So, I got the idea to take an old PC with no OS and turn it into a dedicated BOINC machine. To save on costs, I decided to use Ubuntu 18.04 for the OS. I never used it before, so challenge accepted.

Below is the installation process I used. The difficult part was finding all the commands I had to run to install the graphics drivers (i.e. Nvidia).

Hopefully, this post will help anyone else or myself when I set up another BOINC machine.

NOTE: This process documents the bare minimum to get BOINC running on the machine. If there is anything else that would be useful to add to the instructions, please do so.


Install the OS:

  1. Download Ubuntu

  2. Create a USB bootable flash drive

  3. Install Ubuntu from the USB drive.

I use Remote Desktop to log into the new Ubuntu machine, so I need to find the IP address of the new machine and install xrdp. In a terminal window, run the following commands:

  1. Type: sudo apt install net-tools
  2. Type: sudo apt-get install xrdp
  3. Type: ifconfig. Note the IP address of the machine.

At this point, I use RDP to log in and continue the process.

Install BOINC

  1. In a terminal window, type: sudo apt install boinc-client boinc-manager

If you have a graphics card and want to run GPU work units, you need to install the drivers.

For Nvidia,

  1. Type: sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall. This will install the video drivers and any other drivers your machine may need. You can research and install the specific drivers you need but I'm lazy and went with this option.

  2. Reboot. BOINC will not recognize the graphics card until you do.

  3. Install OpenCL, type: sudo apt install ocl-icd-libopencl1. This was the pain point for me. BOINC recognized the graphics card, but would not download GPU work units. I found an error in the BOINC Event Log that mentioned it was not compatible with OpenCL. After some Google searching, I found this command.
  4. Reboot. BOINC will not download GPU work units until you do.

Congratulations! You now have BOINC set up on your new Ubuntu computer. You should be able to run CPU and GPU work units. Go ahead an attach projects or account managers based on your needs.

  • If anyone knows the instructions for installing the AMD graphics drivers, please update the instructions. I only have Nvidia cards, so I cannot confirm the necessary process. Thanks. – Dark Lord of the Code Oct 8 '18 at 0:37
  • You can include this link or necessary details from there with reference. I guess it should be sufficient and works. Thanks :) – Kulfy Oct 8 '18 at 14:06

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