OpenBSD 5.5 / KDE 4 desktop / post-install notes

OpenBSD 5.5 (amd64) / KDE 4.11 desktop – Quick post-install notes

Disclaimer : These notes are only tested on OpenBSD 5.5 and may not be valid for ulterior releases.


Hardware configuration

  • MSI B75MA-E33 motherboard with Pentium G2020
  • 2 x 2Gb RAM
  • Integrated GPU, no additional graphics card used
  • 1 x SATA HDD


Follow the official FAQ at

Post-install configuration

First, patch your newly installed system against known software bugs and vulnerabilities!

Set mirror for binary packages :

$ su -
# echo >>.profile "export PKG_PATH="


(french mirror here, adapt yours)

Install minimal KDE and some programs (adapt your l10n locale)

# pkg_add -v kde4-minimal kde-l10n-fr kdeplasma-addons gwenview vlc phonon-vlc mplayer kdegraphics-thumbnailers ffmpegthumbs upower

(problematic packages: yakuake : will not install with kde4 in this release)

Recommended by the install process :

sysctl kern.shminfo.shmall=51200 kern.shminfo.shmmni=1024

(Remember to save those values in /etc/sysctl.conf after successful testing)

$ less /usr/local/share/doc/pkg-readmes/kde4-minimal-4.11.5p1

# vi /etc/rc.conf.local

ntpd_flags=             # enabled during install
xdm_flags=NO            # enabled during install
# enable KDM at boot instead of XDM
pkg_scripts="$pkg_scripts dbus_daemon kdm"

No sound in KDE? (remark: no hardware audio will be listed in system settings > multimedia)
solution : pkg_add -v kde4
(installs full KDE SC and sound-related packages)

Up the default sound volume if needed

$ man mixerctl
# vi /etc/mixerctl.conf

Install other useful software packages : Firefox (ESR version) and Thunderbird

# pkg_add -v firefox-esr firefox-esr-i18n-fr thunderbird thunderbird-i18n-fr

HTML5 videos (WebM VP8 only in Firefox ESR 24)/sounds will work great in Firefox. For other sites (dailymotion, vimeo…) you can use the add-on ( )
(gnash is in the packages but does not work well)

Firefox dumps core? Tweaks are needed under OpenBSD, regarding memory allocation for programs, and Firefox (among others) is very memory hungry 🙂

$ ulimit -a

Will show current values.

Increase values in /etc/login.conf, in the “staff” section :

(man login.conf; man ksh for more info on the ulimit builtin command)

For example, my “staff” section values (my system has 4Gb of RAM) :

# Staff have fewer restrictions and can login even when nologins are set.

Updated binary packages by, follow instructions at :


Other tips & tricks

Lock KDE and suspend/hibernate, via command line :

$ qdbus org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver /ScreenSaver Lock && zzz
(or ZZZ for hibernate)

It’s easy to setup a hotkey with this command line, in system-settings.

More info on apmd (power management daemon in OpenBSD)

$ man apmd

Filesystem optimizations :

$ man mount

append the “noatime,softdep” filesystem options to your mounting points (except for the swap partition of course) in /etc/fstab, eg. :


YOURDISKUID.k /home ffs rw,nodev,nosuid,noatime,softdep 1 2

TODO : /tmp in ram
man mount_tmpfs


4 thoughts on “OpenBSD 5.5 / KDE 4 desktop / post-install notes

  1. Thanks for this excellent tutorial! I ran into a few problems though 🙂

    First, I cannot get any audio devices to show up, even with ‘kde4’ installed. The kernel detects my audio devices correctly (onboard chip and USB headphones).

    Second, I cannot get power management to work. ‘upower’ is installed and dbus is running.

    Did you run into similar issues, and do you have any advice?

    • Hi!

      OpenBSD 5.6 is out in a few days, I’ll do another small guide so everything will be fresh in my memory! (I haven’t used my OpenBSD 5.5 since a month, it’s hard not to return to Linux!)

      Stay tuned!

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