OpenBSD as a daily driver

I always like it when I can link to an article written by an OSNews, and this time it’s even relevant to me as I’m exploring OpenBSD myself. OSNews reader and silver Patreon supporter Morgan has written an article about using OpenBSD as a daily driver.

OpenBSD is forever tied in first place with Void Linux as my favorite desktop OS. This is particularly funny because OpenBSD isn’t “just a desktop OS”; in its purest form, the base installation without any installed packages, it makes for an excellent Ethernet router, firewall, or web server. It even ships with its own fork of X11 called Xenocara, along with fvwm2 and its own calm window manager, so there’s a rudimentary desktop OS in there too. With that said, in 2024 there is no such thing as a fully functioning desktop computer or workstation without at least a web browser of some kind, and if you’re adding packages you may as well build a full desktop system to suit your needs.

So how do you go from the amazing but unfortunately limited base install to a “daily driver” workstation operating system? There are many ways to do this, and I will present a couple of paths I take depending on the hardware and use case involved. Before I do that, a bit of prep is necessary to get OpenBSD into more of a desktop OS mode.

↫ Morgan

I’ll be using this guide over the coming days to make sure I end up with something usable. I still haven’t decided on what desktop environment I want to go for – I’m not interested in running GNOME or KDE, so Xfce is probably the most likely option. I’d also love to try out LXQt, but it seems the version OpenBSD has in its repositories is very, very outdated (1.0.0 from years ago, when 2.0.0 was just released). There’s a small chance I might suck it up and use one of those “build your own desktop environment” options, but I have no idea which one I should go for.

Logitech adds ChatGPT to its computer mice

Did you know there’s one surefire way to know when a technology has truly jumped the shark? When they start adding it to computer mice.

In today’s fast-paced, technology-enabled world, everyone is learning to work differently with breakthroughs in Generative AI.

Mastering prompt building enhances your efficiency and creativity. That’s why we developed the Logi AI Prompt Builder, a time and click-saving solution. Rephrase, summarize, and create custom-made prompt recipes with ChatGPT faster, with virtually no disruption to your workflow.

↫ Logitech’s “AI” thing page

Logitech mice users were surprised to find out that after the latest mouse software update, it now contains an “AI” prompt builder tool, so that you can click anywhere and have a little pop-up appear that taps into ChatGPT.

I’m done.

The man who killed Google Search

These emails — which I encourage you to look up — tell a dramatic story about how Google’s finance and advertising teams, led by Raghavan with the blessing of CEO Sundar Pichai, actively worked to make Google worse to make the company more money. This is what I mean when I talk about the Rot Economy — the illogical, product-destroying mindset that turns the products you love into torturous, frustrating quasi-tools that require you to fight the company’s intentions to get the service you want.

↫ Edward Zitron

Quite the read.

Fedora 40 released with KDE Plasma 6 and GNOME 46

It’s a big day for Fedora users such as myself – and especially for Fedora KDE users, also such as myself. Fedora 40 has been released today, and while the main focus is always on the GNOME release – although not everyone is happy about that – the various other spins, in Fedora parlance, have also seen major updates. Most prominently among them is the KDE spin, which ships with KDE’s recent megarelease, KDE Plasma 6.

Starting at the top, Fedora 40 Workstation comes with the latest GNOME release, 46, which we covered when it was released earlier this year. It also comes with IPV4 Address Conflict Detection to resolve duplicate IPV4 addresses in the same physical network, and the PyTorch machine learning framework is now in the Fedora software repositories for easier installation and implementation by developers – a harbinger of what’s to come.

The KDE spin comes, as already mentioned, with KDE Plasma 6, and inherits the non-GNOME improvements and fixes as well, of course. There’s also countless other spins covering pretty much every desktop environment and window manager under the sun, and Fedora 40 is also the first release to implement the new naming scheme for Fedora’s various immutable editions – the Atomic Desktops.

NetBSD 9.4 released

Hot on the heels of NetBSD 10.0 comes NetBSD 9.4, a minor release in the previous release branch.

NetBSD 9.4 is primarily a bug and security fix release, however, there are some new features, such as support for more MegaRAID controllers, ZTE MF112 and D-Link DWM222 USB 3G modems, and improved CPU feature detection for newer AMD/Intel devices. All users of netbsd-9 should upgrade if they are not following the stable branch.

↫ NetBSD 9.4 release announcement

A very important note here is that the version of OpenSSL in NetBSD 9.4 is no longer supported unless you have a support contract with OpenSSL. They suggest upgrading to NetBSD 10.0, or to use OpenSSL from pkgsrc.

Tribblix SPARC milestone 30 released

Tribblix, the unique ilumos distribution – think Solaris – has a new SPARC milestone. It’s one of the few platforms still actively supporting SPARC, so even if the amount of users might be slim, I think it’s an important contribution to the ecosystem.

The application software here roughly corresponds to m34 on x86 systems, although the underlying illumos is still closer to m25/m26. Note that there are no functional illumos changes from the m28 sparc release – if that release didn’t work on your system, this one won’t either.

↫ Peter Tribble

I’m still looking for my mythical, unobtanium Sun Ultra 45, a goal farther away now than it’s ever been (Patreon maybe? One-time donation? Help me out after I took OSNews full-time?), and the SPARC version of Tribblix would be my first go-to.

Making a flute controlled mouse

There is something about surprising interfaces: clapping to switch on lights is more fun than a flipping a switch. Pressing a panic-button to order a pizza is more fun than ordering via an app. Recently I came across this surprising interface: a flute controlled mouse cursor for a first person shooter. I recognize a good idea when I see one, and immediately wanted replicate the idea and make it freely available. So I got to work.

↫ Joren Six

I don’t think I have ever seen something quite so unique.

What we learned inside a North Korean internet server

A misconfigured North Korean Internet cloud server has provided a fascinating glance into the world of North Korean animation outsourcing and how foreign companies might be inadvertently employing North Korean companies on information technology (IT) projects. The incident also underlines how difficult it is for foreign companies to verify their outsourced work is not potentially breaking sanctions and ending up on computers in Pyongyang.

↫ Martyn Williams at 38 North

What an absolutely wild story.

Paying for it doesn’t make it a market

Cory Doctorow, nailing it as usual.

If you care about how people are treated by platforms, you can’t just tell them to pay for services instead of using ad-supported media. The most important factor in getting decent treatment out of a tech company isn’t whether you pay with cash instead of attention – it’s whether you’re locked in, and thus a flight risk whom the platform must cater to.

↫ Cory Doctorow

I’m sick and tired of the phrase “if you’re not paying for the product, you’re the product”, because it implies that if just you pay for a product or service, you’re not going to be treated like ass. The problem is, as Doctorow points out, that this simply is not supported by the evidence, and that it isn’t whether or not you’re paying that makes you have a good or bad experience – it’s whether or not you’re locked in.

If you’ve got nowhere else to go, then corporations can treat you like ass.

There are so, so many free services and products I use where I’m anything but a “product”. My Linux distribution of choice, Fedora. My web browser, Firefox. The countless open source applications I use on my desktops, laptops, and smartphone. Those are all cases where even though I’m not paying, I know I’m being treated with respect, and I feel entirely comfortable with all of those. And no, you don’t get to exclude the open source world just because it’s inconvenient for the “you’re the product” argument.

There are also countless services and products where the opposite is true; I’m a paying customer, but I still feel like I’m the product. I pay for additional Google Drive storage. I pay for an Office 364 subscription because I needed it as a translator (I’m working on OSNews full-time now, and could use your help keeping the site going), but I can’t cancel it because my wife, my parents, and my parents-in-law use that same subscription. We pay for Netflix and one or two other video services. I don’t know if our ISP or wireless provider do anything malicious, but it wouldn’t surprise me. And so on.

Being a paying customer means nothing. It’s how easy it is for you to stop being a customer that matters.

Facebook opens its Android-based Quest operating system to other VR device makers

Today we’re taking the next step toward our vision for a more open computing platform for the metaverse. We’re opening up the operating system powering our Meta Quest devices to third-party hardware makers, giving more choice to consumers and a larger ecosystem for developers to build for. We’re working with leading global technology companies to bring this new ecosystem to life and making it even easier for developers to build apps and reach their audiences on the platform.


Meta Horizon OS is the result of a decade of work by Meta to build a next-generation computing platform. To pioneer standalone headsets, we developed technologies like inside-out tracking, and for more natural interaction systems and social presence, we developed eye, face, hand, and body tracking. For mixed reality, we built a full stack of technologies for blending the digital and physical worlds, including high-resolution Passthrough, Scene Understanding, and Spatial Anchors. This long-term investment that began on the mobile-first foundations of the Android Open Source Project has produced a full mixed reality operating system used by millions of people.

↫ Facebook’s blog

In summary, Facebook wants the operating system of their Quest series of virtual reality devices – an Android Open Source Project fork optimised for this use – to become the default platform for virtual reality devices from all kinds of OEMs. Today, they’re announcing that both Asus and Lenovo will be releasing devices running this Meta Horizon OS, with the former focusing on high-end VR gaming, and the latter on more general use cases of work, entertainment, and so on. Facebook will also be working together with Microsoft to create a Quest “inspired by Xbox”.

The Meta Quest Store, the on-device marketplace for applications and games, will be renamed to the Meta Horizon Store, and the App Lab, where developers can more easily get their applications and games on devices and in the hands of consumers as long as they meet basic technical and content guidelines, will be integrated into the Meta Horizon Store for easier access than before. In addition, in a mildly spicy move, Facebook is openly inviting Google to bring the Google Play Store to the VR Android fork, “where it can operate with the same economic model it does on other platforms”.

The odds of me buying anything from Facebook are slim, so I really hope this new move won’t corner the market for VR headsets right out of the gate; I don’t want another Android/iOS duopoly. I’m not particularly interested in VR quite yet – but give it a few more years, and I certainly won’t pass up on a capable device that allows me to play Beat Saber and other exercise-focused applications and games.

I just don’t want it to be a Facebook device or operating system.

New version of Tiny11 Builder lets you debloat any Windows 11 build or version

The maker of Tiny11, a third-party project that aims to make Windows 11 less bloated with unnecessary parts, released a new version of Tiny11 Builder, a special tool that lets you create a custom Windows 11 image tailored to your needs and preferences. The latest release makes it much easier to create a lightweight Windows 11 ISO without worrying about installing a system modified by unknown third parties.

↫ Taras Buria at Neowin

Perhaps you can make Windows 11 slightly more bearable with this. If there’s any interest from y’all, I could build my own debloated Windows 11 install and see if I can make this platform bearable for myself? Let me know in the comments.

Inside the Super Nintendo cartridges

One of the remarkable characteristics of the Super Nintendo was the ability for game cartridges (cart) to pack more than instructions and assets into ROM chips. If we open and look at the PCBs, we can find inside things like the CIC copy protection chip, SRAM, and even “enhancement processors”.

↫ Fabien Sanglard

When I was a child and teenager in the ’90s, the capabilities of the SNES cartridge were a bit of a legend. We’d talk about what certain games would use which additional processors and chips in the cartridge, right or wrong, often boasting about the games we owned, and talking down the games we didn’t. Much of it was probably nonsense, but there’s some good memories there.

We’re decades deep into the internet age now, and all the mysteries of the SNES cartridge can just be looked up on Wikipedia and endless numbers of other websites. The mystery’s all gone, but at least now we can accurately marvel at just how versatile the SNES really was.

Niri 0.1.5 released

Earlier this year, we talked about Niri, a very unique tiling window manager for Wayland that scrolls infinitely to the right. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and while it seems polarising, I think it’s absolutely worthy of a dedicated niche. The project’s got a major new release out, and there’s a lot of improvements here.

First and foremost, virtually all animations have been overhauled, and new ones have been added for almost every kind of interaction. The videos on the release page do a really good job of highlighting what they’re going for, and I think it looks great, and for the animation-averse, every individual animation can be turned off. Niri now also supports variable refresh rate, and the IPC mechanism has been improved. Among the smaller improvements is a welcome one: when using the touchscreen, the mouse cursor disappears.

I really think this one has to be tried before judged, and I’m seriously contemplating setting up a Wayland environment just for this one, to see if it works for me. My window “flow”, if that makes sense, is already left-to-right, so the idea of having that effectively automated with an infinite canvas sounds very appealing to me, especially on smaller displays. I just need to figure out if it works in reality.

Microsoft now lets you download app executables directly from the Microsoft Store website

Microsoft is on a roll with updating its app store on Windows 10 and 11. Following the recent release of performance upgrades and improved algorithms, the company announced big changes in how the web version of the Microsoft Store works. Now, every user can download app executables directly from the website using new “installers for web.”

↫ Taras Buria at Neowin


Lunatik: a framework for scripting the Linux kernel with Lua

Lunatik is a framework for scripting the Linux kernel with Lua. It is composed by the Lua interpreter modified to run in the kernel; a device driver (written in Lua =)) and a command line tool to load and run scripts and manage runtime environments from the user space; a C API to load and run scripts and manage runtime environments from the kernel; and Lua APIs for binding kernel facilities to Lua scripts.

↫ Lunatik GitHub page

I’m not knowledgeable enough to understand what this might be used for, but I figured y’all would be interested in this.

Miracle-wm 0.2.0 released

Miracle-wm is a Wayland compositor built atop of Mir, and its core is a tiling window manager like i3 and sway. It intends to offer more features compared to those, though, gunning more for swayfx. The project, led by Canonical’s Matthew Kosarek, recently released version 0.2.0, which comes with a bunch of improvements.

It supports sway/i3 IPC now, so that it can function in conjunction with Waybar, a very popular tool in the build-it-yourself Wayland window manager space. There’s also a new feature where individual windows can live on top (Z-axis wise) of the tiling grid, where they work pretty much like regular windows. Another handy addition is that the configuration can be automatically reloaded when you change it.

Miracle-wm comes in a snap package, but rpm and deb will arrive in a few days, as well. As the version number suggest, this project is in heavy development.

Microsoft wants to hide the ‘Sign out’ button in Windows 11 behind a Microsoft 365 ad

Microsoft is not done adding more odd stuff into its operating system. Following the not-so-great reception of new Start menu ads in one of the recent Beta builds, Microsoft is bringing even more ads, which, besides being slightly annoying, come at the cost of existing features. In build 22635.3500, the Sign Out button is now hidden behind a menu with a Microsoft 365 ad.

Microsoft calls the new thing “Account Manager.” In a nutshell, it is a flyout with your existing subscriptions, a Microsoft 365 upsell, and a few account-related notifications, like a prompt to add a backup phone number or enable OneDrive backups. There is now also a link to your Microsoft Account settings.

↫ Taras Buria at Neowin

The beatings will continue until moral improves.

Haiku’s Genio IDE introduces symbol outline feature

Genio, the Haiku OS integrated development environment (IDE), is receiving another exciting update in preparation for the upcoming summer release. The update focuses primarily on improving the Language Server Protocol (LSP) stack and introduces a cool new feature: Symbol Outline.

Symbol Outline allows Genio to retrieve the list of symbols defined in a source file from the language server. This list can be sorted, nodes can be expanded or collapsed, and now a symbol can be renamed directly from there.

Being part of the standard LSP specification, Symbol Outline should be supported by all language servers. The development team has tested it with clangd and OmniSharp.

↫ Andrea at Desktop on fire!

Improvements to tools to develop truly native Haiku applications are exceptionally welcome, if only to prevent Haiku from becoming a worse way than Linux to run Qt applications.

Firefox nightly now available for Linux on ARM64

Linux distributions running on ARM have had to roll their own Firefox builds for the architecture since forever, and it seems that Mozilla has taken this to heart as the browser maker is now supplying binary ARM builds of Firefox. They come in either a tarball or a .deb package installable through Mozilla’s apt repository. Do note, though, that Mozilla does not give the same kinds of guarantees for the ARM build of Firefox as they do for the x86 builds.

We want to be upfront about the current state of our ARM64 builds. Although we are confident in the quality of Firefox on this architecture, we are still incorporating comprehensive ARM64 testing into Firefox’s continuous integration and release pipeline. Our goal is to integrate ARM64 builds into Firefox’s extensive automated test suite, which will enable us to offer this architecture across the beta, release, and ESR channels.

↫ Gabriel Bustamante

These new builds won’t mean much for the average ARM Linux user since distributions built Firefox for the architecture already anyway, but it does offer users a direct line to Firefox they didn’t have before.

Porting 8-bit Sonic 2 to the TI-84+ CE

It all started in fall of 2022, when I was watching This Does Not Compute’s video on the history of graphing calculator gaming. Around the 5 minute mark, he offhandedly mentions the kind of processors TI’s graphing calculator line uses. Most of them use the Z80, the 89 and 92 use the M68K, and the Nspire line uses an ARM-based processor.

That really piqued my interest, since I already knew the processors that Sega’s retro game consoles used: The Z80 for the Master System, and the M68K for the Genesis. The calcs have a grayscale screen, but I wanted to know if anyone ever tried porting a Sonic game from the consoles to one of the calcs.

↫ grubbycoder

Right off the bat, after settling on the most appropriate graphing calculator to try and port Sonic 2 to, namely the TI-84+ CE with a 48Mhz eZ80 processor (“basically a 24-bit Z80”), 256 KB of RAM and a 320×240 display, the porting process runs into some serious roadblocks before any code’s even been written. Unlike the Sega hardware Sonic 2 runs on, the TI-84+ CE has no graphics hardware, the clock speed is effectively crippled at 12-20Mhz, a file format with a size limit of 64KB per file.

The rest of the story details the many difficulties that needed to be overcome, but in the end, the port is completed – and yes, you can now play Sonic 2 from the Master System on a TI graphing calculator.