BowlFish is a customized OpenBSD installation script for embedded systems. It is intended to make OpenBSD fit into the small media (e.g. compact flash cards) that typically come together with embedded systems, like Soekris and WRAP boards.

It will install a stripped-down version of OpenBSD (smaller than 25MB) with full network support, including sshd(8), pf(4), ospfd(8), bgpd(8), ripd(8), isakmpd(8), ntpd(8), syslogd(8) and much more.

The installation is deeply customizable to suit your specific needs: you can easily remove anything you don't need or add files from both standard and user-created file sets.

The installation procedure is very similar to the standard, text-based, OpenBSD installation: this should make it look more friendly and allows you to almost fully configure the system at installation time. You will be prompted for any information that BowlFish can't detect automatically, thus avoiding you to deal with script internals or to edit it manually.

BowlFish is based upon flashdist by Chris Cappuccio and the OpenBSD install scripts.


Aug 06, 2011
BowlFish 2.1 released, with few minor fixes and updated to OpenBSD 4.9!
Jun 20, 2010
BowlFish 2.0 released, updated to OpenBSD 4.7!
May 19, 2009
OpenBSD 4.7 released, adding support for new platforms and hardware (including SCSI multipath), major changes in pf(4), various network stack improvements and much more!
Nov 18, 2009
BowlFish 1.9 released, updated to OpenBSD 4.6 ...and its new installer!
Oct 18, 2009
OpenBSD 4.6 released, with a mostly rewritten installer, the brand new smtpd(8) daemon and lots of improvements in the network stack, packet filtering and hardware support!
May 3, 2009
BowlFish 1.8 released, updated to OpenBSD 4.5!
May 1, 2009
OpenBSD 4.5 released, with the usual steady improvements in hardware support, new tools (including ypldap(8) and xcompmgr(1)), new functionality, over 5500 ports and much more!
Nov 7, 2008
BowlFish 1.7 released, updated to OpenBSD 4.4!
Nov 1, 2008
OpenBSD 4.4 released, introducing lots of improvements in pf(4), a more efficient buffer cache subsystem, a new version of malloc(3), crypto support for softraid, redundant dhcpd(8) and much more!
Jun 2, 2008
BowlFish 1.6 released, updated to OpenBSD 4.3!
May 1, 2008
OpenBSD 4.3 released, featuring the brand new snmpd(8) daemon, increased performance for flash drives, improved hardware support and over 4900 ports!
Nov 22, 2007
BowlFish 1.5 released, updated to OpenBSD 4.2 and now allowing the specification of the time zone during the installation (thanks to Jos Jansen for the suggestion!)
Nov 1, 2007
OpenBSD 4.2 released, featuring, among other things: FFS2, the updated version of the fast file system, IP load balancing in carp(4) and over 4500 ports, including Apache 2 and Tomcat!
May 19, 2007
BowlFish 1.4 released, updated to OpenBSD 4.1!
May 1, 2007
OpenBSD 4.1 released, featuring new tools (hoststated(8), ripd(8), bgplgsh(8), etc.), new platforms (landisk and sparc64) and over 4200 ports (including, NetBeans 5.5 and Fedora Core libraries for Linux emulation)!
Nov 13, 2006
BowlFish 1.3 released, updated to OpenBSD 4.0 and now stripping shared libraries to save space!
Nov 1, 2006
OpenBSD 4.0 released, with improved IPsec functionality, better failover handling in carp(4), new functionality for hostapd(8) ...and much more!
Sep 4, 2006
BowlFish 1.2 released! Besides the usual update changes and bug fixing, it introduces gpio(4) support: now you can use gpioctl(8) to have fun with LEDs and LCD displays!
May 1, 2006
OpenBSD 3.9 released, with the usual improvements in tools, functionality and hardware support ...and blob-free!
Mar 25, 2006
BowlFish 1.1 relased! A few bugs have been fixed in the scripts, allowing for a simpler and more flexible installation procedure.
Nov 19, 2005
BowlFish 1.0 relased!
Nov 1, 2005
OpenBSD 3.8 released, with improved hardware support, new features, new tools (e.g. ipsecctl(8), hostapd(8), ifstated(8), watchdogd(8)) and over 3200 ports!


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