January 3, 2019


Using OpenBSD is wonderful but unfortunately people expect you to use zoom, skype etc… So I am using OpenBSD’s hypervisor to run ubuntu linux.

The following steps are trivial if you read the documentation. This is meant as a summary for myself.

First, the hypervisor is not meant to run anything else than the OpenBSD operating system. But you can get it to work with some of the GNU/Linux versions.

This is what I am doing:

Edit sysctl.conf

# cat >> /etc/sysctl.conf <<-__EOF__

Enable them on the running session:

# sysctl net.inet.ip.forwarding=1
# sysctl net.inet6.ip6.forwarding=1

Change your pf rules:

# cat > /etc/pf.conf <<-__EOF__
# from vm faq at https://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq16.html#VMMnet
match out on egress from to any nat-to (egress)
pass in proto { udp tcp } from to any port domain rdr-to port domain

If you want to use as your vm network, you need to set up a bridge in vm.conf (with veb0/vport0) and run dhcpd to assign addresses. It’s pretty well documented in the manpages and FAQ.

Enable vmd, and start it as well:

# rcctl enable vmd
# rcctl start vmd
# fw_update

Grab an ubuntu mini.iso from wherever you can.

Make a new virtual disk image,

$ vmctl create -s 30G ubuntu.img

Boot it (login root, no passwd):

# vmctl start -c -m 8G -L -i 1 -r mini.iso -d ubuntu.img ubuntu

At the boot screen, press TAB to edit the grub options, If there’s a “quiet”, delete that and add:


on the line shown. Hit enter and install.

When your install is done,

# poweroff

Boot it,

# vmctl start -c -m 8G -L -i 1 -d ubuntu.img ubuntu

Install ssh

$ sudo apt install openssh-server

You will need a lot of X11 libraries etc which do not come with the mini.iso, so what I am doing, which is an overkill, is to install a light desktop

$ sudo apt install lubuntu-desktop

To ssh into your vm, first find out the ip via

$ ip a

You can ssh into your new vm without password by generating a new key

You need to add the pub key to /home/pau/.ssh/authorized_keys in the vm.

What I do is to start the vm and then create that file with vim and paste the pub content into it.

Now you can run a similar script to this one to ssh into the vm (which is more stable than the vm console)

aemonius(p5)| cat bin/ssh_vm_ubuntu.sh 
ssh -Y -i /home/pau/fitx_confg/ssh/id_rsa_nopass pau@

That’s it.

What I do to start a program from cwm is, for instance, the following:

In cwmrc I have the line

# For signal, we use the vm with ubuntu
bind-key 4-s /home/pau/bin/signal_vm.sh

With the script this one:

aemonius(p4)| cat bin/signal_vm.sh 

status="$(vmctl status ubuntu | grep running)"
[[ "$status" == "" ]] && {
    sleep 10

ssh -Y -i /home/pau/fitx_confg/ssh/id_rsa_no_passwd \
          pau@ signal-desktop \
          &> /dev/null

And the script

aemonius(p4)| cat bin/vm_start_ubuntu.sh

doas vmctl start -m 8G -L -i 1 -d $PWD/ubuntu.img ubuntu

For this, you need to add the following line to doas.conf

permit nopass pau as root cmd vmctl