let you download the ISO images of the CD's for free…you can do an FTP install, but they'd prefer that you buy the CDs to help fund the development. Cost is about $30, so it's not too bad)