OpenBSD Journal

OpenBSD GUI Installer Project

Contributed by jose on from the widgets-and-pull-downs dept.

While looking around for projects aimed at making the installation process easier , a friend pointed me at The [G.O.B.I.E.] Project . As it says on their website:
The main goal of the [G.O.BI.E.] is to add a graphical installation of the famous OS OpenBSD. This project has been developed in the spirit of OpenBSD which means that the installation is as close as possible as the text one.
I haven't run this yet myself, but this project looks like a pretty good effort to make the text only installer easier for new users.

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Anonymous Coward () on

    OpenBSD is easy to install! Why wasting your time with a GUI? It look linuxish! Sorry, but i'll not use it.

  2. By Volker Kindermann () on

    Sorry folks, but I cannot follow the "OpenBSD is hard to install" songs. I'm intalling quite regular OpenBSD, FreeBSD, Linux and sometimes Windows (Win2k) Systems and OpenBSD is the easiest and fastest amoung them.
    What is so hard in installing OpenBSD???

  3. By Anonymous Coward () on

    How much easier can it get?? Maybe they should
    work on a warm-fuzzy interface to fdisk/disklabel
    instead. That seems to be the most common

  4. By Shane J Pearson () on

    Jeez, I hope the OpenBSD crew don't standardize on this!

    I would have to start putting video cards into my OpenBSD machines!

    A noble effort, but it will be largely ignored. People who want touchy feely open source firewalls probably should stick to Mandrake [bletch].

  5. By Dan () on

    I know, many would disagree with me, BUT, the more users - more testing, more programmers, more ports, more help on mailing lists, _more money for the core team_.
    GUI install will attract more users to move from linux to BSD.

  6. By Gawd () on

    Personally, I find OpenBSD to be the easiest OS i've ever installed! For newbies, they only think it's hard cause they hate reading, but...
    (Once one understands it, it couldn't be easier!)

    I think this GUI looks damn awesome I have to admit. I think having that as an 'option' in the base, this would attract a lot of new people and at the same time help promote OpenBSD & Sales!

    Personally, I've always hated GUI based installers but this makes OpenBSD not look so primative to newbies, or people accustomed to Windows/RedHat.

  7. By RC () on

    I agree with just about everyone, that the text installer is as user-friendly as it needs to get.

    However, looking at the screenshots gave me an idea. It looks like a nice interface and all that, why not change it just a little, into a GUI OpenBSD system administration/configuration utility?

    Now THAT is the kind of thing that will help out beginners.

    That's not the OpenBSD isn't simple enough to configure, especially when compared to Linux or even FreeBSD.

  8. By francisco () on

    1. Easier/Nicer/Prettier install will attract more users due to its ease of use and eye candy.
    2. These users will be prone to not reading docs since they are looking for easy solutions.
    3. Since they are looking for easy solutions they will bombard the lists with questions that are already answered in the FAQ.
    4. Therefore, the install should:
      1. Present the users with all the information in the FAQ, afterboot(8), etc.
      2. Quiz the users on the information before allowing the install to continue.

    This will help ensure that the level of competence grows along with the user base, and hopefully help keep down the level of redundancy on the lists.

    Has anyone seen my orange juice? I had it before i rebooted...

  9. By tack () tack atttt dontIncludeThis moreToStripOut angers on mailto:tack atttt dontIncludeThis moreToStripOut angers

    I was a devout Linux user for years until I decided to use OpenBSD on my newest frankenrouter. The part that won me over is the fact that when I told OpenBSD not to install a GUI, it didn't install a GUI. The only way I know of in Linux to not have the GUI installed is to build it from scratch, or keep a keen eye on an ALFS derivative (which is no fun either). No matter what you tell a distro installer, it ALWAYS installs xfree. Thoughts of xfree backchannel attacks keep me up at night. OpenBSD has the only bullshit-free installer I've ever encountered in my 22 years of computing.

    Newbies lead to install frustration. Install frustration leads to GUI installs. GUI installers lead to GUIs being installed be default. GUIs as default leads to SUFFERINGGGGGGG. (what master yoda would say were he a sysadmin)

  10. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Why OpenBSD shouldn't be as popular as others?
    If it is the best audited OS, we know it is,
    why not attract it to wider audience? I belive
    OpenBSD team will continue to keep it the best,
    so let others to make some more marketing.
    Peace Nobel Price for Theo and OpenBSD team
    and satisfaction and pride for other
    OpenBSD lovers.

  11. By Isak Lyberth () on

    The fdisk program is out of my league, so i hope that they will make that a little easyer

  12. By OH MY GOD () on

    This is not a way to spend the hours.
    I think it is EASY to install OBSD today.
    Last time I needed to do it was in a hurry and
    got surprised how easy it was.

    The only thing I really had wanted is to backup
    the partitioning information somehow and to
    be able to batch-partitioning easy from the

    This would make a good restore-install-feature.
    Textbase of course.
    I never have a mouse connected to my servers anyway.

  13. By spek () on

    I think that a more useful thing would be to be able to install a GUI from the initial installer. As it is, it is impossible to finish the install, boot, login, type 'startx' and see anything but a whole mess of error messages. Honestly, I find it kind of difficult to get something like GNOME or KDE working on would be nice to have OBSD people help out (a little more than ports/packages --it is not at all obvious how to go about installing such a huge thing from there) since Ximian and KDE don't release BSD packages. I never really had any trouble with the install itself. Really, it's quite good. Minimal, simple, powerful. Very well documented and explained. My only problem with it (aside from the above) is that the help commands for disklabel go off the screen when you type '?' to list them. I can get over that. Otherwise, I think it would be nice to see an installer that would let me install packages like GNOME (and possibly other packages from the beginning...although most are quite easy to install b/c there is a single .tgz to install).

    maybe if someone has found a very easy way to install GNOME on OpenBSD, they could offer up some help to the community.

  14. By zil0g () on

    I too thought it was hard to use, the fdisk/disklabel part, and it was the first text installer encounter for me :)
    I thought, "bu.. wait a mo... didn't I just fix the disk..?" other than that it was very straight forward and the mail and afterboot(8) all rocket-jump you into it, along with the FAQ pages etc...

    so, me thinking it was 'hard' or confusing was because 'slices' 'disklabel' and counting in sectors and stuff was new to me at the time, hardly the fault of OpenBSD.
    now I just installed a laptop, took 11 min and I was logged in to a 'full' install configuring X :)
    and NO please DON'T add gnome.tgz to base install options, X is the last place I (and I boldly pressume, you) use it for. it's a server/bridge/fw/etc !
    keep it simple damnit.

  15. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Don't get me wrong, the thing looks quite nice. But to be honest, I definitely don't wan't to use such a type of installer on OpenBSD. The install script we have suits the job perfectly.

    This thing seems to be aimed at the less experienced user, which begs the question whether such a user should be installing OpenBSD himself at all?!

    Oh, btw, are's usage statistic pages ( supposed to be world readable? Just curious.

  16. By Chris () on

    Reading the comments I see just one positive response to this neat *alternative* to the text installer - and plenty of belligerent complaints. What a bunch of carpers! I'm sorry if this is step in the direction that makes OpenBSD no longer the preserve of l33t firewall admins and smug technocrats, but many of us do use OpenBSD on the desktop, and this installer may entice more people to try it in that context.

    Granted it isn't going to work on all architectures or configurations that OpenBSD supports, but there again someone installing it on a Vax isn't likely to find the text installer a hindrance ...

    So stop bitching about an impressive little project like this one - I'm pretty sure most of you couldn't code your way out of a paper bag. But perhaps that's a mark of OpenBSD's increased popularity, that the standard of comments on OBJ have descended to the Slashdot level.

  17. By Theodore TOURY () on

    we spend a lot of time on this project
    i am complety aware that the text install is exellent
    but i repeat, this project was done in a school context, so we coded it for learning first, not for creating a usefull gui
    i no longer hope that it will be heavily used but the project is coded so what can i do ? :
    rm -rf /gobie
    come on i don't think so
    i understand that gui is against some of your goals but i repeat the main goal of this program was to learn
    you can say we could have done somethink more usefull but remember that we do not have a 10 years experience in code auditing
    i do not have the skills for doing some code in kerneland
    anyway, you should see the positive aspect of this project.
    for me if this program helps only one user, i will be happy
    you should not care if somebody use it
    just for finish i want to say that the program is not released yet so don't panic
    and no i never used linux or some crap like this
    i do not want to transform openbsd into linux
    Theodore TOURY

  18. By Anonymous Coward () on

    The installer is fine as it is, BUT... humans count in [mega|giga]bytes, not in cylinders. That's the only part that needs fixing.

  19. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Debates about GUI/Text aside, from the screen shots it looks like you can back up in the process. Decide to change your IP address from dhcp to static in the current install after you have gone through that part initially? You drop in to a shell and manually change things, but what gets configured in etc? It looks like you could go back and redo your partition layout. Now, wit the current installer, you wnat to go back, you kill the installation and start over, waiting for the disk to get fsckd.

    One thing I would look at adding is a summary file, written locally or mailed to where ever of the config options chosen. I've seen times on misc@ where the answer was "you didn't install one of the sets during the install".

    And be the first installer to ask "shall I mail a dmesg to OpenBSD when we reboot?" Come on now, how many of you do that each time you install on a machine?

    The only problem I can see is if using this installer ends up with a different system than using the default text one. Imagine on misc@ "I can't get foobar to work; which install did you use? THE GUI! GET LOST! You probably compiled your own kernel as well."

  20. By Miod Vallat () on

    From the above comments, a lot of people are missing the point here.

    It is not about replacing the current installer with some fancy graphical installer.

    It is about choice.

    If, for whatever reason, people feel uncomfortable with the current, text-mode, installer, then they can use gobie and have (almost exactly) the same procedure in a friendler way, and install the same *31.tgz sets as everyone. That will not prevent anyone from using the regular installation media if this is what they prefer.

    Come on, installing is something you are only doing once in the life of a computer (unless severe hardware damage).

  21. By Andrew () on

    Why is it that every time something that isn't considered "hard-core" by the wanna-be UNIX sloth types is announced they get their ginch in an uproar and s*$t all over it.

    The fact is that OpenBSD is meant to be used by everyone that wants to use it. To that end, if something like a GUI installer comes along that will bring more users to OpenBSD or add functionality in some way, it should be applauded.

    Instead, people jump on the announcement like it is the signal of the beginning of the project's downfall. That's really, really sad.

    I don't think "get over it" will do, seems that "get over yourselves" is more appropriate.


  22. By Jeff Flowers () on

    once you get past fdisk and slice creation. (I'm sorry but I feel that portion of the OpenBSD install is harder to do then it needs to be.)

    Dispite my opinion, however, I don't think that the fdisk/slice portion of the install should be rewritten simply to attract new users. If OpenBSD was a commercial OS, I might agree but it isn't.

  23. By Anonymous Coward () on

    If you are going to offer this as an ISO, why not add a ram-disk based kernel that could function as a boot-to-usable system?

    I had to overwrite another operating system on my work laptop to use during a 3 day class, and had to go back to get full support for applications I have to use during work. Not enough time to figure out dual booting, and partition resizing, but if I could have just booted a ramdisk based ISO I could have saved time afterward.

    Has anyone documented the differences between bsd.rd and what a normal kernel can do?

  24. By Anonymous Coward () on

    I prefer an installer closer to the SunOS 4.1.x spirit, I don't think I'm gonna like it, I wonder what theo and neil think about that.

  25. By Anonymous Coward () on

    I hope they realise that "gobie" is Aussie slang for oral sex.

  26. By Anonymous Coward () on

    There are many comments at on this installer.

    One of the most prominent is, why is Gobie (illegally) using Be and Windows icons?

  27. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Listen, I'm not going to use it, but then I think a serial console is more than adequate for what I need. OpenBSD is very easy to install in most cases, except my old ThinkPad where I had to remove the extra memory then put the memory back in after I had installed. If this helps more people install OpenBSD, great. That's good for everyone. I don't think you'll be seeing this in -current, but at least it available. Nice job and keep up the good work. Why don't you add gui configuration for pf, and make it really easy to add some simple default rules that home users need. That would help a lot of less experienced users.

  28. By Torque () on

    I don't see any project that educates those undertaking it, and that can provide value to some users as a waste of time.

    These guys worked hard on something they thought was a good idea. They learned, and produced something that will help some folks out.

    Just because they have not spent this time on your pet project, you should be unkind to their work? If you have a pet project that needs work, work on it yourself, or ask others nicely. It's your pet, after all.

    Good work guys!! Keep the ideas and the hard work coming. You embody the spirit of free software far better than your detractors.

  29. By BokLM () on

    I saw the GOOBIE screenshots one the web site and this installer looks really good !
    I don't understand why some people don't want of this project. No one said this would replace the text mode installer, if you're computer don't support or if you don't like gui then you can still use the textmode install. But as long as the GUI stay as close as the text one, why not allow people to choose ?

    Some people use OpenBSD on their desktop computer, so why not a graphical installation ?

  30. By Anonymous Coward () on

    It's a bit off the topic, however, a more modular installation is what we need, so that not everything is dumped into the system thru "base" package.

    If those folks really have so much time to make pictures they may use the time to do sth more useful.

  31. By root man () on

    The ability to install with text only is one of the main things that makes OBSD and Netbsd useful for real servers.

    I need machines to be able to function headless. In fact the current install should open up (documented) consoles on all serial ports identified so video or realweasel cards are not needed.

    If OBSD ever moves away from a text only install I will stop using it.

  32. By Anonymous Coward () on

    It would be nice to see OpenBSD split into two OS projects such as OpenBSD Server and OpenBSD Desktop. Both types of OSs have radically different goals and no OS I've seen can do both equally well.

  33. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Forget the graphical crap. I'd like to see a curses-based installer, similar to FreeBSD or Debian. I agree with the fdisk and disklabel comments. The installer is very easy to use, except when it comes to partitioning, IMO.


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