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Joined: 04/27/2022
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Nowadays nearly all linux apps distribute with packages (like deb,rpm,flatpak and so on)or build scripts(like PKGBUILD),and they all install the apps in directories that do not allow normal users to create or write files.

I was recently surprised to know foldit was not available in AUR(it distribute PKGBUILDs for archlinux and nearly all apps can be got there) and decided to write a PKGBUILD and submit there.But I found that the above problem doesn't have a easy workaround.Moreover,foldit seems to automatically update itself.this also brings problems as we want to control the version by package managers.

In short,there are two requests here:
1.allow users to set a directory other than the same directory of the executable file(and if the directory does not exist,try to create it);
2.allow users to disable automatic update.
And these settings need to be applied either via setting environment variables (like DATA_DIR=~/.local/share/foldit ALLOW_UPDATE=false foldit) or modifying config files.

If the developers can take and implement the above two suggestions, I will be very grateful!

rmoretti's picture
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Joined: 01/15/2010
Groups: Foldit Staff
Foldit is intended for user-level installs.

The intended use case is to install Foldit as a user-level program (rather than system-level one). On pretty much all Linuxes (and Mac & Windows, for that matter), you should be able to install a copy of Foldit into your home directory and run it from there. This is an installation method which has a long history on *nix machines, though one which is admittedly less prevalent these days. We really haven't considered system-level installs (which is what package managers typically are for) for several reasons.

Foldit is under active scientific development. Very often we have rather tight coordination between code updates and puzzle posting. That is, shortly (like a day or two) after we post an updated client version we will post a new scientific puzzle which makes use of new features introduced in the update, and which might cause older versions of the client to crash. As such, we don't really recommend that people ignore or delay the autoupdates. (My concern with a package manager system would be that there would be substantial delays in the update to the version being provided there, particularly as we tend to release updates somewhat frequently, sometimes twice a month or more. -- That's ignoring potential licensing/copyright issues with attempting to re-host Foldit from a non-Fold.it server.)

Honestly, I'm not sure what benefit a package manager gives to a Foldit install. Due to licensing issues, the Foldit client is distributed as binary only, so there would not be any recompilation for particular systems that it could manage. Additionally, the Foldit install is extremely self-contained (Foldit does not install any files outside of its directory), so there's not much benefit when it comes to keeping track of installed files or uninstalling (to uninstall Foldit, simply delete the Foldit directory).

We also try to keep the number of external dependencies rather minimal and basic (and working with rather old versions). There are a few dependencies, though, so a package manager might help there. But if that's a concern, I might just suggest putting together a "foldit_dependencies" pseudo-package which handles that, rather than attempting to install Foldit proper with a package manager.

The concept of one Foldit executable which can work with potentially multiple working directories is a good idea, but I'm thinking its use is more to support people who run with multiple working directories, rather than for a system-level install approach.

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Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
Supported by: DARPA, NSF, NIH, HHMI, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, Boehringer Ingelheim, RosettaCommons