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I know this question is weird. I would like to build / find a Linux distribution that is stored in a web server. The reason for me to build / find such Linux is that I would like to save the cost to host a Linux server.

  • Debian based
  • no need to run 24 x 7 ( run on demand )
  • no need GUI
  • access is mainly via SSH
  • Linux role is mainly for grid computing
  • Run on-top of current operating system (Windows , Mac & Linux )

Here is workflow I planned :

Download the Linux from web server each time > Use > Configuration is saved > Re-upload the Linux to web server

It is quite similar to USB-based OS , but it runs on-top of current OS.

I found a close "solution" : Cygwin Portable. The file size is 24MB, which can fit into most web servers. However, it only supports Windows. Any better alternative ?

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closed as off topic by John Gardeniers, Ward, Antoine Benkemoun, Massimo, RobM Jun 13 '11 at 22:23

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Looks like you want a VM... why just not use it then? – Massimo Jun 13 '11 at 9:33

There is no way I'm aware of to boot an OS from a webserver. You might want to have a look at tftp but its not designed for operating across anything other than a LAN.

access is mainly via SSH

How's that going to work? You don't know where the OS will be running - unless you implement some sort of dynamic DNS service.

Linux role is mainly for grid computing

Grid computing implies all sorts of things - none of which are compatible with guerilla deployment like this.

Run on-top of current operating system (Windows , Mac & Linux )

So you want a vm image of some sort. It might have been helpful if you'd said that at the beginning.

Are you really going to be re-configuring it (other than address / routing) every time you use it? And if so, what's the point of saving the config back on the server?

What are your constraints in terms of size? Must it be debian based?

I'd recommend having a look at Puppy - even if you choose to go a different route, Puppy's overlay FS architecture is great for managing lots of images and reducing write backs. However I'm finding it very hard to imagine what problem is solved by the architecture you propose.

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+1 for "guerrilla deployment", wonderful name :-D – Massimo Jun 13 '11 at 9:32

It's not a 'Linux distribution' and it will have a steep learning curve, but what you describe could be done with CherryPy on any computer with Python installed.

Well, maybe not the SSH part, but give it a look.

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I will look into CherryPy ( p.s. I got some years of Linux building experience from scratch ) – Raptor Jun 13 '11 at 2:35

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