Here are a few quick steps to get you up and folding on a G3, G4 or G5 Mac, with extra info on folding on Intel Macs, and in Windows and Linux (Last revision 3/2007 by susato - A work in progress)
If you haven't yet visited our [url=http://teammacosx.org/NQS/index.html]Folding Beginners start-up page[/url] that is probably a better place to start. This FAQ entry has some extra historical material and advice for special cases. Enjoy and let me know what you find helpful (or confusing): team (dot) mac (dot) osx (at) gmail (dot) com
OK - let's get started!
1. Determine what "nickname" you want to use for your involvement in this important scientific project. It should be unique and you will probably never want to change it, so choose carefully. If you would like to check out the type of "nicknames" that others on your Team have chosen, you can review your [url=http://vspx27.stanford.edu/teamstats/team1971.html]Team's statistics page[/url]. Yes! We have selected some interesting ones, haven't we? Think different!
Please do NOT use your email address for your folding name. Doing so may make your stats less conveniently available, among other disadvantages.
There is a page at Stanford to check your final name selection for Folding at Home to make sure it's valid and unique. Please [url=http://vspx27.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/main.py?qtype=userstats]click here to do so now[/url] . (Clicking opens a new window; just close it after you "search" there for the name you would like to adopt - using both the 'starts with' and 'is exactly' search options)
2. Check if your operating system is compatible with Folding. On the Apple platform, that means Mac OS X 10.1.3 or newer. Unfortunately, Mac OS 9 and earlier are not supported for "Folding at home." The G3, G4, and the G5 Macs and Intel Macs are all supported and a minimum speed of 300 MHz processors is recommended to be able to finish a Work Unit in the allowable amount of time. Windows machines should run Windows 98, 2000, 2003 or XP and run at 800 MHz or faster. As for Linux, pretty much any standard distro should be fine - many of us like Ubuntu - and a minimum speed of 500 MHz.
3. Bookmark your new [url=http://teammacosx.org/ikonboard.pl]Team forum[/url]. Then [url=http://teammacosx.org/forumtest/ucp.php?mode=register] Register as a forum member[/url] here so that assistance can be provided promptly if necessary. We have are Help Forums, Hints and Tips, and much much more here. You do not have to post. This step is optional but potentially valuable. Er, don't spend the entire day here after registering! Join in on the fun later if you wish. We need to get you folding!
4. Pick a folding client There are three different types of "Folding at Home" applications that you may use on any of the Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux computer platforms. If you want the details, read on. Our standard recommendation for a G3, G4, or G5 Mac is to use InCrease, available on our [url=http://teammacosx.org/software.html]software page[/url] or [url=http://teammacosx.org/NQS/index.html]Folding Beginners start-up page[/url].
- a. Command Line Interface (CLI)
This version provides the greatest power and flexibility and is the one that most experienced folders use. Most of us run it through InCrease as explained on our [url=http://teammacosx.org/NQS/index.html]Folding Beginners start-up page[/url]. Power users can run it from the Terminal window using Unix commands.
Still using a modem? Take a look at Bobo-X on the Team sponsored [url=http://teammacosx.org/software.html] software page [/url] for more details.
b. Graphical Client (GUI)
If you want the absolutely simplest way to install Folding on a PPC Mac, or just want to watch the simulations of the proteins folding, you may like the GUI client. The benefits are that it is easy to install and you can watch it work. This client requires OpenGL and will not display graphics on some pre-2001 Macs with chipsets that Apple has not provided OpenGL drivers for. The drawback to the GUI client is that you need to be actually logged in to your computer for it to work. You will not be able to optimize your production using this client. Nor will you be able to utilize both processors of a dual processor Mac. Finally, it works very poorly on Intel Macs. You can get the GUI client at the [url=http://folding.stanford.edu/download.html] Stanford downloads page. [/url] Installation is as simple as following the prompts it gives you - nothing much to it at all.
c. Screen Saver (for the sake of completeness)
The Screen Saver client is a client that only folds when you have the screen saver active. If you need a screensaver that requires a password to get back into the system, this is NOT for you! Also, it doesn't work with a modem or with Intel macs. It's old, slow and clunky, but it does work, kinda sorta, and you can get it from the [url=http://folding.stanford.edu/download.html]Stanford downloads page.[/url]
Intel Macs As of November 2006 a new and highly productive folding application was released for multi-core Intel Macs. Called the "SMP Client" for symmetric multiprocessing, it allows both (or all 4) cores of your Intel Mac to work together on one protein. You can download Stanford's [url=http://www.stanford.edu/group/pandegroup/folding/download.html]SMP folding installer[/url] (second to last in the list on the linked page) but we prefer to use InCrease, which provides more information and (we think) a more intuitive interface than the Stanford installer. Power users can also download a version of the SMP client that runs from the command line (last on the above linked page).
The only problematic Macs for folding are the Core Solo versions, as single-core machines cannot run the SMP client. It is possible to fold using InCrease, or any of the Stanford Mac clients, on the Core Solo Macs - however folding productivity is quite low, comparable to a 500 MHz G3, because all the mathematical operations must be run unoptimized through Rosetta. If you have access to a legal copy of Windows XP, we recommend installing Boot Camp and re-booting your Intel Mac to fold under the Windows OS when you are not using it. (e.g. nights and weekends, for a work machine). The Windows client runs at native speeds under Win XP and can be monitored using Electron Microscope or other Windows monitoring applications.
Some of our members have had success folding under [url=http://www.parallels.com/]Parallels Desktop for Mac[/url] ($79.99) or [url=http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/beta/] VMware Mac Fusion Beta[/url] (still free) , emulation environments which allow the user to install "guest operating systems" and run Linux and Windows apps under them at near-native speeds. If you decide to try one of these, please register for the forum to get one-on-one help from our "friendly experts".
If you will be using the "Folding at Home" client on a non-Mac OS platform (such as Windows or Linux), we suggest the instructions at the following links.
Windows We love our MacOS X, but frankly, Windows and Linux machines can be great folders. You can download the Windows Graphical client from [url=http://folding.stanford.edu/download.html] Stanford's download page[/url], or install Folding on Windows NT, 2K or XP as a service using the Windows Folding Service Installer available on our team's [url=http://teammacosx.org/software.html] software page. [/url] (third from the top) The Folding Service Installer starts folding when the machine is booted and keeps going even when you log out. If you're installing more than one instance of folding, be sure to set the machine ID to 2 for the second instance. This can be done under advanced options during setup of the folding service. If you'd like someone to talk you through the install (perhaps you are a Mac user with limited Windows experience) ask on the forums and someone will volunteer.
UNIX Linux, Open BSD, Wine, etc. The Linux client can be downloaded directly from [url=http://folding.stanford.edu/download.html] Stanford's download page.[/url], or can be installed using a third-party script called [url=http://www.vendomar.ee/%7Eivo/finstallFAQ.txt]Finstall[/url], developed by Ivoshiee from another team. We have collectively folded on at least a dozen different Linux distros, with Ubuntu currently the most popular. If you have questions, just pop a post into our Help Central or Folding Software forum sections, and watch Pluts, Ivo, Dieter, Bob or Jean come to your aid!
4. Now that you have your nickname, and are registered on your Team site, Let's get you folding!
Gromacs, Tinkers, DGromacs, GBGromacs "cores"
These are all types of Work Unit, labeled according to the type of software "core" which does the actual folding calculations. (Oh yeah, a work unit is a little piece of a folding simulation, small enough that your computer can handle it in a time frame between several hours and two weeks or so)
"Gromacs" is a versatile and powerful folding core which takes advantage of the advanced hardware optimizations on G4's and G5's, such as Altivec, and runs 50-100% faster than the older "Tinker" core. Tinkers run slowly on G4's due to poor optimization in the FORTRAN compiler, but they run very well on G5's and pretty well on G3's too. DGromacs are double precision Gromacs work units, and GBGromacs are "Generalized Born" Gromacs or more popularly "Great Big" Gromacs. Using InCrease or the CLI/console client on your Mac, you can set your machine to fold the type of work units best suited to it whenever they are available. See our [url=http://teammacosx.org/forumtest/viewtopic.php?f=204&t=989]recommendations for folding client settings[/url] to optimize folding on your Mac using the CLI or InCrease, or your Intel or AMD machine. If you're using the Mac or Windows graphical client or screensaver, don't worry about this now - but do plan to ask in the forums about upgrading to a more efficient client.
What about security issues?
The Pande Group at Stanford has worked hard to maintain the best security possible with modern computer science methodology. The software will upload and download data only from the data server at Stanford. The computational "Core" used to do the 'data crunching' is digitally signed to make sure that you are getting true Stanford cores and NOTHING else. Same for all the work units you download. The client/screen savers are ONLY available for download from the official Pande Group Stanford web site.
Can I run Folding@Home on a machine I don't own?
Please only run Folding@Home on machines you own or on which you have the permission of the owner to run the software. Any other use of Folding@Home violates the Pande Group's license agreement. (and just isn't a good idea in general) If you help family, friends, or co-workers with their computers, it's perfectly appropriate to ask if you can install Folding for them to try out. Do you administer a corporate or academic network? We have several Team MacOS X members who run Folding on sizable networks of Macs or PC's and who can advise you on the fine points of large scale folding. Just ask!
[size=120]The main objective of our Team, other than Folding on our computers,
is to help one another improve, so enjoy and have fun here at the
Team Mac OSX forum.[/size]
[size=140]Start spreading the word: "Folding is good for you!"[/size]