Talk:Installing BOINC on Ubuntu

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The instructions in this article need to be tested with all current or recent Ubuntu releases. Please help test each case, and please sign your comments.

7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) has BOINC 5.10.8
Package boinc-client (5.10.8-1) needs to be tested.
8.04 (Hardy Heron - LTS) has BOINC 5.10.45 -WORKS
Package boinc-client (5.10.45-1ubuntu1) installs properly, unless there are remnants of an earlier release (use aptitude purge for a fresh start) --Eric (talk) 03:15, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Confirmed "works for me" out of the box. Basic install instructions are sufficient to get operational. Manager connects to client without need for any GUI password. Attach to project works through squid proxy. --Chris (talk) 21:02, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Kubuntu 8.04 (Ubuntu with KDE)
needs testing
Xubuntu 8.04 (Ubuntu with Xfce)
needs testing
8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) has BOINC 6.2.12
Package boinc-client (6.2.12-1) seems to work, but someone please test and confirm
Basic install works ok, but the package is suspect. I can't get it to attach to a project and I suspect it's because I'm behind a squid proxy server. --Chris (talk) 21:02, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Turns out the client needed a restart to recognise the http proxy settings, otherwise confirmed "works for me". --Chris (talk) 22:56, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Kubuntu 8.10 (Ubuntu with KDE)
needs testing
Xubuntu 8.10 (Ubuntu with Xfce)
needs testing
9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) will have BOINC 6.2.14
Package boinc-client (6.2.14-2) needs testing. The "Jaunty" release is in beta, so now is the time to get it right.

See also: List of Ubuntu releases

Basic installation

How about just one command to install both the Client and Manager. Anyone who does not want the Manager does not have to use it, but installing it does not hurt anything. One simple set of instructions makes it much easier for most folks. --Eric (talk) 21:13, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Installing the manager on a headless machine will also download and install a dozen megabytes of GUI libraries. Nicolas (talk) 21:37, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Okay, good point. But that is not the common case, so we should deal with that separately. --Eric (talk) 22:39, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Note that installing boinc-manager may or may not automatically install the client, depending on the tool used. boinc-manager does not depend on boinc-client. It's marked as a "Recommended" package, which makes some installation tools automatically select it; but it's not a hard dependency. boinc-client also "Suggests" boinc-manager (which is an even weaker relation than "Recommends").

So the safe one-line command would be apt-get install boinc-client boinc-manager.

So I've changed the page to explicitly name both packages. Does it matter that you like apt-get and Ubuntu uses aptitude, or do both work the same here. --Eric (talk) 00:13, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
No, it doesn't matter. In fact I personally use aptitude for everything... Nicolas (talk) 00:43, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

There are plans to make a new empty package called boinc which depends on boinc-manager and boinc-client, to make things easier for normal users. apt-get install boinc and you're done. But it's not there yet. Nicolas (talk) 00:01, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Since we want to keep things simple, and the GUI often does that, I looked at how one would install BOINC via the GUI on Hardy. The menu path is System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager. But the steps after that are probably more confusing than the CLI installation, so I think we should avoid the GUI and keep the simpler CLI instructions. --Eric (talk) 15:44, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

I would expect that using synaptic package manager via the GUI is more intuitive for ubuntu users familiar with it, but I agree that a step-by-step would be a lengthy piece of work (I once wrote one :) and subject to constant change. I question the need to list all the installation steps though. How about we make reference to the fact that it's available via SPM and simply list the package names? That ought to be enough for users already familiar with ubuntu/SPM. A link to SPM on the ubuntu website may be enough for those unfamiliar with it (hopefully few), as teaching brand new users about SPM is after all, an ubuntu task, not a boinc one. No harm in pointing them at the tool though. --Chris (talk) 18:37, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Since there's been no dissenting voices, I reworked the Basic Install to include alternatives. ;) --Chris (talk) 22:01, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I object. I would rather put at the end of the section (which only shows the CLI version) a link to how to install packages in general with Synaptic or Aptitude. As Nicholas has pointed out, that is likely documented elsewhere. And if someone is not familiar with it, then it's much harder than one CLI command. --Eric (talk) 01:00, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
np. Revert as necessary. Here's the link to Synaptic in the community ubuntu docs Synaptic Package Manager and Adept for those using Kubuntu --Chris (talk) 10:18, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Optional setup hints

I've not verified this section completely yet. Has anybody else done so recently? --Eric (talk) 00:14, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

A few questions / comments:

  • My opinion on the ubuntu package install is that it needs little post-install manipulation. The package installation is usually enough to get the average user up and running with little fuss.
  • Default 8.04 install installs an empty gui_rpc_auth.cfg in /etc/boinc-client so I don't understand why you'd be asked for a GUI RPC password. This may be a RH related problem/fix.
  • Is there really a need to edit the files in /etc/boinc-client/ and /var/lib/boinc-client/ as a regular user? It would seem to me that the responsibility of manipulating those files lies with boinc. Regular users (those likely to be referring to these instructions) should do it through the manager (gui) or boinc_cmd (commandline). Power users will just sudo vi /etc/boinc-client/whatever anyway. Symlinking some files to a home dir is potentially problematic for dist upgrades and generally not the best of ideas. This may be being suggested due to security considerations on gui_rpc_auth.cfg, but that file should be owned boinc:boinc and permissions 640 which is secure enough from prying eyes.
  • /var/lib/boinc-client/gui_rpc_auth.cfg is installed as a symlink to /etc/boinc-client/gui_rpc_auth.cfg by default (8.04)
  • if you want to check that boinc is running, just /etc/init.d/boinc-client status --Chris (talk) 18:27, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
All good points, and now that I have the package installing on Hardy I think this whole section is no longer needed. --Eric (talk) 03:22, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I put the Optional Setup Hints on the Ubuntu page when I split the original page into a page for each distro because I thought it might help Ubuntu users. I was never really sure the Optional Setup Hints were appropriate for Ubuntu, feedback in the forums seemed to indicate it was appropriate but the feedback seemed to be coming from users who knew even less about Ubuntu than me, if that's possible. My plan has always been to encourage Ubuntu users to make _their_ page into whatever works best for them, to initiate but not control. Now _experienced_ Ubuntu users have spoken, so let it be done :) Dagorath (talk) 22:51, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Since Ubuntu and Debian have useradd it is probably easier for the user to add their personal account to the 'boinc' group with a command like
 sudo useradd -G boinc joeuser

rather than directly editing the system group file. And this is the same on Fedora and RH distributions. --Eric (talk) 13:32, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Are you sure the command is useradd? I can't get that to work for an existing user on Fedora. It seems to work only if you want to add a new user and add that new user to a group(s). If the user already exists then only usermod -G <groupname> -a <username> seems to work on Fedora. Maybe it's different on Ubuntu and Debian? Dagorath (talk) 02:00, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I think 'usermod' is the way to go. My mistake, I thought useradd would modify existing users also. --Eric (talk) 18:16, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

I just tested Ubuntu again, first with 8.04 and then after purging the BOINC installation and upgrading to 8.10. In both cases it "works out of the box". There is no need to change the user's group or link to the gui_auth_rpc.txt file. (If that's the case on Fedora then that is a bug). So I'm removing this section from the Ubuntu page. We can link to a separate page on gui_rpc configuration for remote control, but that's outside of the basic installation. --Eric (talk) 02:30, 12 February 2009 (UTC)


Are you sure the init.d script is left there after removing the boinc-client package? Nicolas (talk) 00:02, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I'm sitting here with an old ThinkPad trying these things out. The init script remains, but the links to it in /etc/rc2.d are removed, as you would expect. It may be a bug that it remains, but that's what I'm seeing right now. --Eric (talk) 00:08, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Okay now I'm not so sure. I'm trying a pristine install and finding that it fails. And removing the boinc-client package now seems to remove the init script. I'm investigating further... --Eric (talk) 00:44, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
It's not removed because it's also not installed. I'm getting package 5.10.45-1ubuntu1 and it won't install properly on a clean system (Hardy Heron 8.04.1). I suspect we need to encourage the Debian packagers to make a newer package for this LTS release. --Eric (talk) 02:16, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, 5.10.45 package installed "fine" on my Ubuntu system. Nicolas (talk) 21:53, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
So it could be that I did an incomplete delete before re-installing. I will try the 'purge' option (below) and try again. --Eric (talk) 22:28, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
That seems to have been the problem. --Eric (talk) 03:34, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

An aptitude remove should remove the binaries but leave the config files. An aptitude purge should remove everything including config files. aptitude search boinc will list the packages containing boinc and the first character in the output shows the package's state. From the manpage: --Chris (talk) 18:40, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Each search result is listed on a separate line. The first character of each line indicates
the current state of the package: the  most common states are p, meaning that no trace of the
package exists on the system, c, meaning that the package was deleted but its configuration
files remain on the system, i, meaning that the package is installed, and v, meaning that the
package is virtual.
I'm still new to Debian and Ubuntu. Thanks for this valuable information. I'll give it a try tonight, and adjust the article text accordingly when I've tried it out. Thanks very much. --Eric (talk) 22:28, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

I found that "aptitude purge" worked as expected, and then I was able to install the client package with no difficulties. So the problem I had was probably due to trying to install when the package was not completely removed first. --Eric (talk) 03:20, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm glad it worked out as expected. I would say that the majority of problems I've assisted with or read about regarding boinc+ubuntu are directly related to users trying to fix their installations, rather than just trusting the package manager installs to work. I feel it's something that warrants further discussion, so I'll open a new one on that. --Chris (talk) 18:47, 30 December 2008 (UTC)