Randomness

The ability to provide random data (or entropy) is important whenever you generate keys for a VPN or a digital certificate, say for your Apache web server running SSL. Keys and certificates require a random "seed" to ensure the new key or certificate is not mathematically similar to previous keys or certificates.

Each of the BSDs has the ability to continually collect entropy so random data is available as needed. FreeBSD and OpenBSD use random(4) whereas NetBSD uses rnd(4). FreeBSD's implementation provides several sysctl MIBs and is based on Bruce Schneier's Yarrow algorithm. Bruce is also the author of the Blowfish algorithm.

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