Fight­ing the Coro­n­avirus with FreeB­SD (Folding@Home)

Pho­to by Fusion Med­ical Ani­ma­tion on Unsplash

Here is a quick HOWTO for those which want to pro­vide some FreeB­SD based com­pute resources to help find­ing vac­cines. I have not made a port out of this and do not know yet if I get the time to make one. If some­one wants to make a port, go ahead, do not wait for me.

UPDATE 2020-03-22: 0mp@ made a port out of this, it is in “biology/lin­ux-foldin­gath­ome”.

  • Down­load the lin­ux RPM of the Folding@Home client (this cov­ers fah­client only).
  • Enable the lin­ux­u­la­tor (ker­nel moduls and linux_base (first part of chap­ter 10.2) is enough).
  • Make sure linprocfs/linsysfs are mount­ed in /com­pat/lin­ux/{proc|sys}.
  • cd /compat/linux
  • tar -xf /path/to/fahclient....rpm
  • add the “fah­client” user (give it a real home direc­to­ry)
  • make sure there is no /compat/linux/dev or alter­na­tive­ly mount devfs there
  • mkdir /compat/linux/etc/fahclient
  • cp /compat/linux/usr/share/doc/fahclient/sample-config.xml /compat/linux/etc/fahclient/config.xml
  • chown -R fahclient /compat/linux/etc/fahclient
  • edit /compat/linux/fahclient/config.xml: mod­i­fy user (manda­to­ry) / team (option­al: FreeB­SD team is 11743) / passkey (option­al) as appro­pri­ate (if you want to con­trol the client remote­ly, you need to mod­i­fy some more parts, but some­how the client “los­es” a filedescrip­tor and stops work­ing as it should if you do that on FreeB­SD)
  • If you have the home direc­to­ries of the users as no-exec (e.g. seper­ate ZFS datasets with exec=off): make sure the home direc­to­ry of the fah­client user has exec per­mis­sions enabled
  • cd ~fahclient (impor­tant! it tries to write to the cur­rent work direc­to­ry when you start it)
  • Start it: /usr/sbin/daemon /compat/linux/usr/bin/FAHClient /compat/linux/etc/fahclient/config.xml --run-as fahclient --pid-file=/var/run/fahclient.pid >/dev/null 2>&1

Per default it will now pick up some SARS-CoV‑2 (COVID-19) relat­ed fold­ing tasks. There are some more con­fig options (e.g. how much of the sys­tem resources are used). Please refer to the offi­cial Folding@Home site for more infor­ma­tion about that. Be also aware that there is a big rise in com­pute resources donat­ed to Folding@Home, so the pool of avail­able work units may be emp­ty from time to time, but they are work­ing on adding more work units. Be patient.

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