Controlling the BOINC client via RPC

The BOINC client provides a set of RPCs (remote procedure calls) for control and state interrogation. This enables the development of GUI (graphical user interface) programs. These RPCs send XML request and reply messages over a TCP connection. The XML formats are not documented, but can be inferred from the source code.

The following bindings are available:

It should be easy to generate bindings in other languages. GUI programs connect to the client by opening a TCP socket at port 31416. They can then do repeated RPCs over this connection. Each reply message ends with the character \003.

The rest of this document describes the C++ interface. The functions listed are members of the RPC_CLIENT class. All member functions return an integer error code.


To establish RPC connection to a host, create a RPC_CLIENT object and call

`init(char* host)`.

Dealing with versions

The GUI RPC protocol changes over time. If you're writing a GUI program that needs to communicate with older versions of the BOINC client:

  • Call exchange_versions() to get the client version.
  • If exchange_versions() fails (it's not supported in pre-5.6 clients) do a get_state() RPC, and get the client version from CC_STATE::version_info.
  • Use the client version number to decide what subsequent RPCs to make (version info is included in the RPC list below).


The RPC protocol allows the GUI program to authenticate itself using a password. Some of the RPC operations can be done without authentication; others can be done without authentication, but only by a GUI program running on the same machine.

authorize(char* password)
Do authorization sequence with the peer, using given password.

RPC list

The following functions require authorization for remote clients, but not for local clients. Note: for client versions 5.5.12 and earlier, all functions except get_state(), get_results(), get_screensaver_mode(), and set_screensaver_mode() require authorization.

Exchange version info with the client. The client's version info is returned.
Return bitmap of reasons why computation and network are suspended. Deprecated - for 5.5.13 and later, use cc_status() instead. In 5.5.10 and earlier, it returns a bool (suspended) rather than bitmap.
struct CC_STATUS {
    int network_status;
    bool ams_password_error;
    int task_suspend_reason;
    int network_suspend_reason;
    int task_mode;
    int network_mode;
    int task_mode_perm;
    int network_mode_perm;
    double task_mode_delay;
    double network_mode_delay;
    bool disallow_attach;
    bool simple_gui_only;
Return a structure containing the network status, a flag if there was an account manager password error, and data about task and network suspension.
Get a daily history of number of bytes uploaded and downloaded. Implemented in 6.13.7+ clients.
Get a list of projects, with disk usage fields filled in.
Get a list of file transfers in progress. Each is linked by name to a project; use CC_STATE::lookup_project() to find this project in the current state; if it's not there, call get_state() again.
Get information about host hardware and usage.
get_messages(int seqno, MESSAGES&, bool translatable=false)
Returns a list of messages to be displayed to the user. Each message has a sequence number (1, 2, ...), a priority (1=informational, 2=error) and a timestamp. The RPC requests the messages with sequence numbers greater than seqno, in order of increasing sequence number.

If translatable is true, messages from 6.11+ clients may include translatable parts. These parts are enclosed in _("..."). They should be translated according to the translation files in boinc/locale/*/BOINC-Client.po

get_message_count(int& seqno)
Return the greatest message sequence number. Implemented in 6.10+ client version.
Get a string describing newer versions of the client, if any.
get_notices(int seqno, NOTICES& notices)
Returns a list of notices with sequence number greater than seqno. Notices are returned in order of increasing sequence number (which is the same as increasing arrival time).

Unlike messages, notices can be removed. In this case, notices.complete is set to true, and notices.notices contains all notices. Otherwise notices.notices contains only new notices.

Implemented in 6.11+ client version.

Get a list of projects, with only basic fields filled in.
Get proxy settings.
Get a list of results. Those that are in progress will have information such as CPU time and fraction done. Each result includes a name; use CC_STATE::lookup_result() to find this result in the current static state; if it's not there, call get_state() again.
Get a list of results that have been completed in the last hour and have been reported to their project. (These results are not returned by get_results()).
get_screensaver_mode(int& status)
Return screensaver mode (values are listed in common_defs.h).
Return the list of projects and of active results.
Get the client's 'static' state, i.e. its projects, apps, app_versions, workunits and results. This call is relatively slow and should only be done initially, and when needed later (see below).
Get information about project credit history (the PROJECT::statistics field is populated).
Find whether the client has, needs, or is done with a physical network connection. Deprecated - for 5.5.13 and later, use cc_status() instead.
set_screensaver_mode(bool enabled, double blank_time, DISPLAY_INFO&)
If enabled is true, the client should try to get an application to provide screensaver graphics. Blank screen after blank_time seconds.

The following operations require authentication for both local and remote clients:

Return the URL/name of the current account manager (if any), and the user name and password.
acct_mgr_rpc(const char* url, const char* name, const char* passwd, bool use_config_file)
Do an Account Manager RPC to the given URL, passing the given name/password. If use_config_file is true, then the existing URL, username, and password are used and the client updates the project information from the account manager. If the RPC is successful, save the account info on disk (it can be retrieved later using acct_mgr_info()). If url is the empty string, remove account manager info from disk.
file_transfer_op(FILE_TRANSFER&, const char* op)
Perform a control operation on a file transfer. op is one of "abort" or "retry".
Reads the contents of the global preferences override file into the given string. Return an error code if the file is not present.
Return the contents of the global preferences override file, parsed into a structure. Default values are zero. Returns an error code if the file is not present.
Tells the client that a network connection is available, and that it should do as much network activity as it can.
project_attach(char* url, char* account_key, char* project_name)
Attach to the given project.
project_op(PROJECT&, char* op)
Perform a control operation on the given project (only the master_url field needs to be set). op is one of "suspend", "resume", "reset", "detach", "update", "allowmorework", "nomorework". Since 5.10.14: "detach_when_done", "dont_detach_when_done".
Tell the client to exit.
Tells the client to reread the global_prefs_override.xml file, modifying the global preferences according to its contents.
Report power, battery, and WiFi? status to the client. This is used on Android, where the interfaces for this info are in Java and therefore easier to access from the GUI than from the client.
result_op(RESULT&, const char* op)
Perform a control operation on an active result. op is one of "suspend", "resume", or "abort".
Run benchmarks.
Set the short- and long-term debts of the given projects (only the master_url, short_term_debt, long_term_debt, cuda_debt and ati_debt fields are used in the PROJECT structs).
Write the given contents to the global preferences override file. If the argument is an empty string, delete the file. Otherwise the argument must be a valid <global_preferences> element.
Convert the given structure to XML and write it to the global preferences override file.

To modify a particular preference (e.g., CPU throttle):

char password[256];


rpc.get_global_prefs_override_struct(prefs, prefs_mask);
prefs.cpu_usage_limit = 0.5;
prefs_mask.cpu_usage_limit = true;
rpc.set_global_prefs_override_struct(prefs, prefs_mask);
set_network_mode(int mode, double duration)
Set the network mode (never/auto/always).
Set proxy settings.
set_run_mode(int mode, double duration)
Set the run mode (never/auto/always). If duration is zero, mode is permanent. Otherwise revert to last permanent mode after duration seconds elapse.

Android-specific RPCs


int report_device_status(DEVICE_STATUS&);

is used to convey information from Android GUIs to the BOINC client, including

  • whether the device is plugged in via USB or AC power
  • the battery charge level, state, and temperature
  • whether the device is connected via WiFi
  • whether the user is active (e.g. whether the screen is on)
  • the device name (supplied by the user)

This RPC also serves as a "keep-alive": if the BOINC client doesn't get one in 30 seconds, it will suspend computation. So Android GUIs should call it fairly often (every 10 sec at least).

There is no C++ binding for this RPC; there's a Java binding in the Android GUI code: android/BOINC/src/edu/berkeley/boinc/rpc/

Last modified 4 months ago Last modified on 11/19/16 04:09:46