LiveUSB with OpenBSD - Bootable OpenBSD flashdrive for your keyring


What is LiveUSB-OpenBSD?

It is trivial to a create a bootable USB stick with OpenBSD. I wanted to create one and realized that this will be of general use for anyone who likes a UNIX USB memory stick that they can carry with them on a keychain.

You can now purchase a preloaded LiveUSB flashdrive from Amazon for just 49.95$

If you wish to have LiveCD/LiveDVD instead, please refer to our other LiveCD-OpenBSD project on sourceforge!

Reasons for preferring LiveCD to LiveUSB

  1. It is much easier that way. Boot up the LiveCD after burning an ISO and you can install to a hard drive or USB stick regardless of size
  2. You don't have to know UNIX
  3. The installer has a nice progress bar unlike the plain dd(1) method I describe below
  4. The LiveCD is not as pretty as LiveUSB but it is an intermediate step to obtain LiveUSB

You now have the option of downloading our VMWare appliance and directly run it on Windows with the free VMWare player!

Our sites are featured in Dragonfly Digest.

This USB image shall not touch your hard disk in any way. All the operations are done in the USB stick and main memory. Nothing will be written to your MBR or boot loaders!

Obviously the USB image to install OpenBSD 5.4 in your machine will install to your hard disk! Also remember that these images ignore the size of the USB medium(disk space above 16 Gigabytes is ignored).

  1. USB Install version for 1 Gigabyte which is a USB installer for OpenBSD instead of a CD/DVD medium
  2. Minimal version for 16 Gigabytes without X
  3. Windowmaker version for 16 Gigabytes with X
  4. Gnome version for 16 Gigabytes

Please make your choice, download and enjoy!


Quick Download links


How to create your own LiveUSB with OpenBSD?

Really easy. Watch out. Everything is done with qemu by Fabrice Bellard. Just install that package and blindly follow the instructions below.

                # qemu-img create liveusb-wmaker.img 15625000k

                # qemu-system-i386 -hda liveusb-wmaker.img -cdrom install54.iso


That is it! You are ready to dd(1) now. See below.

Creating a LiveCD is more work because you need a read only OS. No such issue with writeable USB memory sticks.


USB-OpenBSD-Installer for ~ 130 MB

This is an OpenBSD 5.4 install CD/DVD image on a USB stick. You can install OpenBSD 5.4 from a USB memory stick instead of an optical medium like CD/DVD. Have fun!

Remember to follow this process to install the sets from the USB stick. It is little different from installing from optical media. Only the relevant interactions are here. Follow your instinct and use your common sense.


                Let's install the sets!
                Location of sets? (cd disk ftp http or 'done') [cd] disk
                Is the partition already mounted? [no]
                Available disks are: sd0 wd0.
                Which one contains the install media? (or 'done') [sd0]
                Pathname to the sets? (or 'done') [5.4/i386]


LiveUSB-OpenBSD-Minimal for 16 Gigabytes

This is the version for minimalists. It still is way too powerful! There is ONE package for uncompressing the installer p7zip. You can install whichever package you need. OpenBSD base install comes with a fully functional DNS server, HTTP server, web browser, command line download with ftp(1) for HTTP and FTP with resume support and so on...

You can login as user live and password live123 The root password is openbsd1729.


LiveUSB-OpenBSD-Minimal 16 Gigabytes(7zipped ~130 MB)

LiveUSB-OpenBSD-Minimal shot

This is the non Xwindow version for geeks. Though there is no X, it still is way too powerful! Here are the installed packages. You still have pure-ftpd, lftp, curl, mutt, postfix, vim, lua, python, and a whole lot of other stuff!

The packages in LiveUSB-Minimal are

aget-0.4.1          multi threaded HTTP download accelerator
axel-2.4            tiny download accelerator
bing-1.0.5p3        point-to-point bandwidth measurement tool
btpd-0.16           BitTorrent Protocol Daemon
curl-7.26.0p3       get files from FTP, Gopher, HTTP or HTTPS servers
fping-2.4b2p7       quickly ping N hosts w/o flooding the network
hping-2.0.0rc3p2    TCP/UDP ping/traceroute tool
lftp-4.4.5          shell-like command line ftp and sftp client
luasocket-2.0.2p3   network support for the lua language
mpg123-1.15.4       fast console MPEG audio player and decoder library
mpg321-0.3.2        free clone of mpg123, a command-line mp3 player
mutt-1.5.21p4v0-sasl-sidebar-compressed tty-based e-mail client, development version
normalize-0.7.7p0   audio file volume normalizer
p5-Curses-UI-0.9609 curses based user interface framework for Perl
p5-CursesWidgets-1.997p3 curses(3) based terminal widgets
p5-Proc-Daemon-0.14 run perl program as a daemon process
p7zip-9.20.1p0      file archiver with high compression ratio
postfix-2.11.20130710-sasl2 fast, secure sendmail replacement
pure-ftpd-1.0.36p1-virtual_chroot small, easy to set up, fast and very secure FTP server
quirks-1.87         exceptions to pkg_add rules
randtype-1.13       output characters or lines at random intervals
rtorrent-0.8.9p0v0  ncurses BitTorrent client based on libTorrent
sing-1.1p4          send ICMP nasty garbage
socat-1.7.2.2       relay for bidirectional data transfer
sox-14.4.1          Sound eXchange, the Swiss Army knife of audio manipulation
vim-7.3.850-no_x11  vi clone, many additional features
vorbis-tools-1.4.0p0 play, encode, and manage Ogg Vorbis files
wget-1.14p0         retrieve files from the web via HTTP, HTTPS and FTP

You can login as user live and password live123 The root password is openbsd1729.

Download USB image of LiveUSB-OpenBSD-Minimal 7z image from here.


LiveUSB-OpenBSD-Windowmaker 16 Gigabytes (7zipped ~270 MB)

LiveUSB-OpenBSD-Windowmaker shot

I have installed only the most important packages that I required. This does not have firefox browser. I do not need it. If you wish to create your own liveUSB, you can do that of course. You could get in touch with me if you need custom packages.

For now you can make do with this one. This throws up a nice xdm prompt where you can login as user live and password live123. The root password is openbsd1729. The password is three words with two spaces in between.

You only need 16 Gigabytes for this. The packages installed are:

ImageMagick-6.7.7.7p2 image processing tools
colorls-5.3         ls that can use color to display file attributes
curl-7.26.0p3       get files from FTP, Gopher, HTTP or HTTPS servers
ffmpeg-20130319     audio/video converter and streamer
figlet-2.2.5        generates ASCII banner art
firefox-22.0        Mozilla web browser
lftp-4.4.5          shell-like command line ftp and sftp client
mplayer-20130214p4  movie player supporting many formats
osd_clock-0.5p2     xosd based clock
p5-Curses-UI-0.9609 curses based user interface framework for Perl
p5-CursesWidgets-1.997p3 curses(3) based terminal widgets
p5-Proc-Daemon-0.14 run perl program as a daemon process
p7zip-9.20.1p0      file archiver with high compression ratio
postfix-2.10.1-ldap fast, secure sendmail replacement
qemu-1.5.1          multi system emulator
quirks-1.87         exceptions to pkg_add rules
root-tail-1.2p1     tails a given file anywhere on your X11 root window
transcode-1.1.7p3   video stream processing tools
vim-7.3.850-no_x11  vi clone, many additional features
wget-1.14p0         retrieve files from the web via HTTP, HTTPS and FTP
windowmaker-0.92.0p13 window manager that emulates NEXTSTEP(tm)
wmcalclock-1.25p0   wm-dockapp; calendar/clock
wmdate-0.7p2        wm-dockapp; shows the current date
wmmoonclock-1.27p4  wm-dockapp; shows the moon phase
wmtictactoe-1.1.1p1 wm-dockapp; TicTacToe game
wmtimer-2.92p4      wm-dockapp; alarm clock
wmweather-2.4.3p3   wm-dockapp; weather monitor
xosd-2.2.14         displays text on your screen

You can listen to streaming audio or watch videos with mplayer. You have a nice minimal graphical environment with windowmaker. You can read man pages in color. There are several nice things you can do with this minimal OS. Just download the image and try it out.

Download USB image of LiveUSB-OpenBSD-Windowmaker 7z image from here.


LiveUSB-OpenBSD-Gnome 16 Gigabytes (7zipped ~490 MB)

LiveUSB-OpenBSD-Gnome shot

The packages in the Gnome variant are

ImageMagick-6.7.7.7p2 image processing tools
colorls-5.3         ls that can use color to display file attributes
curl-7.26.0p3       get files from FTP, Gopher, HTTP or HTTPS servers
ffmpeg-20130319     audio/video converter and streamer
figlet-2.2.5        generates ASCII banner art
firefox-22.0        Mozilla web browser
gnome-3.8.3p0       GNOME desktop meta-package (base installation)
gnome-extra-3.8.3   GNOME desktop meta-package (full installation)
gnome-session-3.8.2.1p3 GNOME session
lftp-4.4.5          shell-like command line ftp and sftp client
libreoffice-4.0.4.2v0 multi-platform productivity suite
mplayer-20130214p4  movie player supporting many formats
mutt-1.5.21p4v0-sasl-sidebar-compressed tty-based e-mail client, development version
osd_clock-0.5p2     xosd based clock
p5-Curses-UI-0.9609 curses based user interface framework for Perl
p5-CursesWidgets-1.997p3 curses(3) based terminal widgets
p5-Proc-Daemon-0.14 run perl program as a daemon process
p7zip-9.20.1p0      file archiver with high compression ratio
pidgin-2.10.7-gtkspell multi-protocol instant messaging client
postfix-2.11.20130710-sasl2 fast, secure sendmail replacement
qemu-1.5.1          multi system emulator
quirks-1.87         exceptions to pkg_add rules
root-tail-1.2p1     tails a given file anywhere on your X11 root window
transcode-1.1.7p3   video stream processing tools
vim-7.3.850-no_x11  vi clone, many additional features
wget-1.14p0         retrieve files from the web via HTTP, HTTPS and FTP
windowmaker-0.92.0p13 window manager that emulates NEXTSTEP(tm)
wmcalclock-1.25p0   wm-dockapp; calendar/clock
wmdate-0.7p2        wm-dockapp; shows the current date
wmmoonclock-1.27p4  wm-dockapp; shows the moon phase
wmtictactoe-1.1.1p1 wm-dockapp; TicTacToe game
wmtimer-2.92p4      wm-dockapp; alarm clock
wmweather-2.4.3p3   wm-dockapp; weather monitor
xosd-2.2.14         displays text on your screen

You can login as user live and password live123 The root password is openbsd1729.

With this version you can browse the Internet with Mozilla Firefox, chat using pidgin, download youtube videos with yt or youtube-dl and it has several networking tools like nmap, hping, socat and sing thrown in. The repertoire is really interesting.

Download USB image of LiveUSB-OpenBSD-Gnome 7z image from here.


These LiveUSB images are based on 5.4 release of OpenBSD made on November 1,2013.

In all the 3 variants you can always add and remove packages with the pkg_add(1) and pkg_delete(1) commands in case my choices do not agree with yours.

Once you download the 7z image, install p7zip and unzip the USB image.

                Install 7zip if not already present.
                # pkg_add p7zip

                Unzip the downloaded image with this command.
                $ 7z e liveusb-gnome.img.7z

Then verify the SHA1 checksums from the table below.

OpenBSD LiveUSB image zipped image size SHA1 Checksum of 7z image
install54.img 221073892 Bytes 4b261e9ff551cf8fa8e13ffc34ca4abdfb15b578
liveusb-minimal.img 121150189 Bytes b3b3ad42f7c2066162f919cc76ea688d4118b12e
liveusb-wmaker.img 309107211 Bytes 268eefd5ded940cffcecc7ceccde3c20c70fca85
liveusb-gnome.img 2845651977 Bytes 28d93d9d7e68719df24627700f87dd073e26d336


Other LiveUSB projects

LiveUSB-XFCE

LiveUSB-Finance

LiveUSB-Graphics

LiveUSB-Games

LiveUSB-Multimedia

Installing LiveUSB to a USB stick on UNIX/Linux

You can burn this image to a USB stick with this command on OpenBSD

                # dd if=liveusb-gnome.img of=/dev/rsd0c bs=256k

Please be aware that your USB stick could be sd0 .. sdn depending upon in what order you insert into your computer.

You can burn this image to a USB stick with this command on Linux.

                # dd if=liveusb-gnome.img of=/dev/sdb bs=512k

Please check with dmesg and find out whether your stick is identified as sdb or sdc or whatever else.

Once you write the image you can test the USB stick without rebooting the computer with this qemu command on OpenBSD.

                # qemu-system-i386 -usb -hda /dev/rsd0c

Once you find that things work fine you can reboot. You can do something similar on Linux and Windows too.

If you are too lazy to burn it into a USB stick you could run this off a qemu emulator.

                # qemu-system-i386 -hda liveusb-gnome.img

                (If you want full networking you boot with)
        
                # qemu-system-i386 -net nic -net tap -hda liveusb-gnome.img
                

Booting resumes from this point and throws up an xdm screen.

If you wish to have LiveCD/LiveDVD instead, please refer to our other LiveCD-OpenBSD project on sourceforge!

In fact the easiest way to use LiveUSB is by burning the ISO of the sister project LiveCD-OpenBSD and use the LiveUSB that it creates.

Installing LiveUSB to a USB stick on Windows OS

Should you not have access to any UNIX or Linux system you could always use this project to try out OpenBSD by burning to a USB stick from Windows using the free VMWare Player. It is a free download available for those who register on the VMWare website. You also require an ISO image of the LiveCD-OpenBSD project(see above).

Being a GUI tool I am not in a position to detail the process as a bulleted list. However I will guide you briefly and add screenshots when I get time.In case you are curious you could always drop me a mail and I shall respond(mail ID given at bottom of the page).

The idea is to connect to the USB subsystem when you create a new VM and use the downloaded LiveCD-OpenBSD ISO to boot and create a VM which is basically a hard disk image to install the ISO to.

But we instead install to the USB stick. When you create a VM in the final screen you can click at Options and add a USB controller. Then you go to the top menu and Connect to the USB stick in question.

As part of the booting process you will see that OpenBSD actually recognizes the USB stick as yet another hard disk and this happens by disconnecting the stick in the Windows host and connecting it to the OpenBSD guest(this happens automatically).

Now when you run the installer from the CD inside VMWare, you can choose the USB stick instead of the VMWare's hard disk file store as the installer shows the size of the disk to install to. This is bit tricky as my installer does not report the name of the disk. But you should not have much trouble with it. I suggest you always use a VMWare disk image as being very small(since you never use it anyway) like 1G or something and the USB stick you use will be either 4 or 8 Gigabytes. So you can always identify which disk is which from the size reported by the installer. You choose by pressing SPACE bar and then you type TAB followed by ENTER.

Here are screenshots to explain how to install LiveUSB from a Windows machine to a USB stick. If you are familiar with VMWare Player you can go the usual way till the final "Customize Hardware" button and then you have to add the USB controller. Then you can choose to install to USB stick after the CD boots.

VMWare Player LiveUSB

VMWare Player LiveUSB

VMWare Player LiveUSB

VMWare Player LiveUSB

VMWare Player LiveUSB

VMWare Player LiveUSB


For specialized applications there are LiveUSB projects and also their sister LiveCD projects for easier creation of LiveUSB . Some people also would want to use the LiveCD directly without ever going in for USB though that would be of limited use.

  1. LiveUSB-Finance
  2. LiveUSB-Graphic
  3. LiveUSB-Games
  4. LiveUSB-Multimedia
  5. OpenBSD-VPN

If you are on Windows and do not wish to use VMWare Player you can use Win32 disk imager from the Ubuntu project.


All updates are tweeted to twitter https://twitter.com/LiveUSBOpenBSD.

Please e-mail girish@gayatri-hitech.com for anything. This stick and its variants are available for sale on Amazon for just 49.95$.

You can now purchase a preloaded LiveUSB flashdrive from Amazon for just 49.95$