This wiki is obsolete, see the NorduGrid web pages for up to date information.


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Debian is a fine distribution of Linux that is provided by a community of users rather than a commercial institution. More rencently, OpenSuSE (Novell) and Fedora (RedHat) have adopted that form of organisation for themselves.

Quick start


Official channels for Debian

All ARC dependencies (Globus, LFC, VOMS, etc) have been part of the official Debian stable release since "squeeze" (Debian 6.0). Backports to the old stable ("lenny") have not yet been addressed via the official initiative. Instead, it is suggested to refer to NorduGrid's repository as shown below. ARC itself is in the testing and unstable distributions. To include these packages to your current Debian installation, please add

deb http://ftp.[yourcountrycode] testing main contrib non-free

to your /etc/apt/sources.list file. If you don't have a Debian mirror with your countrycode, please cross-check with the Debian Mirror List.

NorduGrid's repository

NorduGrid also maintains its own repository which can be used without enabling testing or unstable repositories, or for older versions of Debian.


The archives are signed by the key available at: 

Download the key and then install it in your apt configuration using the command:

sudo apt-key add DEB-GPG-KEY-nordugrid.asc

Client installation

Globus certificate utilities are needed if you need to request a new NorduGrid Grid certificate. Other Certificate Authorities (CAs) may provide different means of issuing Grid certificates.

  sudo apt-get install globus-gsi-cert-utils-progs

Keys of potentially relevant CAs are needed to verify the authenticity of Grid services; a simple approach is to install all of them by using

  sudo apt-get install ca-*

This is however not recommended from the security perspective, and security-conscious people must install necessary certificates one by one.

One can also install CA keys from the original IGTF repository, see section #Installing CA keys from IGTF repository

Then install ARC client itself, which will pull in other necessary packages:

  sudo apt-get install nordugrid-arc-client

In all likelihood, you will need to install Globus plugins as well (as long as GridFTP is around):

  sudo apt-get install nordugrid-arc-plugins-globus

Installing CA keys from EGI repository

EGI has experimental support for Debian when it comes to CA keys:add this repository

  #### EGI Trust Anchor Distribution ####
  deb egi-igtf core

Get the GPG key

  wget -q -O - \ \
    | apt-key add -

And install the packages:

  apt-get update
  apt-get install ca-policy-egi-core

Installing CA keys from IGTF repository

When nothing works or you need an urgent update before the packages are in repositories, get the keys directly from the upstream provider:

  tar xvzf igtf-policy-installation-bundle-1.40.tar.gz
  cd igtf-policy-installation-bundle-1.40
  ./configure --with-profile=classic
  sudo make install

You may need to browse to that repository first and find out what is the most recent version number, instead of 1.40


  • Globus packages are accepted by Debian in June 2009
  • Production ARC packages are in Debian unstable as of June 2011

Motivation to use Debian with Computational Grids

Debian is special in its support of many platforms, across all of which the same set of files is made available at the same locations. Hence, if a software runs on one target, then it should also on all the other Debian systems, if memory and other hardware requirements are met. This is exactly what one needs for Grid Computing when the hardware underneath (PowerPC, Sun, Intel, AMD) may differ.


  • Bioinformatics is mostly provided via the Debian-Med project, a task of which is the provisioning of a Bioinformatics infrastructure. The KnowARC project has produced an interface to the production ARC middleware from the workflow management tool Taverna, which is very popular among bioinformaticians. See
  • Physics is partially addressed by the Debian-Science initiative. This group has already provided the following packages that are available in the regular Debian distribution
  • CERN is buffering packages prior to an official upload in their own Debian repository since there are still license issues with the remote distribution for CERN.

With Mattias Wadenstein and Steffen Möller, there are at least two individuals that are very close to the Debian Society and the NorduGrid. Mattias Ellert does some fantastic bits to Globus, albeit more aiming at Fedora than at Debian, possibly :) Anders Wäänänen laid out the packaging of ARC and maintains all the nice regular builds.


Debian packages as Runtime Environments

The script debian2runtime was developed within the KnowARC project to convert the description of a Debian package into a script that may serve as a runtime environment with production ARC.

Download and post-processing of external data

Together with the Debian-Med community the script getData was developed that downloads, updates and indexes common public databases. It comes with an extensive description that is available on the Debian Wiki pages.

Detailed notes


For the client, the command line tools such as arcsub, arcstat and arcget (counterparts to the old ngsub, ngstat, ngget etc) can be used directly and no specific configuration is necessary.

For services see the official NorduGrid documentation for details. In most cases there is nothing Debian-specific that needs to be done.

Installation of packages

Client installtion

For a client installation, perform as follows

 # execute as root
 apt-get install nordugrid-arc-client 

Presuming that you have certificates that grant Grid access in place already, test it with

 $ arctest -J 2
 $ arcstat <jobid>  <- repeat until job reports "Finished"
 $ arccat "that job id" 

If you can read the "Hello, grid!", then you were successful.

Server installation

For a server installation, execute as root

 apt-get install nordugrid-arc-client nordugrid-arc-server

The client package is only needed to test this installation. If the -libs package is not coming with it, then please install it manually.

The configuration file is expected at


as usual for ARC but not placed there by the install script. Upon installation of the host certificates, preparation of the directories, one can start the services

 /etc/init.d/a-rex start
 /etc/init.d/gridftpd start
 /etc/init.d/grid-infosys start

Now start a test job

 f=`hostname --long`
 arctest -J 2 -d INFO -c $f

Error messages are in /var/log/ and in /var/spool/nordugrid/jobstatus.

Installation of Globus (obsolete now)

You are now ready to perform the downloads:

 # execute as root
 apt-get install gsoap voms globus globus-dev globus-doc

should do. You may be asked if these packages should be trusted if some are not signed. Also, you may be informed that some packages are needed but not installed. It is likely that those needed packages are automatically retrieved by the apt-get tool, aptitude does such, just add those missing packages to the command line.

Shared libraries cache refresh

 # echo "/opt/globus/lib" > /etc/
 # ls -l /etc/
 -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 16 2008-07-25 16:44 /etc/
 # ldconfig 
 ldconfig: /opt/globus/lib/ is not a symbolic link
 ldconfig: /opt/globus/lib/ is not a symbolic link

To build Globus packages for Debian or Ubuntu yourself, this Wiki has very simple to follow instructions.

See also