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Status of GNOME 3 on OpenBSD
Contributed by jj on Wed Feb 19 08:40:30 2014 (GMT)
from the gnomeo-and-jacoutot dept.

Antoine Jacoutot writes in with an update on the current status of Gnome 3 on OpenBSD:

It's been a while since I wanted to write something about the state of GNOME as a day-to-day Desktop on OpenBSD. It's no secret amongst OpenBSD people that the company I work for maintains (amongst other things) a park of a few thousand OpenBSD Desktops around the world.

The past:
  • I never look at the past.
The present:
  • "OpenBSD is an elistist OS, it is too hard to use."
# pkg_add gnome
# echo 'multicast_host=YES' >>/etc/rc.conf.local
# echo 'pkg_scripts="${pkg_scripts} dbus_daemon avahi_daemon gdm"' >>/etc/rc.conf.local
... oh yeah that was "hard"!

Just make sure no Display Manager other than GDM is configured to start at boot. That is all there is to it really, so reboot and enjoy.

To make it easier for people to automatically use removable media, like USB sticks and CD/DVD-ROM, I wrote a small application called toad(8) (Toad Opens All Devices). This application talks to ConsoleKit to detect the currently active user and uses this information to mount devices with proper ownerships. It mounts them under /run where GMount (GLib) can see them so that GVFS applications like Nautilus can be used to unmount and/or eject them with a single click (aka Joe-user friendly). toad(8) uses the OpenBSD devices hot plugging monitor daemon: hotplugd(8).

# pkg_add toad
Added to that that Chromium and Firefox are now very good at displaying multimedia web content, anything you may miss are the Flash-based advertisings.

The pr0n:

Since an image is worth a thousand words, here's a short webcast showing GNOME 3.10.2 running on OpenBSD-current (soon to be OpenBSD 5.5):

The future:

There is some more and more awareness in the GNOME community that at least two major BSDs (OpenBSD and FreeBSD) have people actively working to make GNOME a viable option for them and I think it can benefit all sides.

As far as my little person is concerned, I am currently working on setting up a buildbot infrastructure with JHBuild to be able to run continuous builds of the GNOME HEAD repository (which the FreeBSD folks are doing already). "JHBuild is a tool used to build the whole GNOME desktop from the version control system". That will help us catch portability issues very early. It will also help OpenBSD fix some of its tools (I am looking at you libtool!).

We spent the last couple of years pushing a maximum number of local patches upstream and as of today, most of then got accepted. But there is obviously still work to do...

The upcoming most challenging task will certainly be to develop compatible APIs provided by systemd and that GNOME uses (timedated, localed, hostnamed and logind). Some parts are trivial, some others not as much.

A special "thank you" goes to Ryan Lortie from the GNOME project who has been an enormous help pushing us to move forward as well as Koop Mast from the FreeBSD-gnome team who has included me in their regular chats and with whom we share most of the same issues.

Big thanks to Antoine for this update on the state of our small garden gnomes.


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more by jj

  Re: Status of GNOME 3 on OpenBSD (mod 1/23)
by Anonymous Coward ( on Wed Feb 19 13:48:59 2014 (GMT)
  Okay, time to try OpenBSD on my desktop again!
  [ Show thread ] [ Reply to this comment ] [ Mod Up ] [ Mod Down ]

  Re: Status of GNOME 3 on OpenBSD (mod 1/25)
by David Gwynne (2001:388:e000:ba00:3117:fac5:537e:7183) ( on Wed Feb 19 14:00:46 2014 (GMT)
  i cant believe you didnt know rhythmbox. poor jmatthew@
  [ Show thread ] [ Reply to this comment ] [ Mod Up ] [ Mod Down ]

  Re: Status of GNOME 3 on OpenBSD (mod -5/25)
by Bonaventure Aquinas ( on Wed Feb 19 21:11:33 2014 (GMT)
  Thanks for the hard work to make OpenBSD have the best support for gnome of all the BSDs! I don't use Gnome but do use some of its applications and appreciate having a stable work environment.
  [ Show thread ] [ Reply to this comment ] [ Mod Up ] [ Mod Down ]

  Re: Status of GNOME 3 on OpenBSD (mod -6/22)
by Tracy ( on Thu Feb 20 16:53:10 2014 (GMT)
  Great article. However, I tried to install toad and pkg_add cannot find that package. What should I set PKG_PATH too?
  [ Show thread ] [ Reply to this comment ] [ Mod Up ] [ Mod Down ]

  Re: Status of GNOME 3 on OpenBSD (mod 3/21)
by Ted Walther ( ( on Thu Feb 20 20:30:25 2014 (GMT)
  I've been watching the whole systemd debate in Debian. Debian and now Ubuntu is switching to systemd because they say that Gnome is making systemd a hard dependancy.

Seeing how easy you make it look to install Gnome under OpenBSD, I have to ask: is this "systemd" dependancy a fairytale? Did you write toad to fill in the bits that Gnome would be getting through systemd on Linux? Is toad the complete fix to this "systemd dependancy", is the dependancy more of a myth, or is there more items like toad coming down the pike to fill in missing gaps?
  [ Show thread ] [ Reply to this comment ] [ Mod Up ] [ Mod Down ]

  Re: Status of GNOME 3 on OpenBSD (mod 2/20)
by Anonymous Coward ( on Fri Feb 21 08:59:40 2014 (GMT)
  Not related but I couldn't resist:


Allow X(7) to run with machdep.allowaperture=0 on inteldrm(4) and radeondrm(4).

A great day for humanity. OpenBSD 5.5 is going to be the best release in years.
  [ Show thread ] [ Reply to this comment ] [ Mod Up ] [ Mod Down ]

  Re: Status of GNOME 3 on OpenBSD (mod -3/25)
by Anonymous Coward ( on Sat Feb 22 20:51:27 2014 (GMT)
  Why am I forced to use GDM? Shouldn't GNOME not try to force dependencies to have better integration, rather than trying to manipulate the open source environment, impacting our desktop and what we can use? This just seems like Ubuntu in a different form.
  [ Show thread ] [ Reply to this comment ] [ Mod Up ] [ Mod Down ]

  Re: Status of GNOME 3 on OpenBSD (mod 0/18)
by sthen ( on Thu Nov 19 13:33:43 2015 (GMT)

Since this story seems to come up easily in searches for running GNOME
on OpenBSD, here's a quick update for people trying this in newer versions.

* The rc.conf.local format has changed; "pkg_scripts" must now be a single line.

* For information about running GNOME on your version of OpenBSD, run
"pkg_add gnome" and see /usr/local/share/doc/pkg-readmes/gnome*.

* For the most recent version of the pkg-readme file (applies to -current
snapshots), see ports/meta/gnome/pkg/README-main on cvsweb.

* GNOME really wants DRM acceleration (as does KDE4). If you're seeing
a "sad face" crash when it starts up, the most likely possibility is that
this isn't supported for your graphics hardware in the OpenBSD release
you're trying. As far as Intel drivers go, 5.8 supports Haswell, for
Broadwell you need to run -current or wait for 5.9.

  [ Show thread ] [ Reply to this comment ] [ Mod Up ] [ Mod Down ]

  Re: Status of GNOME 3 on OpenBSD (mod -2/14)
by mxffiles ( on Tue Feb 7 07:08:09 2017 (GMT)
  This is a very good post which I really enjoy reading. It is not every day that I have the possibility to see something like this. Software mxf Software mxf converter free download to convert HD camcorder files. ts converter convert ts video files to avi, mp4, wmv, mov mts to avi mp4 mov mkv iMovie, FCP/FCE with mts converter, so to convert mts files for your PC and mobiles. mod converter and convert tod files just free download mod video converter. m2ts
  [ Show thread ] [ Reply to this comment ] [ Mod Up ] [ Mod Down ]

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