I am happy to announce that after many months of development and testing, the new version 7 Folding@home client software is now available for open-beta testing! The V7 client is a complete rewrite of the previous client for Windows, OS-X and Linux with the following goals:
- To make the installation and startup user-friendly for the novice.
- To integrate the user interface into a single Monitor/Control program that manages the functionality previously contained in separate clients.
- To create a forward-looking design that can be readily expanded to incorporate new Folding Cores without the need to issue new client releases.
- To greatly improve previously problematic aspects including support for SMP, GPU, and the 3D viewer.
Please consider reading the guides listed in the documentation section, however, you want to dive right in if you want to by downloading and installing the new client. However, since this is a beta client, you can expect occasional bugs so please bear with us.
Installation and user guides can be found here:
FAHControl -> The Graphical User Interface (GUI) what controls the Slots.
FAHViewer -> It shows the protein being folded, if applicable.
Pictorial Installation Guide (Windows) -> A detailed pictorial guide on the V7 installation.
Installation Guide (Windows) -> A brief guide on Windows installation.
Installation Guide (Linux) -> A guide for Linux installation.
Installation Guide (OSX) -> A guide for OSX installation that is in progress.
Client Remote Interface -> Documentation for 3rd party developers.
Main Page -> Main page of the V7.
The new client has too many features to list but here are some of the highlights:
- Support for FahCore_16 on HD 5000 or higher GPUs.
- Improved Windows installer with support for Windows XP, Vista, 2008 and Windows 7.
- 64-bit OS-X install package. (32-bit is in the works).
- Debian/Ubuntu and RedHat/Fedora/CentOS 32-bit and 64-bit Linux packages.
- Low priority background operation has very little impact on your computers usability. You should hardly notice Folding@home is running when using other applications.
- A more compatible and stable 3D protein viewer with several view modes, rotation, zoom, online help and interpolated protein animations.
- Separate but integrated console client (FAHClient), user interface (FAHControl) and 3D protein viewer (FAHViewer).
- Novice, Advanced & Expert user interface modes. (See drop down list in FAHControl.)
- Support for more than one Folding Slot (UNI, SMP or GPU).
- Ability to monitor, configure and control many remote folding clients from a single computer.
- Very low CPU overhead for FAHClient, FAHControl and FAHViewer. 3D viewer overhead can be minimized by disabling rotating and protein animation.
- Single client for normal (Uniprocessor), SMP (Multiple CPUs) and GPU (Graphics Processors) folding.
The V7 client has undergone months of testing but due to the complex nature of distributed computing, many features provided by the Folding@home client and the difficulties of simultaneously supporting software on Windows, OS-X and Linux, there are still some open bugs, feature requests and likely other as of yet undiscovered issues. The beta testing process will help us test new features and fix any remaining bugs before we make a full public release. That said the open-beta V7 client is very usable and has many advantages over the previous client releases.
In an effort to increase the transparency of our development process we have decided to open read-only access to our bug tracking system. We are currently using Trac, a Web based system which, among other things, manages a database of tickets. Each ticket represents either a bug or feature request of some component of the Folding@home client software. You can view the list of open tickets by selecting one of the appropriate report:
Open Tickets Ordered by Milestone and Priority
Active Tickets by Change Time
Aside from the documentation the best place to get help is in this forum. If you do have a problem post a message. There are many knowledgeable people ready and willing to help you but keep in mind we greatly appreciate thorough reports delivered by patient people who can keep a cool head even when things go wrong.
There are many ways to contribute to the Folding@home project. Here are some ideas:
- Thoroughly investigate and report a bug or idea for a new feature.
- Organize a folding team.
- Organize a Folding@home event in your community to help bring in new folders.
- Write a blog entry about Folding@home. This can be great even if yours is not a technical blog.
- Post a message to your friends and family on Facebook urging them to fold.
- Help someone install Folding@home or solve a problem.
- Tell us what you think of the new client.
We are very excited to see this software make its way around the world improving and expanding Folding@home and thereby increasing our understanding of how proteins fold and ultimately helping to find cures for some of our societies scariest diseases. We greatly appreciate your participation and understand that without your generous contributions of time and computing resources there would be no Folding@home.
So dive right in and let us know about your experience.