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Re: APT-like system for BOINC

On Fri, Dec 26, 2003 at 10:05:06PM -0800, Karl Chen wrote:
> Designing this new system can learn a lot from APT.  Users would
> have a server list similar to /etc/apt/sources.list (format might
> be XML though); at least one source for each project the user has
> joined.  For our own projects (currently SETI@home, Astropulse) by
> default it would point to our servers which have application
> binaries for popular systems.

I read about BOINC a few days ago. APT also popped into my mind when I
learned that it would distribute binaries of multiple projects for
lots of different platforms. I'm glad that the team is putting so much
thought into this and is looking to APT as a model.

> (2) Users of unpopular operating systems that want it to "just
>     work".  They need to be able to add a source from somebody
>     else that has compiled applications for this project for their
>     system.

You mentioned that all binaries would be signed. Would you exempt
unofficial URL's from the cryptographic validation?

> (4) System administrators?

I don't how this should really affect system administration. I've run
several distributed computing projects, all under a user-level
account. The only system-level support that seems merited is an init
script and a dedicated user account, and both are optional. Packages
(deb/rpm/etc) would automate this for people who don't want to bother.

> The update/upgrade process would need to be automatic (and
> optionally not automatic).  Multiple versions of the same
> application, at least temporarily, would be useful.

Perhaps whenever a client checks into the server to get work or report
results it could be notified of the latest version of the binary in
question. How to react to a newer version could be a user setting.

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