PCLinuxOS and BOINC

By | December 29, 2017

That gap between Christmas and New Years is a wonderful time if I’m not on project. That’s when I try to tick entries off that “I Wish I Had Time For…” list. Yes, there will probably be a few more posts about the LS-120 saga, but those will come later. For now I discuss the saga of PCLinuxOS and BOINC. Why here in my blog? Because continuing the conversation in private messages isn’t going to help anyone.

I’ve spoken many times about needing a minimal Linux distro for running BOINC. Whenever I’m going to need to break down a machine for use on something I take the time to try one or more disks I ordered from OSDisc.com. Some of the discussion on PCLinuxOS made it seem like it would be a good candidate. I just wish I had visited the forum and searched for BOINC before I bothered trying.

BOINC has been dropped from the repos. There is a bit of brew-ha-ha going on between myself and a few others in the vein of “no it doesn’t – yes it does.” Rather than enjoy that discussion on my own I thought I would let it educate you dear reader.

I’m sorry too, but there are NOT. Everything needed to run the binaries downloaded from Berkeley is already in the repo.

Which is exactly what I did and what I’m talking about.  For the last 13 years, I have used binaries downloaded from Berkeley, ending with the 7.2.42 version from 2014, which I’m still running today.  How could I be doing this if there are missing libraries?  Just this year and just in case it might be needed, I built 7.6.33 from source.   As it turns out, 7.2.42 continues to work fine for me so I’ve only installed 7.6.33 on a couple of machines for test purposes.

No, I’m not going to name the individual. This isn’t about being evil, this is about improper testing being used to form an opinion. We are all guilty of it at some point. I took pictures so you can run the test yourself and come to your own conclusion.

I chose to skip removing unused hardware support. When I checked the list NVIDIA driver was part of it. BOINC would need NVIDIA to make use of the 384 CUDA core in the machine.

Once the install was complete and I had rebooted I installed all updates after refreshing the package lists.

One thing which never ceases to amaze me in the Linux world is installing a brand new ISO only to find north of 300 files need updating.

Once the updates completed I went to the BOINC download page and selected the recommended version, 7.2.42. After it downloaded I rebooted.

You will note that I’m not as good with RPM based distros as I am with Debian based ones. Took me a bit to remember you have to su root.

A search via synaptic for libwx returned nothing. True, I could have dug out the arcane tools which will tell you just what package provides a certain file, but if libwx was mentioned in a package description it should have returned something. I could have performed a Web search which eventually would return this link for a generalized RPM packaging site. If you scroll down and click on the red bar for PCLinuxOS you see the following:

Which shows the package has been renamed so one would need to create a symbolic link from the command line. But, an ordinary user wouldn’t go to such lengths. An ordinary user would try it like I did, probably not even using synaptic to search for the package after getting the error message.

As to my dutiful corresponder, I have a theory as to why it works for you. It’s simple and not far fetched. You started with an older ISO of PCLinuxOS. One which existed well before the rename. You have been applying updates ever since and the updates aren’t good about deleting old stuff. On your 90+ machines which are successfully running BOINC, you have the library which is now missing from the repo. Yes, if it has been renamed for whatever reason, it is missing.

Because I’ve worked in many environments where testing was a religion, not an afterthought, I’ve developed the habit of testing from scorched earth. Even when I check source code into a repository for a client I rename the working directory then perform a clean pull and rebuild to ensure nothing was missed. People would laugh at me for doing that, until they realized the tool we were using wasn’t good when it came to identifying changed modules. Then they all started doing it.

Could I have hodge-podged getting BOINC to work? Probably, but an end user isn’t going to.

Now, I have spent all of the play time I had and won’t be conducting any further tests for many many months. The screen shots are here and everyone can conduct the test themselves. I suspect the rename came about from trying to keep 32 and 64-bit binaries in the same directory. Many distros used to do this, now most don’t.

Category: Information Technology Thank You Sir May I Have Another Tags: , ,

About seasoned_geek

Roland Hughes started his IT career in the early 1980s. He quickly became a consultant and president of Logikal Solutions, a software consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS application and C++/Qt touchscreen/embedded Linux development. Early in his career he became involved in what is now called cross platform development. Given the dearth of useful books on the subject he ventured into the world of professional author in 1995 writing the first of the "Zinc It!" book series for John Gordon Burke Publisher, Inc. A decade later he released a massive (nearly 800 pages) tome "The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer" which tried to encapsulate the essential skills gained over what was nearly a 20 year career at that point. From there "The Minimum You Need to Know" book series was born. Three years later he wrote his first novel "Infinite Exposure" which got much notice from people involved in the banking and financial security worlds. Some of the attacks predicted in that book have since come to pass. While it was not originally intended to be a trilogy, it became the first book of "The Earth That Was" trilogy: Infinite Exposure Lesedi - The Greatest Lie Ever Told John Smith - Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars When he is not consulting Roland Hughes posts about technology and sometimes politics on his blog. He also has regularly scheduled Sunday posts appearing on the Interesting Authors blog.

2 thoughts on “PCLinuxOS and BOINC

  1. neilrieck

    While I am a huge fan of both folding@home and BOINC, I have only attempted to get folding@home working with Linux. Getting the Nvidia drivers installed with CentOS-7 was not entirely straight forward as I have documented here: http://neilrieck.net/docs/folding_at_home.html#linux
    Apparently the RedHat and CentOS distros depend upon something called ELRepo (The Community Enterprise Linux Repository)

    1. seasoned_geek Post author

      I feel your pain neil. OpenSuSE has went the “we don’t support NVIDIA” route with the latest disk I purchased from OSDisc. I’ve even started a message thread at LinuxQuestions hoping someone who likes playing with the “gen your own ISO” tools would create a BOINC specific distro which had NVIDIA pre-installed.

      https://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-distributions-5/a-boinc-specific-distro-4175619974/

      It would only need to be regenned once every 5 years or so.

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