Version 35 (modified by Bluefin Tuna, 5 years ago) (diff)

Added note about git history dump

BOINC source code

Browsing source code on the web

You can browse the BOINC code using a web-based interface (alternative). This is useful for getting individual files, or seeing the revision history.

Installing Git

The BOINC source is stored in a Git repository. To access the BOINC Git repository you'll need the Git client software:

To get a copy of the BOINC source code you don't need to fully understand Git, just skim the instructions below. However, if you intend to modify BOINC or to look at branches, you'll need to know at least the basics.

Recommended reading/watching:

  • Getting Git: 1 hour video (technical, but highly recommended)
  • Pro Git: Great free online book (also commercially available in print!)
  • All the rest: Cheat sheets, tutorials and more videos

Getting a copy of the BOINC source

To clone the BOINC Git repository into a local directory called (for example) 'boinc_repo', run:

git clone git:// boinc_repo

or, using HTTP:

git clone boinc_repo

On Windows, you'll need a Git client such as TortoiseGit (see below). Right-click on the parent directory, select 'Git Clone...', and fill in the dialog with one of the above URLs. Don't forget to remove both 'git clone' and 'boinc_repo' from the commands above.

The 'clone' operation pulls down ~134 MiB of source and gives you a copy that you can modify and compile locally. However, you will not be able to push changes to the BOINC repository. For write access, see further below.

Change to the directory 'boinc_repo'. Here you find the files corresponding to the 'remote master branch', the bleeding edge of development.

Run git status to show that this is actually true:

$ cd boinc_repo
$ git status
# On branch master
nothing to commit, working directory clean

The fully navigable development history of the project can be found in the 'boinc_repo/.git' subdirectory.

You can replace the files on your 'master branch' by files from older branches or older tags using the appropriate git command - without needing to contact the Git repository server again as all the history can be found under 'boinc_repo/.git'. This is called 'checking out'.

Tags & Branches

Various versions of the source code are available in the remote repository (and now, in your local copy of it):

  • remote tags: These are snapshots of the state of development taken at a specific point in time. You can check out a 'remote tag', but you should not modify the files thus checked out - for that you need a separate branch (which can be created later though). The tag's name indicates what's in there. For example, the release of BOINC client version 7.0.60 has been given then tag 'client_release/7.0/7.0.60'. Run git tag to list the remote tags.
  • remote branches: BOINC developers perform long-running work on source code that needs to be visible to other members of the team by working on a 'remote branch'. There are:
    • The remote master branch: This is the most recent version of the source code. It always exists, contains the freshest code and has not necessarily been thoroughly tested.
    • Other branches: For example, work on version 6.12 of BOINC that is not done in the 'remote master branch', (let's say because of the need for a immediate bugfix) may be done in a remote branch called 'client_release/6/6.12'. Run git remote show origin to list the remote branches.

As you cloned the Git repository, a 'local master branch' was created. This initially corresponds to the 'remote master branch', but once you start editing files, it will of course deviate from it.

You can create local branches and tags (both invisible to anyone but yourself). You can check out a specific 'remote tag' to compile, or you can create a local branch based on a specific 'remote tag' to work on the code.

If you want to have an overview of the development history, refer to - this discussion on stack overflow about generating pretty pictures of the same.

For the impatient living on Unix, follow Slipp D. Thompson's idead and edit (or create) your '~/.gitconfig' file, adding the following command aliases:

lg1 = log --graph --abbrev-commit --decorate --date=relative --format=format:'%C(bold blue)%h%C(reset) - %C(bold green)(%ar)%C(reset) %C(white)%s%C(reset) %C(dim white)- %an%C(reset)%C(bold yellow)%d%C(reset)' --all
lg2 = log --graph --abbrev-commit --decorate --format=format:'%C(bold blue)%h%C(reset) - %C(bold cyan)%aD%C(reset) %C(bold green)(%ar)%C(reset)%C(bold yellow)%d%C(reset)%n''          %C(white)%s%C(reset) %C(dim white)- %an%C(reset)' --all
lg = !"git lg1"

Then run

git lg

inside 'boinc_repo' for a quick text-only history dump:

* 403afa4 - (14 hours ago) client: work fetch policy tweak - David Anderson (HEAD, origin/master, origin/HEAD, master)
* 28f7f95 - (17 hours ago) client: Default to /usr/bin when looking for VboxManage. - Rom Walton
* b4f7e33 - (18 hours ago) client, Android: run CPU-intensive apps in background mode - David Anderson
* b0504e9 - (24 hours ago) Mac: script builds boinc_zip library when building other BOINC libraries - Charlie Fenton
* edc96a2 - (24 hours ago) Mac: update build scripts for OS 10.9 - Charlie Fenton
* 0d04b84 - (24 hours ago) Mac: Update build script for wxWidgets 3.0.0 - Charlie Fenton
* 04e8f00 - (30 hours ago) client, Win: when running GPU detect, use "boinc.exe" rather than "boinc" on cmdline. - David Anderson
* be2f175 - (2 days ago) DOC: Add entries for MIPS and x86 for Android. - Rom Walton
*   cc32c51 - (2 days ago) Merge branch 'master' of ssh:// - Rom Walton
| * 6d78613 - (2 days ago) API: make boinc_api_fortran.cpp compile - David Anderson
| * 36460bc - (2 days ago) Compile fixes for Ubuntu - David Anderson
* | 8bb3af6 - (2 days ago) DOC: Update android client to 7.2.41. - Rom Walton
* 9b041f7 - (2 days ago) VBOX: Fix case of virtualbox and vboxheadless for platforms that are case sensitive.  The code...
* 9220ceb - (3 days ago) Admin web: deprecate problem_host.php, which sends a confusing email to user - David Anderson

Development on the bleeding edge

If you want to work on the remote 'master' branch, check it out locally:

git checkout master

Actually this has already happened when you cloned the repository, so the above command is mainly useful if you want to go back to the remote master branch after you modified some files in a hasty fashion.

Check out a specific tag for compilation

As said above, the code for each release is 'tagged'. For example, the code for version 7.0.65 is tagged with client_release/7.0/7.0.65.


git tag

to list all the visible tags.


git tag --list '*/7.0/*'

to list only the tags matching '/7.0/'.


git checkout client_release/7.0/7.0.65; git status

to check out BOINC client version 7.0.65.

...and proceed with compilation.

Server releases

For all software other than the client (i.e., server, web, and API) a "stable" version is kept in a branch, server_release. Don't use the server software in a client tag or branch; it probably isn't stable.


git tag --list 'server_release*'

to list the available tags for stable server releases.


  • There is no formal testing process for server software. Every so often, when no bugs have been reported for some time, we tag the master branch to server_release.
  • Because of limited resources, bug fixes to server software are normally NOT back-ported from master to server_release.

For these reasons: the master branch is typically a better choice than server_release for server software (should this not be the reverse?? .ed)

Write Access to the Git Repository

Note: you don't need direct write access to contribute code to BOINC. Given the distributed nature of Git you can publish your contributions elsewhere (e.g. on GitHub) or send your patches via mail (using git format-patch).

Direct write access to the main repository is currently available via the SSH protocol with public-key authentication. If you want direct write access, contact David Anderson and/or Rom Walton. They'll ask you for your public-key. Here's how you can create a public/private key pair and use it after you've been granted access to the repository:


Please see this page for details.

Linux/Mac OS X

  • General note: before you start, please check whether you already have an existing key at ~/.ssh/id_rsa. If so, please choose a different key filename for the commands below! Alternatively, you could also reuse the existing key and continue with the final step.
  • Note to Mac OS X users: if you prefer "Finder" over "Terminal" hit CMD+SHIFT+G in "Finder", then enter ~/.ssh to go to that hidden folder.

The following shell/terminal command will create a key pair that gets stored in your ~/.ssh directory:

  • Public key: ~/.ssh/
  • Private key: ~/.ssh/id_rsa
    ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -f ~/.ssh/id_rsa

If you used the standard key filename id_rsa and you want the repository named boinc-v2.git, use the following URL to access the repository:


If you had to use a different key filename because of an existing key that you don't want to overwrite or reuse, you can define a so called ssh host alias that allows you to specify which key to use when accessing the BOINC repo. To do so, add the following to ~/.ssh/config (create the file if necessary), assuming that you created the ssh key as ~/.ssh/boinc-key:

host boinc-git-server
       Port 22
       IdentityFile ~/.ssh/boinc-key
       User gitolite

Now that you have the host alias defined you may access the repo using the alias in the clone URL (instead of the full user/hostname information):

git clone boinc-git-server:boinc-v2.git

Finally, send the public key to David or Rom. Important: the private key should never leave your system! Keep it safe!

Windows build dependencies

All the additional dependency files are now stored in boinc_depends_win_vs2010;; get them using git clone git:// The dependencies should be stored in the same parent directory as the BOINC source code, for example:

+-+ source
    + boinc
    | |
    | + api
    | + client
    | + clientgui
    | + etc...
    + build_depends_vs2010
    | |
    | + curl
    | + openssl
    | + wxwidgets
    | + zlib

When you have older source code, deleting all previous source code and downloading it fresh will sometimes fix the breaks in building BOINC. Make sure to back up your own code prior to deleting the source code.

Source code road map

The BOINC source tree includes the following directories:

The BOINC API (for applications).
Some test applications.
The BOINC client.
The BOINC Manager.
The BOINC screensaver for Windows.
The BOINC Tray component (checks for user activity on Windows).
The database schema and C++ interface layer.
PHP files for the operational web interface.
PHP files for the participant web interface.
PHP include files.
Translation files for project websites.
Code that is shared by more than one component (core client, scheduling server, etc.).
Translation files for BOINC Manager.
Python modules used by tools.
The scheduling server, feeder, and file upload handler.
Several example applications together with Windows and Mac project files and a Linux makefile for building the applications. It also includes Windows versions of some libraries (GLUT, jpeglib, etc.) that many applications will need, but which are not part of BOINC.
Test scripts.
Operational utility programs.
Project files for compiling the client under Windows, and the Windows installer.
Compression functions; not used by BOINC, but may be useful for applications.

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