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Question: Should CPU mining be removed from cgminer?
Yes - 55 (62.5%)
No - 19 (21.6%)
Compile time selection - 10 (11.4%)
Don't care - 4 (4.5%)
Total Voters: 88

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Author Topic: CGMINER - Remove CPU mining?  (Read 17045 times)
-ck
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January 12, 2012, 04:46:50 AM
 #1

Increasingly, CPU mining for bitcoins is becoming irrelevant. The only people who still are CPU mining either have access to free electricity by pilfering it off someone else or have some very rare set up involving solar power or something else. Worse yet, it is the number one target for trojans creating illegal botnets or using power on work computers in an unauthorised fashion. The only use I still have for CPU mining is as a test that cgminer works on machines that have no GPUs that can mine.

As maintainer of cgminer, while the CPU mining code is what cgminer started out as, I find it an annoyance to maintain, with random bug reports about difficulty building it, performance being not as good as the best CPU mining algorithms, 64 bit versions not being available for windows, older assemblers failing to compile it, requests for more sse* support, patch submissions to improve CPU mining by .1 MH/s and so on. The fact is it's not much more than annoyance to me and any time I spend working on the CPU mining code is time I could have spent usefully on the GPU mining code. Also, as CPU miners earn almost nothing by mining, their contribution to my BTC balance is never going to be some kind of incentive for me to work on it. The only ones earning a lot from it (the illegal botnets) are most definitely not donating.

Furthermore, FPGA mining code is coming to cgminer, and adds yet another type of device that cgminer will support, but a useful one. At this time, the code has been abstracted out to work with any additional devices in the future, but it also makes it an ideal time to remove the CPU mining code, which is in my eyes, irrelevant.

I would like to remove it entirely, but it wouldn't be difficult to keep the existing code there and make it not compile unless consciously configured at build time. I fear that this will end up being even more work than just leaving it as is, since the same number of people will be wanting CPU support.

Clearly my preference is to remove it. Comments would be appreciated too. Saying "it's good to keep" without explaining why I should have to maintain it will not be a convincing argument. Oh and I'd be happy for someone to step up and maintain it and I would pull their changes into the master git tree unless their code proved unsatisfactory.

Thanks.

Primary developer/maintainer for cgminer and ckpool/ckproxy.
Pooled mine at kano.is, solo mine at solo.ckpool.org
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January 12, 2012, 04:53:38 AM
 #2

CPU mining is still useful for testnet, at least. Perhaps just make it clear on downloads that any further CPU-specific enhancements need to be funded by a donation, or submitted as a patch?

Edit: To clarify, I do NOT think any effort should be spent improving CPU mining, but at the same time, I don't see any reason to remove it or reject improvements from others.

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January 12, 2012, 04:57:02 AM
 #3

I say kill it.  The feature list of cgminer has grown significantly over the last year.  RPC adds a whole host of new capabilities but also new potential bugs and maintenance issues.  CPU mining is useless for legit miners.  Even miners who have "free electricity" (students living in dorm for example) don't have sufficient number of CPU to earn more than a couple bitcents a day.

Thus for CPU mining to be useful one needs huge numbers of CPU PLUS huge amounts of "free" electricity.  Continuing to devote scarce resources to a tool that is used by botnets operators, rogue system admins, and trojan developers seems foolish.

There are other CPU miners available.  The code can be branched off and if there is enough interest and financial support someone could make a streamlined, optimized CPU only version.
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January 12, 2012, 05:14:55 AM
 #4

Remove cpu mining. I know what a pain it can be to maintain legacy code and what affect it can have on program stability and just ease of maintenance. Few are going to miss it. Time to move on.

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January 12, 2012, 05:19:25 AM
 #5

agree totally remove it - it's lame and pointless and wastes your resources as well as natural resources and hurts innocents as well.

Also all these viri and shit showing up will most likely be in the news eventually and it will most likely be used to badmouth/hurt bitcoins overall i.e. media when/if that happens
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January 12, 2012, 05:26:07 AM
 #6

As long as there's an old version on Git that has the code I don't see why it needs to be in current versions any more. Anyone who wants it can just grab a version that had it. I look forward to FPGA support and hope it will be modular enough that hardware devs can easily add their specific device support whether it be USB, JTAG, serial or whatever.

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January 12, 2012, 05:32:15 AM
 #7

As long as there's an old version on Git that has the code I don't see why it needs to be in current versions any more. Anyone who wants it can just grab a version that had it. I look forward to FPGA support and hope it will be modular enough that hardware devs can easily add their specific device support whether it be USB, JTAG, serial or whatever.
The BitForce FPGA support is itself only about 250 lines of code. The refactor I wrote first replaced/touched nearly 900 lines, making it easy to add new mining devices.

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January 12, 2012, 05:37:08 AM
 #8

Heh, it also means that anyone wanting other CPU code added knows where they can go ... Smiley

I only use CPU mining for testing since I only have 1 PC with ATI cards in it - so although even I have a use for it (that I sort of need) I like the idea of it being gone also

I'll even take out the CPU code from api.c when you get to doing it Smiley

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January 12, 2012, 07:49:49 AM
 #9

I know ckolivas don't like Litecoin but, change the CPU-mining to Scrypt and let me ask to pooler if he can port his assembly cpuminer and maintain that portion of cgminer.

I don't know exactly why but, I believe in CPU-coins too... It can bring much more people to CryptoCurrencies... Right?!

CGminer RULEZ!!! It is the best Bitcoin miner out there!!

Thank you ckolivas for your time and hard work!!

Best,
Thiago

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January 12, 2012, 08:14:35 AM
 #10

Hmm, I use the CPU miner as I don't have to care about electricity (I pay a flat fee to to my hoster) .
Why don't you just leave the code "as is", disable it by default and add a configure switch (e.g. "--enable-cpu")? I think this should cover most of your concerns.
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January 12, 2012, 08:48:31 AM
 #11

Let's make cgminer lightweight and easy to maintain.
I say shoot CPU mining in the head and concentrate on relevant tasks.
The last thing we need is stagnation when Conman bogs down in all that ancient code with all its special cases, assembler optimizations and what not.
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January 12, 2012, 09:02:07 AM
 #12

I know ckolivas don't like Litecoin but, change the CPU-mining to Scrypt and let me ask to pooler if he can port his assembly cpuminer and maintain that portion of cgminer.

I don't know exactly why but, I believe in CPU-coins too... It can bring much more people to CryptoCurrencies... Right?!

CGminer RULEZ!!! It is the best Bitcoin miner out there!!

Thank you ckolivas for your time and hard work!!

Best,
Thiago
Thanks for your support of cgminer Smiley To be perfectly honest, I wish that CPU mining was the end of the discussion and that  GPUs weren't better at mining bitcoin specifically. However, that is NOT the case, and I believe in bitcoin more. I have no love whatsoever for alternative currencies and even if someone offered to keep CPU mining code maintained for the sake of alternative currencies, I would not accept their input, sorry.

Primary developer/maintainer for cgminer and ckpool/ckproxy.
Pooled mine at kano.is, solo mine at solo.ckpool.org
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January 12, 2012, 09:49:56 AM
 #13

Hmm, I use the CPU miner as I don't have to care about electricity (I pay a flat fee to to my hoster) .
Why don't you just leave the code "as is", disable it by default and add a configure switch (e.g. "--enable-cpu")? I think this should cover most of your concerns.
Basically your suggestion means a lot of effort on the code to make it possible to be disabled.
Or, just remove it (easier and gone forever and no more maintaining it) and be done with it Smiley

From the point of view of CPU mining - anyone who does it is really wasting their time completely without doubt, or running a botnet.
How much BTC are you generating in a month?

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January 12, 2012, 10:35:03 AM
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Seems like a waste of time to maintain it, if people really want to cpu mine they can just use one of the available dedicated cpu miners or deal with maintaining a fork of cg.

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January 12, 2012, 10:47:45 AM
 #15

I don't use CPU mining, but resist getting rid of legacy stuff because sometimes it can be of use.  I can't maintain code either, so I can't offer real help.  However, it seems to me that leaving it in as a compile-time option (that is unsupported unless someone else provides patches or maintains it) and not including that option in compilation of the official Windows release would solve the majority of your problems while still allowing cgminer to remain comprehensive in its abilities (it's not like it was ever the best cpuminer after it became primarily for graphics anyway).
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January 12, 2012, 10:50:56 AM
 #16

Create a branch for it, then clear it from master.  If someone else wants to maintain it they can.

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January 12, 2012, 10:55:20 AM
 #17

Remove that junk ASAP.

CGminer is awesome !
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January 12, 2012, 11:34:55 AM
 #18

CPU mining is useful for me. I manage many servers that have quite a lot of spare CPU (even with VMs) and for which electricity is "free" (included in the rent). The ability to quickly deploy a feature-rich miner on these gives me between 100-200MH/s depending on the actual servers rented.

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January 12, 2012, 02:02:12 PM
 #19

I say kill it.  The feature list of cgminer has grown significantly over the last year.  RPC adds a whole host of new capabilities but also new potential bugs and maintenance issues.  CPU mining is useless for legit miners.  Even miners who have "free electricity" (students living in dorm for example) don't have sufficient number of CPU to earn more than a couple bitcents a day.

Thus for CPU mining to be useful one needs huge numbers of CPU PLUS huge amounts of "free" electricity.  Continuing to devote scarce resources to a tool that is used by botnets operators, rogue system admins, and trojan developers seems foolish.

There are other CPU miners available.  The code can be branched off and if there is enough interest and financial support someone could make a streamlined, optimized CPU only version.


care to name those "other CPU miners"

AND spouting "used by botnets operators, rogue system admins, and trojan developers"
is just ranting pie in the sky clueless nonsense

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January 12, 2012, 02:08:26 PM
 #20

...
care to name those "other CPU miners"

AND spouting "used by botnets operators, rogue system admins, and trojan developers"
is just ranting pie in the sky clueless nonsense
Um no.
Why do you think most windows A/V programs thinks it's a virus?

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