OpenBSD Journal

'Fire & forget' seti@home on OpenBSD

Contributed by jose on from the things-to-do-with-spare-cycles dept.

Mark Redding writes: "Well, I don't know how useful or newsworthy it is, but I've used my favourite OS (v3.3, the final a.out version) to create a single floppy disk (or CD) bootable image that can be used to run the seti@home client (ideal for server stack / farm environments). The beauty of this image over the Linux based ones is that it supports just about every single network card supported by OpenBSD on this one image (unlike any of the Linux based bootable images, which kindly ask you to create, build and install a version that will support your network card), and only requires a DHCP server somewhere accessible in the network for it's connections. see for further information. I've also used the same 'base' to create a 'fire and forget' client, as well as a bootable web server (based upon thttpd) with ftp upload capability. I'm presently using this image to run seti@home on :-
  • a BigIP F5
  • a Compaq DL380 that has no working hard drive
  • a Motherboard, CPU, RAM, Power Supply, Network Card and Floppy Disc combination sitting under my desk
  • an AMD K6 450Mhz based machine
  • a 200-MMX based CPU (also used to create the images)
  • a 433 MHz 'blaze' with some generic network card.
...and all being different hardware and having different network cards...

To aid in crediting of WU's and monitoring of progress I've also created a simple daemon and client to monitor WU progress.

Do, any of you, let me know if it, or the concept behind it, is of any use.

Mark Redding."

(Comments are closed)

  1. By bob () obsdj FOOO-RM-ME 2fm FOOO-RM-ME de on mailto:obsdj FOOO-RM-ME 2fm FOOO-RM-ME de

    i had the same in mind for a boot disk with sshd
    like a bootdisk/USB-stick/CD boot an you have a install system for install/update the system.

    usefull for coloc. hosts in a datacenter, and the "remote" hands had only todo snap in the floopy/cd and havet the remouve the disk.

    btw know any one a remotemanagement card like the Peppercon eRIC
    IMOH 800euro
    but the parts for my 1U server was just 600euro...

    best bob

    1. By Matt Van Mater () on

      I like this idea, it could be pretty useful for updating remote boxes. True you could always follow the upgrade instructions, compile the source elsewhere, etc but I always prefer to do a clean install whenever I have the option. (I think the upgrade documentation even lists this as the preferred method)

      I think sshd would require a bootable cd because it is simply too large for a floppy. I think making a bootable cd with sshd would be significantly easier than making a premade install script that handles ever single aspect of a system install. (I know there is one out there, but it's not exactly for the faint of heart).

      I'm going to have to upgrade at least a half dozen remote boxes when the next release comes out, and it would be great if I could get something like this up and running so I don't have to upgrade everything by hand.

      1. By bob () obsdj FOOO-RM-ME 2fm FOOO-RM-ME de on mailto:obsdj FOOO-RM-ME 2fm FOOO-RM-ME de

        i found thes howto:
        howto ram full system (OpenBSD 3.1-memorable)

        i take a quick look it sems to go the way waht we need ;-)

        my wisches are: to modyfiy the (and install kernel or so) an get it in the Ofishel Openbsd 3.5 or 3.6.
        so if you bourn you install cd with "install-IP-config" the cd boot and install the system or boot and a sshd is startet with the options out "install-IP-config".

        best bob

      2. By Mark Redding () on

        Thanks for the feedback,

        I'm currently working on a 'proof of concept' by trying to create a much larger bootable CD image - this one includes FreeBSD emulation so that I can run the code of the distributedfolding project in a ramdisk - the aim is twofold, one to prove that I can create a larger bootable image, the other to widen the scope by providing access to applications only available on so-called 'more mainstream' operating systems (and, at work, I do use FreeBSD on the production systems I develop).
        Actually, it's threefold, the last being to promote an OS I regard as both elegant and a joy to develop based upon.

        Mark /|

    2. By Anonymous Coward () on

      Or you can simply use the 'siteXX.tgz' way. building a bootable cd including this package isn't that hard.

    1. By Christopher () on

      Apparently there's a limit on the URL length in the form....

    2. By Mark Redding () on


      Sorry, lost your mail due to BT here in the UK deploying some so called 'spam guard' software.

      The floppy image can be found at , though at present this one contains a config for my dnetc.ini though I've just about completed a dnetwatch program that will allow the loading of someone elses config settings. If you mail me again I'll send you the latest update when I've finished it (hopefully over the weekend).

      best wishes,

      1. By Mark Redding () on


        I've got the stuf into a reasonable state...

        see for downloads and details.

        happy computing,


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