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Home BOINC News Dotsch/UX - A USB/Diskless/Harddisk BOINC Ubuntu Linux Distribution

Dotsch/UX - A USB/Diskless/Harddisk BOINC Ubuntu Linux Distribution

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Screenshot of the new Dotsch/UX BOINC Linux distributionDotsch/UX a Linux distribution, based on Ubuntu Linux is now avalable at http://www.dotsch.de/Dotsch_UX.
The purpose is to make a Linux distribution for BOINC which easily installs and boot from a USB stick, hard disk and
from diskless clients and also has some interfaces to setup the diskless server and the clients automatically.
Features & Facts :

 • Small memory usage : The OS requires about 64 MB plus the memory for the BOINC client and BOINC science
   application. The graphical GNOME desktop requires about 128 MB more. - In general the memory depends strongly
    on the project(s) you would like to crunch...
    Recommended minimum 128 MB for diskless, HDD and USB Stick based systems and 256 MB for disksless servers.
 • Small disk usage : The distribution fits on a 1 GB USB stick, but 2 GB would be good for multi BOINC project
   crunching. The HDD installation requires about 2.5 GB, and the diskless server requires 1.5 GB plus 1.5 GB for
    each diskless client you would add.
 • Easy installation : The OS could be easily installed by several included tools on a USB stick, hard disk, and
    setup as server for diskless clients.
 • Server for Diskless clients : The server and diskless clients could easily installed with several included tools. Only
    the main configuration parameters must be specified, the diskless server and clients installs automatically. 

 • Additional proxy server : Preconfigured proxy server, which allows to separate the BOINC USB, diskless and
    HDD systems in an isolated network, and communicate through the proxy server with the science project
 • Ubuntu based : As Dotsch/UX is based on Ubuntu, you can also install additional Ubuntu packages or update to
    your USB/HDD/Diskless systems.
 • BOINC Client : The BOINC client 6.2.15 comes pre installed and would be started as daemon and would be
    monitored and keept alive from this daemon
 • Graphical Desktop and text console : If you like, you can choose between the text console (for lower memory
    requirements) or the graphical GNOME Desktop.
 • SSH : ssh login per default preconfigured.
Download : http://www.dotsch.de/boinc/Dotsch_UX.html
Screenshots : 

Screenshot of the new Dotsch/UX a Linux distribution
1. Introduction
1.1 USB Diskless
Dotsch/UX can be installed by a few steps on a USB stick. Minimum USB Stick size 1 GB, recommended 2 GB.
The installation requires about 500 MB for the OS Image, a second image on the USB stick (about 200..500 MB) for OS changes, OS updates and your data, plus a separate image (recommended 500 to 1 GB) for the BOINC installation.
The size of the BOINC image depends strongly on the BOINC projects you would crunch !
The data will been immediately written to the USB stick, so you have not any data loss.
1.2 Hard disk installation
Dotsch/UX could also easily installed on a hard disk. It requires about 2.5 GB disk space. 
1.3 NFS (Network) Diskless
For a NFS diskless installation a hard disk installation on a server is required. After you have installed the OS on the
hard disk, you have got to edit the global config file with your configuration parameters and install the diskless server
by starting a script, which setups your configurations automatically.
The installation of a diskless server requires additionally 1.5 GB on the hard disk, plus 1.5 GB for each diskless client
you add.
Recommended minimum memory : 256 MB for text console, 384 MB for graphical desktop
Recommended memory :512 MB for text console, 768 MB for graphical desktop
For the server setup, edit and customise the config file /etc/opt/dotsch_ux/diskless.conf and apply the changes with the server setup script (/opt/dotsch_ux/bin/install_diskless-server.sh), which would configure and install the NFS, TFTP and DHCP server which would be required for the diskless server, automatically.
After the server setup, it‘s possible to add diskless client(s) to the server via the script (/opt/dotsch_ux/bin/add_disklessclient.sh). This tool installs the diskless client automatically.
How it works :
• The diskless server offers a DHCP server for the assignment of the IP addresses, network configuration, PXE
   boot images. The DHCP server would be configured via /etc/opt/dotsch_ux/diskless.conf
   Configuration via /etc/opt/dotsch_ux/diskless.conf
• The TFTP Server offers the  PXE boot images and kernel images to the clients.
   The data for the TFTP server is located in /diskless/tftpboot.
   Configuration via /etc/opt/dotsch_ux/diskless.conf
• The NFS Server offers the whole OS instance to each client via NFS.
   The client root directories are located in /diskless/<CLIENTNAME>.
   In /diskless/master, is the Dotsch/UX master image copyied on your hard disk at the initial diskless server
   installation. The image would be used for setup the other diskless clients. You could also make some
   modifications in /diskless/master to customise your configuration, if you would like to.
   Configuration via /etc/opt/dotsch_ux/diskless.conf
Some sample network topologies : 

sample network topologies

sample network topologies
1.4 Special Configurations
1.4.1 Proxy Server
If you wish to use a separate (isolated) network for the diskless clients and the internet connection, for example to separate the diskless clients for security reasons, you can easily install a proxy server. The clients on the internal network communicates through the proxy server with the science project serves.
The proxy server is preconfigured and could be easily configured for your subnet with the included tool. For security reasons it is also possible to restrict the traffic through the proxy server.
Proxy server setup is possible on Hard disk and USB systems. 

Proxy server setup is possible on Hard disk and USB systems
1.4.2 DHCP Server
If you would like not to configure your IP addresses manually and have no router or DHCP server for automatically IP address assignment, you can easy install a DHCP server on a HDD or USB system. 
2. Installation
2.1 USB stick installation
    Click here for the USB Stick installation guide
2.2 HDD Installation
    Click here for the Hard disk installation guide
2.3 NFS Diskless installation
    Click here for the NFS diskless installation guide
2.4 BOINC configuration
    Click here for the BOINC configuration guide
3. Special (optional) configurations
3.1 Proxy Server
   Click here for the Proxy configuration guide
3.2 DHCP server
   Click here for the DHCP configuration guide
3.3 VNC 
   Click here for the VNC configuration guide
4. Tips and tricks
• Disable GNOME desktop : The GNOME desktop is enabled per default on a HDD and USB Installation, and disabled
   per default on a NFS diskless system.
   To enable the graphical desktop at boot time : sudo mv /etc/rc2.d/s30gdm /etc/rc2.d/S30gdm
   To disable the graphical desktop at boot time : sudo mv /etc/rc2.d/S30gdm /etc/rc2.d/s30gdm
   Or disable/enable the GNOME Desktop temporarly : sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop  /  sudo /etc/init.d/gdm start
• Enable GNOME autologin : Per default the User BOINC would be automaticly login after the boot. For security
   reasons this could be not wanted.
   To disable the autologin : Select „System“ / „Administration“ / „Login Window“ in the GOME menu. Select the bar
   „Security“ and disable the option „Enable Automatic Login“
• Sudo handling : The user boinc is configured to administer the system via the sudo configuration. The password of
   the user boinc is required to make changes. 
• Update manager failure : If you get following message from the update manaegr „W: A error occurred during
the signature verification. The repository is not updated and the previous index files
will be used.GPG error: http://archive.ubuntu.com intrepid Release: The following
signatures were invalid: BADSIG 40976EAF437D05B5 Ubuntu Archive Automatic Signing Key
< This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it >“.
  Issure the command „sudo apt-get update“ to update and snyc the repositories.
• VNC connection problems from Windows specific VNC clients : Disable the vinagre encryption as described in the
   updated VNC install guide
 • The powernowd daemon for power managment and CPU scaling was not removed by me. This cause the
    problem, that the CPU scaled down and did not get the full throughtput. Please issue „sudo apt-get remove
    powernowd“ to fix this problem. 
5. Future developments
• x86_64 distribution
• Improved documentation
• Menu based administration interface
• Improved error and exception handling within the several scripts
• Improved VNC Implementation
• Syslog server
• Improved daemon/monitor for the BOINC client on each system
• Automated and semiautomated backup of the BOINC client data and some other OS data
• Text only distribution
• Boot floppy for systems with old BIOSes which does not support boot from USB. 
• High Available Clustering of the diskless server (NFS/TFTP/DHCP/PROXY, Syslog...)
• WUBI installation side by side with a existing Windows installation
• DHCP Server for non diskless systems
• Break the limit of 254 diskless clients 
Special thanks to the Ubuntu team, Jord, Vipin P., Andy W. and Cosmic_Ocean. 

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Dotsch  - Dotsch/UX 1.2 released   |Fri, 09 Apr 2010 08:11:25 +0100
Dotsch/UX 1.2 was released.

For more informations have a look at

New features in 1.2 :
• Build in NVIDIA CUDA
support, a additional tool to enable and check the NVIDIA CUDA support.

Persistent Live CD mode for testing the distribution as Live CD and store the
data on a USB stick/disk
• Automated and semiautomatic backup of the BOINC
client data and some other OS data
• Included Ganglia for performance
monitoring of the Dotsch/UX Grids
• Pre Installed BOINC client 6.10.17

Removed a lot of unneeded packages in the x86 and x64 distribution
• A lot of
bug fixes and enhancements

Special thanks to all the peoples which supported
and helped to make the new distribution possible !
Blah Blah Black Sheep  - Use Puppy Linux CD as Boinc Cruncher   |Tue, 24 Nov 2009 01:05:00 +0000
I used a more low-tech solution by just burning a Puppy Linux live-cd, and used
it to boot the comp I had sitting around. (800mhz, 256mb ram). Configured
Puppy to get wireless working, and installed/configured boinc onto the hard
drive (which I wiped and had nothing on it, since Puppy was booting from CD).
Got x11vnc server installed on it, too. Wrote a small script that I tossed into
Puppy's Startup folder to make it mount the hard disk and auto-start the boinc
client to crunch. All said and done, I've got a Puppy client crunching Boinc
that only uses about 100mb total, and part of that is cache. Puppy uses the
light-weight JWM, and I configured Puppy to use Xvesa instead of X-org, so X has
a very small cpu-sucking foot-print on the client. On average, the boinc client
will use 97% cpu time, since hardly anything else is running that takes up cpu
time once Puppy's done booting and stuff. Granted, I'm not making a server...

3.26 Copyright (C) 2008 Compojoom.com / Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."


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