. '). /;(( .'____`. | g | create | a | something | r | worth | bash | rewriting `-____-'
The first code I ever wrote was written in AutoHotKey. It's a scripting language for Windows. It's object is simple: allow users to automate the boring stuff. I abused the language and built GUI programs with it. I wouldn't recommend it but here we are.
I was in IT. Most of my time was spent setting up servers, installing printers, or practicing my patience while debugging over the phone with customers. There was a lot of boring stuff waiting to be automated. I'm grateful I got my start writing code during that time, but I also got to spend a lot of time playing sys admin.
My terminal adventures mostly consisted of me stumbling my way through commands I didn't understand. No one ever told me about
man. I barely knew what Linux was and OpenBSD could have been something that NASA used to keep astronauts alive in space.
My friend Alex and I have started exploring our very own tilde community. We named it garbash because of a joke that was made in a PR to fix some of our bash scripts at Monthly. It's our tiny own space on the internet to play on the web like the days of old. We have our own git, IRC, email, and web servers.
It's given me a chance to connect with my past in a way I didn't expect. I'm no longer wrestling printer drivers or battling the bugs within my AutoHotKey fax management software. Instead, Alex and I are pair programming and configuring software that is open and free.
One great thing about OpenBSD is that the source code is publicly available. All of the source is in one repo. It's even available for online perusing.
If you want to build from the source files, you can clone their publicly available code to your machine! OpenBSD expects everything to live in
/usr/src which is where the source code lives the garbash server.
Let's take a look inside
$ ls -lah /usr/src total 120 drwxrwxr-x 16 root wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:49 . drwxr-xr-x 16 root wheel 512B Sep 21 21:07 .. -rw-r--r-- 1 alex wsrc 39B Sep 22 00:47 .git -rw-r--r-- 1 alex wsrc 7B Sep 22 00:47 .gitignore -rw-r--r-- 1 alex wsrc 3.6K Sep 22 00:47 Makefile -rw-r--r-- 1 alex wsrc 15.7K Sep 22 00:47 Makefile.cross drwxr-xr-x 32 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:47 bin drwxr-xr-x 21 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:47 distrib drwxr-xr-x 26 alex wsrc 1.5K Sep 22 00:47 etc drwxr-xr-x 43 alex wsrc 1.0K Sep 22 00:47 games drwxr-xr-x 8 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:48 gnu drwxr-xr-x 6 alex wsrc 2.0K Sep 22 00:48 include drwxr-xr-x 37 alex wsrc 1.0K Sep 22 00:48 lib drwxr-xr-x 29 alex wsrc 1.0K Sep 22 00:48 libexec drwxr-xr-x 13 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:48 regress drwxr-xr-x 68 alex wsrc 1.5K Sep 22 00:48 sbin drwxr-xr-x 12 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:48 share drwxr-xr-x 25 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:49 sys drwxr-xr-x 208 alex wsrc 3.5K Sep 22 00:49 usr.bin drwxr-xr-x 147 alex wsrc 2.5K Sep 22 00:49 usr.sbin
All of that source code just waiting to be built. If we take a look inside the
bin directory, there might be some familiar names.
$ ls -lah /usr/src/bin total 136 drwxr-xr-x 32 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:47 . drwxrwxr-x 16 root wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:49 .. -rw-r--r-- 1 alex wsrc 241B Sep 22 00:47 Makefile -rw-r--r-- 1 alex wsrc 145B Sep 22 00:47 Makefile.inc drwxr-xr-x 2 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:47 cat drwxr-xr-x 2 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:47 chio drwxr-xr-x 2 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:47 chmod drwxr-xr-x 2 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:47 cp drwxr-xr-x 3 alex wsrc 1.0K Sep 22 00:47 csh drwxr-xr-x 2 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:47 date drwxr-xr-x 2 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:47 dd drwxr-xr-x 2 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:47 df drwxr-xr-x 2 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:47 domainname drwxr-xr-x 2 alex wsrc 512B Sep 22 00:47 echo ... and so much more!
cat appears! I can literally use
cat to read the code that compiles to make
cat /usr/src/bin/cat/cat.c). If you wanted to, you could rewrite
cat in anyway you please and rebuild the program. If you feel up to it, you can build an OpenBSD release from source. Alex wrote a great post about doing out-of-tree builds on OpenBSD. It's recommended reading if you're looking for something a little more technical.
There are a lot of other cool things about OpenBSD. They provide full source access, provide an incredibly generous approach to licensing, want to be the most secure operating system, and more.
A few years ago, when I was still doing IT, I took a lot of it for granted. I looked at programming as my way out. I was looking at it from the wrong angle back then. My focus was completing tasks for work. I learned what I needed to to make it through my day.
Today, I'm an explorer. More akin to John Carmack than Jacques Cousteau but you know what I mean. I don't want to be a sys admin, but building from source? Sign me up!