Please note some information on this page may be out of date, and in need of updating.


Bug tracking

Everything works fine but some submissions get evaluated as erroneous

If this is fewer than 10 in 100 times then this may be some physiological behaviour. The submitted results are not all 100% identical when run on different machines.

Where to find status reports on clients

The boinc-client installed by the Debian package does not perform the actual computation. That is performed by the binary downloaded dynamically by that client. The web site of the project features entries for each result which may be indicative of one problem or the other.

Experiencing core dumps - how to get a backtrace with gdb

On some platforms, e.g. SPARC and PowerPCs, some users have reported core dumps of the boinc client. A backtrace lists the functions that were called. This only works for binaries that were compiled with the -g debug flag and are not stripped. Such are distributed with the boinc-dbg package. After its installation run boinc_client with the GNU Debugger gdb. This page has some detailed instructions how to run gdb. Make sure to have shut down the system-wide boinc_client by invoking "/etc/init.d/boinc-client stop" when debugging.


(Graphics processes seem to be forked from boincmgr now, with user's uid instead of boinc-client's uid, so it works by default. Thus, the following is only useful for very old version of boinc.)

Graphics are supported, but they won't show up by default. The X display needs to be accessible to the BOINC graphics processes in order to see the interesting graphics for, e.g., Einstein@Home, and it isn't by default.

Your X display can be made accessible to all local UNIX socket connections, including the ones from BOINC, by running

xhost +local:

This is generally safe on single-user machines, though not ideal. It is a bad idea on multi-user machines, so don't do it there.

If you're concerned about security a more limited version of the above is

xhost +si:localuser:boinc

This will only give access to the "boinc" user that boinc_client runs as.

Then, the "Show graphics" button in boincmgr, or the --result ... graphics_window option to boinc_cmd, will actually work. Unfortunately, when it doesn't work because of failed X authorization, it does not report the error back to boinc_cmd or boinc_mgr, and the only trace of the error is in some log file in the result directory /var/lib/boinc-client/slots/<whatever>.

Command Line Only

Successfully running BOINC from the command line may take a little work. The package installs boinc_client as a daemon service running under user boinc. When working from the command line only, this means using boinc_cmd to communicate with the boinc_client service.

boinc_cmd can be a little frustration to work with, the man page needs a volunteer to step up and the feedback from the command is minimalistic. By default, the output from boinc_client is piped to log files in /var/lib/boinc-client/ (stdoutdae.txt and stderrdae.txt). These will need to be consulted when troubleshooting.

The first command you should use should be

boinc_cmd --get_state

Why not try it! When it works, you'll see lots of information about the projects you are (or are not) running but it's likely not to work just yet.


The first stumbling block is that (for security reasons) boinc_cmd should not be authorized to connect to the daemon initially. boinc_client will have invented a random password (to protect the connection to the boinc_client daemon and is nothing at all to do with project passwords) and put it into /var/lib/boinc-client/gui_rpc_auth.cfg. You'll probably want to edit this file so that it contains the password you want to use.

boinc_client will need to be restarted for this change to take effect. This can be done thus:

/etc/init.d/boinc-client restart

Now try

boinc_cmd --host localhost --passwd <YOUR PASSWORD> --get_state

Hopefully it should work now.

Signing Up

When using the command line, you'll need to sign up using a form on the project website. In return, you will receive an email containing important information looking something like:

Welcome to SETI@home.
This email confirms your account with SETI@home:
    Project URL:
    Account Key:         xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    User name:           Your User Name
For further information and assistance with SETI@home go to

You now need to ask boinc_client to attach each project you want to run. Use

boinc_cmd --host localhost --passwd <YOUR PASSWORD>  --project_attach xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

where xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx is the account key contained in the email.

To attach the boinc_client to your SETI-account use

boinc_cmd --host localhost --passwd <YOUR PASSWORD>  --lookup_account YourEmail YourSetiPassword

To check that this has been successful, use:

boinc_cmd --host localhost --passwd <YOUR PASSWORD> --get_state

You should now see your projects listed under Projects, a little like

======= Projects =======
1) -----------
   name: SETI@home
   master URL:

and a lot of other information as well.

If this doesn't work for you, start by consulting the logs in the /var/lib/boinc-client directory.

Installing and configuring BOINC without boincmgr on Debian Etch

This is how I installed and configured BOINC on an underused Debian Etch server. It seems to work fine.

# apt-get install boinc-client
# boinc_cmd --project_attach 00000000000000000000000000000000
# boinc_cmd --project update
# boinc_cmd --set_run_mode always
# boinc_cmd --set_network_mode always
# boinc_cmd --project resume

Or with account creation (necessary with some projects):

$ boinc_cmd --create_account password username
$ boinc_cmd --create_account_poll
<some key printed>
$ boinc_cmd --project_attach <printed key>
$ boinc_cmd --project resume

You can monitor your installation with:

# boinc_cmd --get_state
# boinc_cmd --get_messages 0

Going back to older version

Once you have agglomerated evidence that something is wrong with the current version of the boinc client, it may be worth to consider a downgrade to the previous version. Not all problems may occur with all clients, with an increasing number of clients you may indeed be the first to experience a particular issue.

Debian has a snapshot functionality. The link below please reset to the date you feel that everything last worked: Download the respective boinc-client and boinc-manager .deb packages and run dpkg -i on the boinc-*.deb.