The core client is a process which:
- Takes care of communications between the client and the server.
- The core client also downloads science applications, provides a unified logging mechanism, makes sure science application binaries are up-to-date, and schedules CPU resources between science applications (if several are installed).
- Although the core client is capable of downloading new science applications, it does not update itself. BOINC's authors felt doing so posed an unacceptable security risk, as well as all of the risks that automatic update procedures have in computing.
- On Unix, the core client is generally run as a daemon (or occasionally as a cron job).
- On Windows, BOINC initially was not a Windows service, but an ordinary application. BOINC Client for Windows, Versions 5.2.13 and higher add, during installation, the option of "Service Installation".
- Depending on how the BOINC client software was installed, it can either run in the background like a daemon, or starts when an individual user logs in (and is stopped when the user logs out). The software version management and work-unit handling provided by the core client greatly simplifies the coding of science applications.
The core client communicates with the The BOINC Manager or Boinccmd tool using remote procedure calls. By default a core client only allows connections from the same computer, but it can be configured to allow connections from other computers (optionally using password authentication); this mechanism allows one person to manage a farm of BOINC installations from a single workstation. A drawback to the use of RPC mechanisms is that they are often felt to be security risks because they can be the route by which hackers can intrude upon targeted computers (even if it's configured for connections from the same computer).