Dotsch/UX a Linux distribution, based on Ubuntu Linux.
The purpose is to make a Linux distribution for BOINC which boots as Live CD, 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.
    Strongly recommended >256 MB for text console only, >512 MB with Desktop, and additional 128 MB more for a
    diskless server system
  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..1.7 GB per architecture
    plus 1.5...1.7  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. Also the Ubuntu documentation, WIKIs and forums are adaptive due the technical
    adjacency of Dotsch/UX and Ubuntu.
 • BOINC Client : The BOINC client comes pre installed and would be started as daemon and would be monitored
   and kept alive from this daemon. Dotsch/UX 1.0 includes the BOINC client 6.2.15. Dotsch/UX 1.1 includes the
   BOINC client 6.4.5 for CUDA support and Dotsch/UX 1.2 includes version 6.10.17.
 • 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.
 • 32+64 bit distribution : A distribution of 32 bit (386) and 64 bit (x64) is available. Since Dotsch/UX 1.1 it‘s possible
   to add mixed 32 and 64 bit diskless clients on the same diskless server.
 • CUDA : Since Dotsch/UX 1.2, the NVIDIA CUDA drivers are included and preconfigured by default. A CUDA installer
    is also included to reinstall CUDA, if it would been required. A CUDA installation state tools is included, too.
• Integrated Backup : A Client/Server Backup solution to backup all Dotsch/UX systems over a network is included
  since release 1.2. Also Backups to a local destination is also possible.
•  Performance Monitoring : The HPC/HA Cluster Grid Client/Server performance monitoring tool Ganglia was
   introduced in 1.2.
 • Live CD persistent home directory : A USB stick or disk can be configured in the Live CD as persistent home
   directory. All data in the home directory would been stored on the USB stick
 • Reduced energy : A hard disk drive requires about 5 to 10 W energy. Calculated for a permanent running system
   (365 days) and 0,20 Euro/KW per hour, each removed HDD saves about 44 KWh..88 KWh per year = 8...17 Euro per
   A USB stick uses about 0,1..0,9 Watt = 0,8...7  KWh per year => 0,2...1,75 Euro costs per year.
   For a diskless installation it depends on the setup. Breakthrough is reached, when more diskless clients are installed,  
   than hard disks in the diskless server are used.
Download :
  Dotsch/UX 1.2 i386 - 572 MB ISO Image (md5sum : 4d498eacbd53562bdeec845f3fa7f9b5)
            Dotsch‘s HTTP master(http)
            • BOINC
            • Skips HTTP server
  Dotsch/UX 1.2 x64 - 638 MB ISO Image - x64 (md5sum : 521dd6cea3a4ea78d3a4fe3152f088d4)
           Dotsch‘s HTTP master(http)
            • BOINC
            • Skips HTTP server
  Dotsch/UX 1.2 Patch i386 and x64 for patching Dotsch/UX 1.1 to 1.2 - 42 MB self extracting installer (md5sum :
    Please have a look to the patch installation guide for a detailed description of the patch installation.
            Dotsch‘s HTTP master(http)
            • BOINC
Screenshots :
         Graphical Desktop                            Graphical Desktop with                   Menu with the Dotsch/UX
                                                                        BOINC Manager                                          tools
        Ganglia performance                             Ganglia performance                            Ganglia performance
        monitoring overview                               monitoring host view                              monitoring host view
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 572 MB for the i386 OS image and 640 MB for the x64 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 minimum 2...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...1.7 GB for each architecture on the hard disk, plus 1.5...1.7 GB for each diskless client you add.
Recommended minimum memory for a diskless server : 256 MB for text console, 384 MB for graphical desktop
Recommended memory for a diskless sever : >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/, 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/ 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.i386 or /diskless/master.x64, is the Dotsch/UX master image for each architecture 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.
   Via „sudo“ you can later also add additional architectures and server different architectures on the same
   diskless server.  
   Configuration via /etc/opt/dotsch_ux/diskless.conf
Some sample network topologies :
The topology depends on your requirements and also your current infrastructure.
• DHCP Server : You can not have more than one DHCP server per physical network !
   If you have already a DHCP server within your network, which can‘t been disabled, topology sample 2, with
   separated networks for the diskless clients and the network with the other DHCP server has to been used.
1.4 Live CD
The complete system can been booted from the Live CD (=the normal OS installation CD)
 Without persistent home directory setup, the data would been written into RAM via a RAM disk.
 • The persistent home directory configuration, setup a image on a USB stick or disk. At the next boots the live CD
   probes for the persistent home directory image and setup the Live CD automatically setup and uses the persistent
   home directory. All Data would been accessed from the USB device and no data was loss at a reboot.
1.5 Special Configurations
1.5.1 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.
1.5.2 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.
1.5.3 Backup
In Dotsch/UX 1.2 was a backup system for the LiveCD, USB, HDD and diskless server installation introduced.
It‘s possible to backups to a local disk or via network to a backup server.
The easy to use backup and restore tool „Simple Backup“ (sbackup) was uses as backup tool.
1.5.4 Performance Monitoring
In Dotsch/UX 1.2 the Performance Monitoring tool Ganglia was introduced.
Ganglia is a Client/Server Performance Monitoring tool for HPC Grids, HA Clusters and Networks which was developed from the University of California in Berkeley.
2. Installation
2.1 USB stick installation
2.2 HDD Installation
2.3 NFS Diskless installation
2.4 BOINC configuration
2.5 Install Patches
2.6 Live CD
3. Special (optional) configurations
3.1 Proxy Server
3.2 DHCP server
3.3 VNC  
3.4 Performance Monitoring  
3.5 Backup  
3.6 CUDA  
3.7 Additional tools for the diskless server and clients
4. Dotsch/UX FAQ, Known Bugs and Tips
5. Future developments
Prio 1
High Available Clustering of the diskless server (NFS/TFTP/DHCP/PROXY, Syslog...)
Ubuntu 10.x LTS as base
Improved error and exception handling within the scripts and tools
Syslog server
Prio 2
Boot floppy for systems with old BIOSes which does not support boot from USB.
Persistent Live CD on a network share
BOINC status tool like BOINC view to manage a lot of clients over the network
Prio 3
Menu based administration interface
WUBI installation side by side with a existing Windows installation
Text only distribution
Improved VNC Implementation
Improved daemon/monitor for the BOINC client on each system
Break the limit of 254 diskless clients
6. Changes in Dotsch/UX
6.1 Dotsch/UX 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
• Included Ganglia for performance monitoring of the Dotsch/UX Grids
• Removed a lot of unneeded packages in the x86 and x64 distribution
• A lot of bug fixes and enhancements
6.2 Dotsch/UX 1.1
• Distribution for 32 and 64 bit systems
• Bundled with BOINC client 6.4.5. Default on the Dotsch/UX  1.1 ISO images. Must be manually upgraded on a
   patched Dotsch/UX 1.0 system. See chapter 2.4 for a BOINC upgrade guide.
• DHCP Server for non diskless systems
• Updated documentation
• Mixed i386/x64 diskless clients on a single diskless server
• Bugfixes for the diskless server, diskless client and USB stick installation and USB stick hostname bug
• Patch and release handling
• NTP (Network Time Protocol) preconfigured
• GNOME Autologin disabled. To enable autologin have look at chapter 4. The default user is still boinc with the
   password boinc
If you have problems, questions, suggestions or want to give some feedback, please feel free to contact me via email(seti_boinc at dotsch dot de) or have a look at my forums !
Special thanks to
Skip G, Dan N., Shahin E.K., Gabriel L., Cliff F., James S., David M.,  Krohon,  ML1,
the Ubuntu team, David Anderson, Jord, Vipin P., Andy W., Cosmic_Ocean, Eric M., Al, Dudumomo, Mike B., Achim F., Christian H., O.W. and the whole BOINC and BOINC
projects community for the help and support!  
Dotsch/UX - A USB/Diskless/Harddisk BOINC Ubuntu Linux Distribution
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