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Re: Folding@Home Package

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Charles Plessy wrote:
>   Distribution of this software is prohibited. It may only be 
>   obtained by downloading from Stanford's web site
>   (http://folding.stanford.edu and pages linked therein).
> I guess that in that case, there would be a link from the Stanford site to
> packages.debian.org for instance.

There is a FreeBSD packages which installs the F@H client by downloading
the FAH504-Linux.exe binary from the Stanford website. The Gentoo ebuild
works very similar and has been around for a long time.

All these installers have been silently approved by the project as they
don't violate the EULA.

Nick Lewycky wrote a Debian package to install the F@H client on Debian,
fahclient-installer, see:

That specific code is no longer available online AFAIK, but I still have
a copy which I used to add support for multiple CPUs. I never finished
this, due to lack of time, but I can give you the code if you (Zachary
Palmer) like.

> Do they frequently upgrade ? How long can an old client connect ? In that
> case, packaging would be commiting yourself to follow the upgrades
> closely. I do not think that it would help our users if the Debian package
> would periodically provide a binary which is not allowed to connect.

F@H doesn't update its client regularly. The release cycle is possibly
slower than Debian Stable. There has been talk of v6 for several years
now, and I think that version just recently went into alpha testing if
it made it that far (I'm no longer a beta tester with early access to
project info, so I can't verify that).

The v4 F@H client still works eventhough v5 has been out for a long
time. Its usefulness is somewhat reduced because there are no more
deadlineless WUs handed out by the project, but it still works. I don't
think this is a real problem.

> Maybe the Debian-Med packaging team could provide you a safety net by
> co-maintaining the package and hosting the /debian dir in our SVN repo, so
> that you can take holidays without coming back with an obsolete package
> and angry users. However, would the package not be actively followed by a
> dedicated person, it would be better removed (or not packaged at that
> point)

I'm also willing to help co-maintain a Debian package for F@H. I'm
currently the upstream maintainer of qd since Dick Howell passed away,
which Claudio Moratti packaged as part of kfolding. Maybe he's
interested too?

> Lastly, I am not sure that closed-sourceness is the best strategy against
> cheating. I guess that the expertise area of folding@home is structural
> biology, wheras the expertise of cheaters is... well... cheating.

Guaranteeing the integrity of the research is indeed the primary reason
to keep the F@H client and cores closed-source. Even though they are
build with GPL components like Gromacs. But "Folding@Home has been
granted a non-commercial, non-GPL license for Gromacs, so [they] are not
required to release [the] source."



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