Roman's avatar

Hi, my name is Roman. I make tutorials for BSD users, run OpenBSD on servers and desktops. I'm a fan of POSIX-shell and vi.

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"Fellow OpenBSD, YubiKey, Kensington Orbit Trackball, & ErgoDox user - I salute you!"
equalunique (@no1evanrowley)

"Dope setup"
nixCraft: The Best Linux Blog In the Unixverse (@nixcraft)

"I am in love with this setup. Simple. Awesome. Functional. Efficient."
BuildItBenjamin (@liddy_io)

"my X1 Carbon was delayed yet again... That @romanzolotarev will be ready with his OpenBSD setup by the time it finally ships is the only good thing about the delay. Tot stealing his work"
Vlad Kozin (@zeRusski)

"Sweet rig, I know what I'm asking for on my next birthday!"
Sean (@smhhms)


OpenBSD on my fanless desktop computer

You asked me about my setup. Here you go.

I've been using OpenBSD on servers for years as a web developer, but never had a chance to dive in to system administration before. If you appreciate the simplicity of OpenBSD and you have to give it a try on your desktop.

Bear in mind, this is a relatively cheap ergonomic setup, because all I need is xterm(1) with Vim and Firefox, I don't care about CPU/GPU performance or mobility too much, but I want a large screen and a good keyboard.

My desktop This website has been made with this setup

Item Price, USD
Zotac CI527 NANO-BE 371
16GB RAM Crucial DDR4-2133 127
250GB SSD Samsung 850 EVO 104
Asus VZ249HE 23.8" IPS Full HD 129
ErgoDox EZ V3, Cherry MX Brown, blank DCS 325
Kensington Orbit Trackball 33
1,107

OpenBSD

I tried few times to install OpenBSD on my MacBooks---I heard some models are compatible with it,---but in my case it was a bit of a fiasco (thanks to Nvidia and Broadcom). That's why I bought a new computer, just to be able to run this wonderful operating system.

Now I run -stable on my desktop and servers. Servers are supposed to be reliable, that's obvious, why not run -current on a desktop? Because -stable is shipped every six months and I that's is often enough for me. I prefer slow fashion.

Regarding my window manager of choice: it's cwm(1). It has tiling mode, so I don't have to rearrange windows manually.

Here is my .cwmrc. Quite often I keep just two windows open. On the left side: tmux(1) in xterm(1). On the right side: Firefox.

cwm

"It’s a nice .cwmrc! I even modeled mine after it. Recommended. 5 stars."
(((Mischa 🕶 🐡 RCX))) (@mischapeters)

Zotac CI527

Intel Core i3-7100U, dual core 2.4 GHz CPU
RAM1: 16GB Crucial DDR4-2133 SODIMM CT16G4SFD8213
RAM2: empty
SATA: 250gB Samsung 850 EVO Series MZ-75E250BW
146.4 x 126.5 x 60.5 mm, VESA mount, DC 19V/65W

Intel HD Graphics 620
HDMI: 3840x2160 @ 60Hz
DisplayPort: 4096x2160 @ 60Hz
3-in-1 SD/SDHC/SDXC
Stereo output, Microphone
5 x USB 3.0 (1 front, 4 rear)
2 x USB 3.1 Type-C (front)
LAN Realtek 1000 Mbps
LAN Intel 1000 Mbps
Wifi 802.11ac

This machine is silent, thanks to passive cooling, has no moving parts. That's cool! Right? Of course, from time to time it gets literally hot, but figuratively it stays cool all the time. ;)

According to sysctl(8) its CPU is at 50°C while it's idle and up to 80°C at the maximum load. It cools down in five minutes.

Zotac CI527 Zotac CI527 with RUNBSD sticker on the top


If you're curious about the sticker, here is how it found me:

RZ: Hi @FiLiS, where can I buy those wonderful RUN BSD stickers?

FiLiS: > you can't. You can DM me your address and I'll send you some. :)

Two weeks later...

RZ: #RUNBSD It's official now. Thank you @FiLiS

FiLiS: You're welcome. :)


Almost all the hardware is supported by OpenBSD 6.3 out-of-the-box. For Intel network devices (LAN and WiFi) you'll need firmware binary images. OpenBSD downloads and installs them automatically on the first boot. I've not tested DisplayPort and USB-C, but supposed to work.

Only Bluetooth doesn't work because, well, it shouldn't.

"I'm not very familiar, but the implementation had too many issues for it to be salvageable, it was treated like a network protocol which turned out to be the wrong design. Commit message suggests it also simply didn't work: marc.info?l=openbsd-cvs..."
Bryan Steele (@canadianbryan)

ErgoDox EZ V3

The ErgoDox is a DIY keyboard project initiated by Dominic Beauchamp. The design is ergonomic, split in two separate halves with a columnar layout.

ErgoDox The right half of ErgoDox EZ

Why EZ, not DIY kit? Wrist rest and tilt kit. High quality. Excellent service. 2-year warranty. I have chosen ErgoDox with Cherry MX Brown switches, blank DCS keycaps, and my custom single-layer layout.

Why Cherry MX Brown? Blue switches are louder than brown; other switches are not that good for typing. If you are not sure, browns are the great default choice.

Why DCS? I tried DSA for a month, but during that experiment, my accuracy was lower than with DCS. With sculpted keycaps my fingers "know" where they are, while it is a bit harder with DSA profile keycaps to find home row.

Why blank keycaps? When I'm typing I look at my screen, not my keyboard.

Asus VZ249HE

I picked the cheapest 24" IPS. It happens to be light-weight (2.9 kg) with an slim profile (7mm) and 178° viewing angles. It works great for text, but for graphics I'd recommend 4K displays.

Kensington Orbit Trackball

First, I use keyboard a lot. Rarely touch any pointing devices, just to select a text in the browser or make a screenshot. Okay, I make quite a few screenshots sometimes. :)

This trackball is definitely more comfortable then Apple Trackpad and much better than Apple Magic Mouse.

Second, I had never used trackball before I bought this one, so it's hard to compare with other trackballs.

Low tech

For notes I use Field Notes 48-page Memo Books. In those rare moments when I'm away from my computer I can jot things down at the rate of two hundred pages per year.


"Bonus points for using the Field Notes ;)"
BuildItBenjamin (@liddy_io)

Field Notes Memo Book My first memo book. Circa 2012

Another thing is Field Notes Space Pen, which lasts forever: one refill per thousand memo book pages.

Nokia 105 The charger, phone, memo book cover, and Space Pen.

My main phone is Nokia 105. No internet. No camera. No distractions. It's always on, one battery charge lasts for two weeks.

Disclaimer: I still use Maps, Mail, Twitter, and Telegram on my old iPhones, when I travel, because it's a bit exhausting to carry display and keyboard too far away from my IKEA desk.


Have questions? Want to show your setup? Let's discuss on Twitter.