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OS Circular: Internet bootable OS Archive

OS Circular is a project to distribute the disk images (Linux
distribution) to a virtual or real machine. User only has to prepare
the bootloader (“gPXE” or “kexec” which download a kernel and
initrd and re-boot with them) and boots any Linux distribution from
the Internet without installation.

The disk images are distributed by Internet Stackable Virtual Disk
(“Trusted HTTP-FUSE CLOOP”). HTTP-FUSE CLOOP reconstructs loopback
device from block files on HTTP servers. The block files are made form
block devices split by certain size (default is 256KB). A name of
block file is SHA1 of its contents and block files are mapped to a
loopback device with “mapping_talbe” file of SHA1 file names. The
same contents blocks are hold together the same SHA1 file name and
reduce the disk space. The block files are cached on a local storage
and reusable. If there are necessary block files are cached on a local
storage, the network connection is not required and the OS work for
mobile computing.

OS Circular works as thin client and the administrator can control the
OS image for security. It is useful for security update rather than
package manger. The secure OS image is shared by many users and
periodically updated on servers.

The disk images also work as OS archive and acts an installation
reference. It allows for the selection of new or old OS images at boot
time. New OS images let you check new functions before installing them
on the hard disk. Old OS images let you keep old application software
so you can open files in old formats.

We will talk about the management and optimization for world wide
deployment. Current implementation provides some OSes: Ubuntu(6.06LTS,
6.10, 7.04), Debian Etch, CentOS 4, and FreeBSD. We want to make an
Internet OS Archive which is booted from “gPXE” and “kexec”
without installation.

Kuniyasu Suzaki

Kuniyasu SUZAKI
He is a researcher a National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science
and Technology. His research includes OS migration, virtual machine,
and trusted computing.

He maintains some customized KNOPPIX; VMKnopix, KNOPPIX for x86_64,
KNOPPIX for Trusted Computing Geeks, etc. He wants to extend these
Linux distributions to be bootable form the Internet.