Folding@Home on OpenSUSE

Tutorial Level: Beginner

I’ve personally been using Folding@Home for about a year now and think it is a great program. It was created by Stanford University as a means of conducting research on human cell growth to aid in finding out more about human diseases and cancerous cell mutation. Although I’ve been using Folding@Home on Windows, I finally switched over to OpenSUSE and wanted to continue folding, but wasn’t sure how to go about doing it on the new operating system. Well, after some trial-and-error, I was finally about to run the program. This isn’t a very long tutorial, but there’s a good amount that can be learned from it, and at the same time can help save lives.

Root Permissions

Please note that you do not have to install and run Folding@Home with root permissions (using the su command). You can simply skip any step that includes the su command. If you install Folding@Home as a root user, you must also run it as root; if it is installed as a normal user, you can run it as a normal user. The reason that the root permissions are included in this tutorial to show and give example of how the su command functions.


Okay, now that we established what Folding@Home is, we need to download the program. I personally use the SMP version, so I’ll write the tutorial about this version of the program. First, we must go to the Folding@Home download page and find the correct distribution. Click here and download the SMP client console version 6.02; the second package on the list. For convenience, download the file to the Desktop. Create a folder called Folding@Home and drag the file into that folder. Later, when we install the package, other files are extracted, so to keep it organized, we create a new folder to store all the files dealing with Folding@Home.


Installing the package is where the terminal comes into play. If you are new to OpenSUSE, don’t worry! To find your terminal, click Computer on the bottom-left of the screen, then click More Applications… and a new window will appear. In the search field, type “terminal” and an application called Gnome Terminal will appear. Click the icon for the program to launch. Now that we have the terminal open and ready to go, we must login as a root user. To do this, simply type…


After your type this, you will be prompted for your root password. Enter the root password and the status line of the terminal will now appear in a red font. You are now a root user. Now we have to view the directory (folder) that the package is located in. To do this, we simply use the cd command. So, to get into the Folding@Home directory, type the following…

cd Desktop/Folding@Home

Now that we’re inside the folder, we can begin the installation. Because the package is a tgz file, we need to extract the files. For this, we must run the tar command with special parameters.

tar xzvf FAH6.02beta1-Linux.tgz

Once this command is run, two files will be extracted into the folder…

  1. mpiexec
  2. fah6

The file we are concerned with is fah6. Now we execute the file by running…


The next few steps are solely based around installation questions by Folding@Home to configure your program. If you are familiar with this setup process, you can simply skip the next few steps and go strait to the removing of the package. First you will be asked to enter a username: if you already have a Folding@Home username, enter it here; if you don’t have a username, create one. Then enter a team number. If you don’t have one, hit the enter button to enter the default. Enter the default for the passkey, and then enter the default when asked whether to ask before sending/fetching work. Lastly, enter the default when asked if you want to run through a proxy and decline (again, by entering the default). Congratulations, you’ve installed Folding@Home on your Linux machine!

Removing Installation Files

Now that we have installed the files, we need to remove the original install package. To complete this, we must use the rm command. To delete the package, run the command below…

rm -r FAH6.02beta1-Linux.tgz

Now the package has been been removed and we are good to go.

Running Folding@Home

Once we install Folding@Home, it may automatically start the program in your terminal window. If it does not, or you want to start the program again at a later time, we have to manually run it. To do this, open up a new terminal (if you already have a terminal open, all you need to do it hit Ctrl+Alt+T and a new window will open inside the same program, keeping you more organized and saving space on the bottom panel). To manually start the program, run the commands below (each line is a new command)…


cd Desktop/Folding@Home


And now you should see Folding@Home outputs in the same terminal window. Please note that if you close the terminal window that Folding@Home is running in, the program will close as well.

Security Alternative

Some may be uncomfortable with allowing Folding@Home accessing your files. An alternative to installing the files directly onto your user documents is creating a new user and installing it to that user’s documents. Then, to access and start the files, open up a virtual window of the other user and start the program the same way you would if you installed it to your own desktop.

Simple Tutorial

I know is looks overwhelming at first, but the tutorial above is broken down into the most basic steps. If you are a more experienced OpenSUSE or Linux user, below are the simple steps to this tutorial.

  1. Download the SMP version to your desktop from here
  2. Create a folder on your desktop called Folding@Home
  3. Move the package into the new folder
  4. Login as root in your terminal
  5. Run cd Desktop/Folding@Home
  6. Run tar xzvf FAH6.02beta1-Linux.tgz
  7. Run ./fah6
  8. Complete the Folding@Home installation questionnaire
  9. Run rm -r FAH6.02beta1-Linux.tgz

~ by unseenghost on 23 May 2008.

One Response to “Folding@Home”

  1. […] Folding@Home Installation Tutorial Thanks guys! __________________ l’artigiano Programming and Design Tutorials Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86GHz, Corsair 2x512MB DDR2 Seagate 7200RPM 160GB, Nvidia GeForce 7900 GS […]

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