Arch vs OpenBSD logp

Comparison between OpenBSD and Arch Linux

I seems to me that philosophy of Arch Linux is similar to OpenBSD in many ways. I have not used Arch to a large extent so these thoughts is mostly based on available documentation.

If I would need to go to Linux for some reason I would really check out Arch first.


  • Minimalistic base installs
  • Similar package system with support for both precompiled packages and compilation from source. Good dependency handling.
  • Package installs does not activate/configure services automatically. A “user-centric” “do-it-yourself” approach is used.
  • OS and service configuration is performed in /etc/rc.conf. OpenBSD have moved some configuration to separate files e.g. for network configuration. FreeBSD still keeps most configuration in /etc/rc.conf.
  • BSD style rc.d based init are used.
  • Rolling release schedule similar to “following current” on OpenBSD. OpenBSD does however create releases (with extended testing and support) twice yearly which are recommended for most users.
  • Focus on great documentation. OpenBSD man pages are probably a few notches better than Arch.
  • Simplicity of functionality and implementation and minimalism.
  • Flexibility. Because all services are configured explicitly by the user the system may be configured with much freedom. For instance neither OS provide a default window manager.


  • Completely different kernel and legacy. Arch is based on Linux kernel and OpenBSD is based on BSD 4.4 architecture.
  • OpenBSD support many hardware architectures while Arch mainly focus on i686 and x86-64.
  • Arch support a larger number (30000 vs 7000) of packages.
  • Arch aim to deliver bleeding edge version of software packages. OpenBSD has higher focus on reliability.
  • OpenBSD main focus is security and correctness.