FreeBoo: an Open Architecture for Network Dual Boot
The BP Batch Project, started at the Geneve University by Marc V. Stuckelberg and David Clerc, became a popular open implementation of the thin client. This approach evolved into the commercial Rembo suite, which is used in many labs with a significant licensing cost. FreeBoo uses a combination of existing open-source technologies, including BP Batch, to provide the main features of Rembo.
The hardware requirements for installing FreeBoo are just a dedicated server connected to client desktops by a LAN. Desktops need to have only boot-on-LAN capacities and local disk drives. All the software used is open source.
Future extensions of FreeBoo include the use of this technology for server software deployment; the development of a Web-based interface for easy administration of images, including database management; evaluation of the performance of the OS restoration process to improve it and to select the best option automatically (instead of having the user decide between the fast or full options); the insertion of multicast image recovery; and finally, the use of Wake-on-LAN capabilities to deploy secure images to desktops at preprogrammed times.
FreeBoo is only the initial step in building an open-source boot environment for system administrators that allows you to fix, deploy and execute OS images on large installations of desktops.
The scripts and other files related to FreeBoo can be found at ftp.linuxjournal.com/pub/lj/listings/issue180/10203.tgz.
Cristina Barrado is an Assistant Professor at the Technical University of Catalonia, in Castelldefels, Spain. She has been teaching operating systems since 1990 and has advised a large number of master theses on Linux and Linux development. Her PhD was focused on automatic extraction of low-level parallelism in loops at compile time. Currently, she belongs to the Icarus Research Group, whose target is research on avionics systems for Unmanned Aerial Systems.
Sebastian Galiano is a Telematic Engineer with extensive OS and network services knowledge. Currently, he is working at UPCnet as project engineer in the Internet and middleware area.