For the betterment of BOINC

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Message 79687 - Posted: 20 Jul 2017, 12:36:49 UTC
Last modified: 26 Jul 2017, 10:13:58 UTC

Hi BOINC Community,

Last week Richard Haselgrove and I were asked to join a BOINC Work Group committee which researches how BOINC can be made more user friendly, easier for anyone to set up their own short- or long term project, and for the community to join in on those endeavours. The goal is to get more people to run BOINC, to join in coding all parts that make BOINC (client, manager, web site, forums, projects, etc.), to test everything, to get them to set up their own projects, to make BOINC a future-proof and reliable brand that isn't dependent on any one person in particular.

We do know this is a big order and it won't be solved in a couple of weeks. So we'll work in the background together with some key people from projects/code developers to get things started. Eventually we will need answers from you as well, probably on a lot of things. But we'll start slow with a couple of small questions:

1. If there is anything at all you can change in/withdraw from/add to BOINC, what would that be? While we don't exactly look for enhancements or bug squashing, you may just let out anything you think would put BOINC on the map. For example to add social media inside BOINC Manager, or have certain add-ons integrated into the client (I am making these up, they aren't on the list (yet)).

2. Would you like to contribute to making BOINC better, or program for it, or walk the source code, or do anything to help the project forward? What has held you back thus far?

3. We'd like to get into contact with people who programmed for BOINC, but no longer do. Can you PM me or Richard on this, or contact us via email? Especially if you're one of the people in the Volunteer Developers section here.

4. We also like to get into contact with people who now voluntarily program for BOINC. Can you tell us why you decided to work on BOINC, how difficult it was to get into and what we can do to increase your involvement?

With thanks for any answers you have,

Richard Haselgrove
Jord van der Elst

PS: Most all answers will go onto our dedicated website, so make sure your answer is in a way you think is right for that environment. Only the members of our group have access to these. Especially if you email, let us know if you want to be quoted verbatim or not.
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Jim1348

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Message 79689 - Posted: 20 Jul 2017, 12:47:19 UTC
Last modified: 20 Jul 2017, 12:49:09 UTC

The Projects list is usually not up to date. Maybe you could open up the interface so that the project administrators themselves could add to it (after getting approval from you that they are legitimate), or make changes to their URLs, or even delete inactive projects.

It is a minor point, but might help new users, and also help new projects get on the map.
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Vitalii Koshura

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Message 79705 - Posted: 20 Jul 2017, 23:42:44 UTC - in response to Message 79687.  

Hello Richard and Jord,

I am a contributor (not so active because of lack of time). I do this because I'm really interested in this project and the whole idea of volunteer contributions.

The main thing that I'd like to be changed is the overall development process. First of all it's very hard to understand the release process. There are 317 open issues. And as a developer how can I understand which issue I should fix first? Yes, I can fix any issue but how I can be sure that my fixes will be ever released? I had this situation: fixes I made about three years ago were merged into release branch in two years. I think such process will not involve new developers to contribute to this project. As a developer I want to know that my work is useful and will be not forgotten.
Also as a further growth of the BOINC I would like to see more supported platforms (PlayStation, XBox...).

Thank you
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boboviz

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Message 79714 - Posted: 21 Jul 2017, 9:43:48 UTC - in response to Message 79687.  
Last modified: 21 Jul 2017, 9:44:01 UTC

The goal is to get more people to run BOINC, to join in coding all parts that make BOINC (client, manager, web site, forums, projects, etc.), to test everything, to get them to set up their own projects, to make BOINC a future-proof and reliable brand that isn't dependent on any one person in particular.


I'm not a developer, i'm just a volunteer who helps on Transifex.
So, some points:
- Automatic update of Boinc Manager (like, for example, Firefox).
- News. Not only news from projects attached, but also news from boinc site.
- More often updates on the list of projects in BM.
- A system to send automaticaly a mail to admins project every month/week/semester/etc (something like: "Have you see your queue?" "Do you take a look on forum?"). Why? To remember they have a project!
- Much more visibility for VmServer. It's difficult to find. Please, a link on home page. (PS, Debian 9 is out, it's time to update :-P )
- Much more visibility for scientific results.
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Message 79715 - Posted: 21 Jul 2017, 10:17:56 UTC - in response to Message 79714.  
Last modified: 21 Jul 2017, 10:18:55 UTC

- Automatic update of Boinc Manager (like, for example, Firefox).
Already in BOINC 7.8.0 and creating a huge bug that the developers are working to get rid of as I type this. Automatically updating the client isn't possible for security measures, the user will always have to manually download the new version and install it.
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Message 79717 - Posted: 21 Jul 2017, 13:12:36 UTC - in response to Message 79715.  

- Automatic update of Boinc Manager (like, for example, Firefox).
Already in BOINC 7.8.0 and creating a huge bug that the developers are working to get rid of as I type this. Automatically updating the client isn't possible for security measures, the user will always have to manually download the new version and install it.


Thank for the answer. So, please, a much more visible message of new version in BM
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Message 79718 - Posted: 21 Jul 2017, 14:31:22 UTC - in response to Message 79717.  

Thank for the answer. So, please, a much more visible message of new version in BM
Yes, that's what is being tested and giving a lot of problems at this moment. As I understand the message that a new version is available will now go from the pop-up that's causing the problems to a notice in the Notices tab.

If you have a BOINC Alpha email list login you can read all about it in the 7.8 Showstoppers thread.
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Richard Haselgrove
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Message 79722 - Posted: 22 Jul 2017, 16:35:39 UTC

Gary Charpentier asked in an unrelated thread

I didn't see if there was a time for a final report.
No, there isn't. I suspect it largely depends on how well and how fast we get along, how well our ideas are accepted by the existing practitioners, and how well you the community keep us provided with ideas and suggestions.

But we do have one pretty clear initial aiming point, to be able to present at least an initial report. That's at the BOINC Workshop being held in Paris from Wednesday 6 to Friday 8 September 2017 (see separate thread) - that's less than 7 weeks away. So get your thinking caps on, please.

I had a short break booked for this week, before I was invited to join this working group, which is why I've been off the boards for a few days. I'm back now, though quite tired from what turned out to be a busy trip. Let me sleep a bit tonight and tomorrow, and hopefully I'll get up to full speed to help Jord during Monday and Tuesday.
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Message 79737 - Posted: 23 Jul 2017, 19:15:48 UTC
Last modified: 23 Jul 2017, 19:17:55 UTC

For the betterment of BOINC?

I certainly would opt for a better joint team between BOINC and Gridcoin.
BOINC is mandatory for Gridcoin, not vice-versa.
But there is a lot of negativity towards Gridcoin in this forum, not really one positive feedback.
Questions like monetarizing BOINC did arouse, like this would be the end of all research through BOINC.

I quite dont understand how this thought is kept.
Would someone asking such question opt for any cryptocurrency at all?
Where is the catch? Gridcoin is a reward for sharing your own ressources for research. It is not mandatory.

But what about this example.

Dear AP finder,
Congratulations! Our records indicate that a computer registered by you has found a unique Arithmetic Progression of primes of length 21. This computer is assigned to the AP27 project. Since primes found in this subproject are not large enough to report to the Top 5000 Primes List, your AP21 sequence is visible immediately.

the result is the same, but this one is powered by Gridcoin!

Instead of making cryptocurrencies a bastion for revenue and speculations, greed and profit, adding energy waste on top,
I truly admire Gridcoin was invented and does exist. Of course, I can say this about BOINC as well.
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Message 79739 - Posted: 23 Jul 2017, 20:13:08 UTC - in response to Message 79737.  

I certainly would opt for a better joint team between BOINC and Gridcoin.
I've been trying to contact CM for the past days and all emails I sent him eventually bounced, for non-existing email addresses. That makes contact between BOINC and Gridcoin quite difficult, so if you have the means, could you ask that he comes by and either posts here, or PMs me, or emails me?
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Message 79742 - Posted: 23 Jul 2017, 20:26:45 UTC - in response to Message 79705.  

The main thing that I'd like to be changed is the overall development process. First of all it's very hard to understand the release process. There are 317 open issues. And as a developer how can I understand which issue I should fix first? Yes, I can fix any issue but how I can be sure that my fixes will be ever released? I had this situation: fixes I made about three years ago were merged into release branch in two years. I think such process will not involve new developers to contribute to this project. As a developer I want to know that my work is useful and will be not forgotten.


I think it's a good point. Now the project has not "a central head", so it's important to "coordinate" the work.
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Message 79781 - Posted: 25 Jul 2017, 22:34:59 UTC - in response to Message 79739.  
Last modified: 25 Jul 2017, 22:50:41 UTC

I certainly would opt for a better joint team between BOINC and Gridcoin.I've been trying to contact CM for the past days and all emails I sent him eventually bounced, for non-existing email addresses. That makes contact between BOINC and Gridcoin quite difficult, so if you have the means, could you ask that he comes by and either posts here, or PMs me, or emails me?


Hey, I got your message a few days ago and reached out to the Gridcoin and Steem communities regarding this topic:

Dedicated thread with many responses: https://steemit.com/gridcoin/@cm-steem/for-the-betterment-of-boinc-post-suggestions-on-how-to-improve-boinc

Discussed this during the 35th Gridcoin Hangout (teleconference w/ ~30 people): https://steemit.com/gridcoin/@cm-steem/gridcoin-community-hangout-035#@cm-steem/re-cm-steem-gridcoin-community-hangout-035-20170722t164502752z

---

The following is what I've come up with off the top of my head and does not represent the Gridcoin community as a whole, there are probably items that I've missed which others will likely post here or on the steem thread.

I'll be attending the BOINC workshop in Paris, looking forwards to discussing some of these topics in person!

---

If we're talking about social media links within the BOINC client then I'd suggest the following:
https://steemit.com/trending/boinc (Free to sign up, earn crypto for posting, team-neutral).
https://t.me/BOINC_Telegram (Requires a phone number, team-neutral).
I wouldn't suggest adding the /r/boinc sub-reddit, the moderator /u/Pi31415926 censors at will (note he's a mod of 30+ subreddits? Powertrip!).
Could/Should we make a team-neutral slack or discord server?

If we're talking large changes:
* Password security: https://github.com/BOINC/boinc/issues/1644 (md5 isn't secure, we need to consider how we're going to migrate ~4m accounts across 30+ BOINC projects to a new password hashing mechanism). This issue has stagnated likely due to the sheer scale of migration.
* Account keys: https://github.com/Erkan-Yilmaz/Gridcoin-tasks/issues/106 (Account keys pose a permanent account compromise risk. Given that anyone can register an account with your email, they can harvest your account keys)
* Homebrew XML instead of standard XML library: https://github.com/BOINC/boinc/issues/1633 , Affected GRC: https://github.com/BOINC/boinc/issues/1470 (no confirmation of fix).
* Botnets: https://gridcoinstats.eu/cpid/2bebcc51ce6b307d8410ba59a9072039 https://boincstats.com/en/stats/-5/user/detail/2731022/projectList - this user is distributing hidden boinc services via game cracks. If possible, it'd be great if there was an admin php script added to the boinc server to flag potential botnets (many different hostnames) whilst tolerating gridcoin pools (https://www.grcpool.com/).
* Absolute proof of CPID ownership: If there was a dedicated cryptocurrency address field within the profile page which was publicly scrapable, then the Gridcoin (any any other crypto) network could 100% prove ownership of a CPID (they register an cpid with an address, address is checked against address stored within project field, verifies/rejects). I have already implemented this within project-rain https://github.com/grctest/project-rain-site - I added ~35 different cryptocurrencies to the profile page, including some secure messaging fields and it works. I've not submitted this as a pull request because of the negative gridcoin reception in the BOINC forums in the past, figured it wouldn't fly. Would it be accepted if hidden away in a separate page within the profile view it would seriously benefit the Gridcoin network.
* More optimal statistics file output: XML is pretty bloated, what about JSON or a more efficient format? A smaller stats file means less bandwidth load on servers.
* Modularity - The BOINC github repo is huge, if you're just wanting to setup a BOINC web server you don't need the majority of the repo's contents. If it was possible to be split into seperate repos (client, server, mobile, etc) it might be easier for users to find the files required for modification (customizing web server) or to contribute towards development (A dev forked out of frustration: https://github.com/volunode/volunode https://github.com/BOINC/boinc/issues/1633#issuecomment-252813358)

Past observations:
* Team founders at risk of breaking anti-spam laws: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/boinc-team-founders/sziGysV5Thk
* Project management committee is non-responsive: We invited the PMC to a teleconference with the Gridcoin network last year: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/boinc_admin/gridcoin%7Csort:relevance/boinc_admin/aq_stcsZ49c/2DpQ3ZfHBwAJ
* boincstats.com centralization/security risk - Every BOINC account which uses boincstats.com (BAM!) uses the same password across all BOINC projects. If one BOINC project has a malicious project admin or is hacked then all other project accounts (inc the boincstats acc) are compromised.
* Gridcoin community reported issues ignored/disregarded based on speculation: https://github.com/BOINC/boinc/issues/1466#issuecomment-172130901
* A select few users across all BOINC project forums are rather aggressive, however hopefully when the mandatory team gridcoin rule is lifted this will be reduced somewhat.. however I believe it's the isolationist 'team-poaching' attitude between team forums that we need to overcome as a community (we need to promote team-neutral communication platforms).
* Large pull-request backlog: https://github.com/BOINC/boinc/pulls

Non dev changes:
* Updated documentation - some of the official boinc server guides and misc tutorials are 10 years old & some of the BOINC wiki is non-styled/broken.

Best regards,
CM.
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Message 79782 - Posted: 26 Jul 2017, 8:39:12 UTC - in response to Message 79781.  
Last modified: 26 Jul 2017, 10:46:37 UTC

Thanks for that CM.
Weird though, all the emails I sent to various of your email addresses bounced with messages that these addresses didn't exist anymore. Glad though something reached you. Mind PM'ing me which email address I can use in future, that surely won't bounce? :-)

Quickly reading through the Steem thread, the first one:
It would be nice that there would be more control over how each of the project tasks are prioritized.

We won't tackle this one. I doubt even anyone is ever going to do this.
This is an extremely large change, one that may not even be possible with volunteer developers. At the moment there are no paid BOINC developers anymore, people who work with BOINC day in day out. There's only volunteers. And of those we may have about 7 who chime in here and there. We need a lot more people who do programming/developing, who will run down the present 319 issues, and get as much of that out of the way before we're even ready to do large changes.

And then, large changes require a vote of various committers, maintainers and PMC Upside of that is that there's no one uber-user anymore who can shoot things down, while the possible downside is that you now have to lobby several others into trying to get them to think your way. :)

Edit: * A select few users across all BOINC project forums are rather aggressive, however hopefully when the mandatory team gridcoin rule is lifted this will be reduced somewhat..
Change is difficult for some. People are human and rife for fighting. I want to bet that the GC users aren't always so diplomatic in their answers either. :)


Edit: Wow... Tell Trikkstar they won the prize of simple solutions that have been overlooked for a long time: be able to add an account manager on simple view.
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Message 79788 - Posted: 26 Jul 2017, 11:47:04 UTC
Last modified: 26 Jul 2017, 11:47:15 UTC

Hi all,

First I'd like to thank those of you who took the time to post your grievances, feature requests and suggestions. We have quite a list already, but we'd love more. I can tell you that all of what makes it through to the list will be spoken about in detail between the group members and possibly back to you who asked about it.

Just so you know, this work group isn't some low people who were aimlessly waiting around in the lobby of some university, instead as I hinted in some posts already, these people aren't the least in BOINC, they do have something to say. They are senior project scientists and administrators, and other significant contributors.

Meet:
- Christian Beer - Einstein@Home
- David Wallom - Climateprediction.net
- Eric Korpela - Seti@Home
- Kevin Reed - IBM/World Community Grid
- Laurence Field - CERN/LHC
- Tristan Olive - Grid Republic
- David Anderson - BOINC

So yes, we're quite honored in that they asked us to gather around the table to discuss a lot of things about BOINC, and so should you. All the material Richard and I send in is talked about via email/a dedicated website. There's so much to talk about even, that some of it made it impossible for us to do all the Agenda points on the last weekly meetings. :)

Weekly we talk via teleconference with each other, which is really nice as at least that way the others can hear the urgency in my voice on anything I have to say. And that's not all just serious talk, there's a lot of humor passing by as well. Weirdly enough, sometimes these guys sound and act like humans. :-D

With that out of the way, please, continue. Give us a lot more to talk about, to decide upon, to vote on how we should change things. We're proud of you. We're BOINC, resistance is futile. :)

Jord.
Richard.
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Message 79789 - Posted: 26 Jul 2017, 12:41:08 UTC - in response to Message 79788.  


Meet:
- Christian Beer - Einstein@Home
- David Wallom - Climateprediction.net
- Eric Korpela - Seti@Home
- Kevin Reed - IBM/World Community Grid
- Laurence Field - CERN/LHC
- Tristan Olive - Grid Republic
- David Anderson - BOINC

I see, also, Marius Millea from Cosmology@Home, organizer of Boinc Meeting.
I know he is very involved in Docker support for Boinc. I hope this will help the use of Docker also for other projects.

We're BOINC, resistance is futile. :)

:-P
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Message 79790 - Posted: 26 Jul 2017, 13:16:26 UTC
Last modified: 26 Jul 2017, 13:17:23 UTC

A litlle note: update the copyright in Boinc Manager, now is "(C) 2003-2015" with 7.6.33 version.
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Message 79791 - Posted: 26 Jul 2017, 13:21:51 UTC
Last modified: 26 Jul 2017, 13:22:03 UTC

Weekly we talk via teleconference with each other, which is really nice as at least that way the others can hear the urgency in my voice on anything I have to say. And that's not all just serious talk, there's a lot of humor passing by as well. Weirdly enough, sometimes these guys sound and act like humans. :-D

Are these teleconferences open to the public or recorded and published online?
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Message 79792 - Posted: 26 Jul 2017, 13:23:18 UTC - in response to Message 79790.  

A litlle note: update the copyright in Boinc Manager, now is "(C) 2003-2015" with 7.6.33 version.
v7.6.33 was released over a year ago - OK, in 2016 (5 Jun 2016), so your point is valid.

But more than the copyright notice needs updating...
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Message 79793 - Posted: 26 Jul 2017, 13:25:43 UTC - in response to Message 79791.  

Are these teleconferences open to the public or recorded and published online?
Not open to the public, I'm afraid.

It's a good question about recordings - I was there, and I don't honestly know (it hasn't been mentioned). I'll ask next time - recordings might be useful to some future historian.
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Message 79794 - Posted: 26 Jul 2017, 14:08:00 UTC - in response to Message 79789.  

I see, also, Marius Millea from Cosmology@Home, organizer of Boinc Meeting.
Marius is not a member of the BOINC Work Group,
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