Installing BOINC on Ubuntu

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Ubuntu is a popular distribution of the GNU/Linux operating system. Ubuntu is in turn based on the Debian distribution of Linux. By default Ubuntu uses the GNOME desktop environment, though it is also possible to use KDE or Xfce. The desktop environment is fairly easy to use even if you have no previous experience with Linux. For more information about Ubuntu, and to download a Live CD, visit This page tells you how you can install the BOINC client software on Ubuntu (and how to uninstall it, if you so desire).

Basic installation

You can easily install the BOINC client software on Ubuntu Linux to run as a daemon, which autostarts the BOINC client at boot time, and to put a BOINC Manager icon on the applications menu. Simply open a Terminal window (via the menu Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal) to get a command line (aka "shell") and give the following command:

sudo aptitude install boinc-client boinc-manager

If you are familiar with the Synaptic package management system you may use that instead to install these two packages.

Non-graphics installation

If you have a "headless" computer with no graphics then you do not want or need the BOINC Manager. In this case just install the client by itself, with the command

sudo aptitude install boinc-client 

See also the page Stop or start BOINC daemon after boot in the BOINC User Manual Wiki for helpful commands for controlling the daemon.

Starting BOINC

After the installation is finished, the daemon is started automatically. You can then start the BOINC Manager from the pull-down menu Applications -> System Tools -> BOINC Manager. The first time you do this you will be prompted to attach to one or more BOINC projects.

After the installation is finished the daemon is configured to start up automatically every time the computer is turned on. You can temporarily disable or re-enable this by modifying a setting in the file /etc/default/boinc-client:

# Set this to 1 to enable and to 0 to disable the init script.

At present it seems that you cannot control the BOINC "service" via the graphical interface, but this may become possible in future releases of the BOINC software.

What the installer does

  1. Puts the BOINC binaries (boinc, boinccmd and boincmgr) in /usr/bin .
  2. Creates a configuration directory /etc/boinc-client containing files cc_config.xml, global_prefs_override.xml, gui_rpc_auth.cfg, and remote_hosts.cfg (It is a Debian convention that such files live under /etc)
  3. Creates the working directory /var/lib/boinc-client/ for BOINC data files and the slots and projects directories. Also creates links from this directory to the files in /etc/boinc-client
  4. Creates a user named boinc. For improved security, this boinc user owns the BOINC working directory and all the data files and sub-directories created under the working directory.
  5. Creates the daemon "init" script, /etc/init.d/boinc-client, and a set of configuration options for the daemon at /etc/default/boinc-client
  6. Sets up the daemon to autostart at boot time.

For more information about configuring BOINC in Linux, see Linux file permissions in the BOINC User Manual WIki.


If you want to use CUDA, install it as described here: .


To remove BOINC from the computer you can use the aptitude command to remove the packages you installed earlier. The command is:

sudo aptitude remove boinc-manager boinc-client

Removing the BOINC Manager may also remove other packages if they are no longer used, such as libwxbase and libwxgtk.

The "remove" command only removes executable files and turns off the daemon, but it does not remove configuration files or the working directory. This can be either good or bad, depending. It means that if you re-install BOINC later you will have the previous configuration. It also means that the disk space used by the working directory is not reclaimed. To completely remove BOINC from your system use the "purge" command instead:

sudo aptitude purge boinc-manager boinc-client

Because issuing the purge command will remove all project data and any work you have in progress, you will be prompted to confirm this action before it is actually carried out.

Again, if you are familiar with the Synaptic package management system you can use that instead of aptitude to either "remove" or "completely remove" these packages.