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blueCFD 1.7-1 Release Notes PDF Print E-mail

blueCFD 1.7-1 is now available. Please visit the product page for more information on how to acquire this product/service.

blueCFD is a service package of a high quality cross-compiled build version of OpenFOAM(R) for Windows XP, Vista and Seven (32 and 64bit), with some additional tweaks, executables and scripts, in order to maintain usability under a Windows environment. It provides a near Linux experience through MSys. It also includes the official Paraview 3.8.0, in 32 and 64bit versions. The vtkPOpenFOAMReader is the plug-in used in Paraview, for reading OpenFOAM simulation files, because it offers better support for large files and multi-platform. MPICH2 is used for running OpenFOAM with a multi-core and multi-machine environment. Paraview uses MS-MPI for parallel processing, but it can also read multi-processor runs with a single core. Discretizer has been added to the blueCFD package, to provide a GUI meshing utility and can also work as a GUI for using OpenFOAM.


RELEASE NOTES FOR blueCFD 1.7-1

This document has the following chapters:

1 - Introduction

2 - Features

3 - Changes since 1.6-2

4 - Known limitations

5 - System data

Please visit the product page for more information on how to acquire this product/service and legal information.

1 - Introduction

blueCFD is a service package of a high quality cross-compiled build version of OpenFOAM(R) for Windows XP, Vista and Seven (32 and 64bit), with some additional tweaks, executables and scripts, in order to maintain usability under a Windows environment. It provides a near Linux experience through MSys. It also includes the official Paraview 3.8.0, in 32 and 64bit versions. The vtkPOpenFOAMReader is the plug-in used in Paraview, for reading OpenFOAM simulation files, because it offers better support for large files and multi-platform. MPICH2 is used for running OpenFOAM with a multi-core and multi-machine environment. Paraview uses MS-MPI for parallel processing, but it can also read multi-processor runs with a single core. Discretizer has been added to the blueCFD package, to provide a GUI meshing utility and can also work as a GUI for using OpenFOAM.

2 - Features

Features of blueCFD 1.7-1:

  • OpenFOAM 1.7 is running on Windows XP/Vista/7, both 32 and 64bit versions. Almost all of the features listed on the release notes of OpenFOAM 1.7 are available here. The optional mesh converter "ccm26ToFoam" is also included, but not tested.

  • The only features currently unavailable are: fully case-sensitive file names; native compiling of OpenFOAM libraries and applications on Windows; directly handling compressed files with the Scotch library.

  • There are 3 flavors of OpenFOAM in this package:

    • mingw-w32 Single Precision;

    • mingw-w32 Double Precision;

    • mingw-w64 Double Precision;

  • Discretizer (www.discretizer.org) SVN version June 30th of 2010 is now included and should be as operational as in Linux. This provides two Graphical User Interfaces for creating meshes and interacting with OpenFOAM. Nonetheless, Discretizer is still under development and still has many missing functionalities.

  • In the DVD version, the code documentation was rebuilt, to provide a compact Qt help file, thus providing over 500MB of HTML files and images, in one single 220MB easy to use file, using Qt's Assistant application for the help. The downloadable installation package will resort to the official online documentation provided by OpenCFD.

  • Although the code documentation is available, the code itself is packaged independently (in the DVD version only, downloadable version will guide you to the wiki), and should only be used in compatible platforms, such as Linux or Cygwin 1.7. More specifically, this is a limitation only due to Windows not having a fully case sensitive file system by default. The code packages include the modifications that allow building OpenFOAM 1.7 with gcc 4.4.4 with mingw32, mingw-w32 and mingw-w64.

  • Paraview 3.8.0 available in 32 and 64bit Windows versions, is not built by blueCAPE but is the official version from www.paraview.org. It includes the plugin vtkPOpenFOAMReader, a native FOAM file reader, which has proven so far to be more reliable than the original plug-in that comes with OpenFOAM. The version packaged with blueCFD is the version that uses MS-MPI for parallel operations. Python is included in ParaView's installation.

  • MPICH2 1.2.1p1 is used for parallel processing with OpenFOAM, on 32 and 64bit Windows versions. It should be easily updated to more recent versions. Installation is optional.

  • MSys is also included and configured to provide a near Linux experience, thus enabling the original scripts of OpenFOAM to work, with some minor tweaks to improve the functionality. For example, the scripts "foamJob", "foamExec" and parallel job handling will work properly on Windows.

  • Batch files are also included, to provide a "Windows Command Line" environment to run OpenFOAM.

  • Tutorials from OpenFOAM's 1.7.0 source package have been slightly tweaked for running in Windows.

  • The tutorial cases that need specific applications to be built are already available in blueCFD, but rebuilding them can't be done directly. If you change the application code for a tutorial case, you will have to cross-compile it in Linux or Cygwin 1.7!

3 - Changes since 1.6-2

  • The utility foamToVTK now works in binary mode too. In prior versions, foamToVTK needed the -ascii option to be always used.

  • FOAM_CASE variable is now properly expanded in the code. And now absolute paths are properly detected (they where being analysed as "unix" paths only).

  • OpenFOAM applications should no longer suffer from missing libraries when executing. A smart loading system was implemented in the patches, thus reducing the impact the patches have on the original code.

  • coalChemistryFoam and other chemistry solvers should now all work. There was a glitch in the random number generation class.

  • Now all executables and libraries have file information indicating OpenFOAM version and build.

  • Files with "patch" in their names have been renamed and script/batch files where added so it isn't necessary to run OpenFOAM with "super user powers". This is due to some security heuristic that Windows Vista/7 have that any and all executables with "patch" in their names are probably executables that need "super user powers".

  • OpenFOAM can now run in any Windows version, since we have managed to build gcc 4.4.x with a "libstdc++-6.dll". This also reflected in the reduction of the binaries down to nearly 50% of their previous size.

  • On the source code side, new scripts were added to simplify cross-compilation in Linux and Cygwin 1.7. Check the dedicated wiki page for more information.

  • The number of known tutorials and applications that are tested to work has increased to status of "all tested". The list is available here.

4- Know limitations

Limitations:

  • when using the executables for the first time, it will take a while to start them. This is due to DLL library loadings that are yet to be optimized. When starting a second time, it will start almost instantaneously. This is due to the way the DLLs have been built. When running for the first time, Windows will take notes on where the necessary functions are in each DLL and it will optimize the load times for next times that the applications need those DLLs. With a E8400 3.00GHz Intel Processor, it takes about 12 seconds to run the first time in Windows 7 x64.

  • due to Windows not being fully case sensitive (at least by default), all of the applications and functionalities that require files names that only differ in letter case and are on the same folder, will not work. So, when setting up your cases, be aware of this restriction. Additionally, your applications should be aware of the build type, like it was done for chtMultiRegionFoam, to avoid collision between K and KK:

          #if defined( WIN32 ) || defined( WIN64 )
               "KK",
          #else
               "K",
          #endif
  • tutorial cases inside "heatTransfer\chtMultiRegion*" work, and no changes are necessary. Note that every reference to the file K has been changed to KK. Please see the wiki page for more information.

Non working functionalities:

  • libscotch is unable to use compression, due to a cross-compile limitation; more specifically, the Windows does not have native functions that are fully analogous to Un*x and Linux functions "fork" and "pipe". This can be taken care of if so requested, since implementations of these functions already exist in MSys and Cygwin.

  • ParaView 3.8.0 has a bug that sometimes occurs after some usage and will disable the Auto Rescale functionality of ParaView. A fix is know and is available here.

  • building OpenFOAM source code in a normal Windows installation is currently off limits. Nonetheless, we at blueCAPE know how to make it possible to do it, by either:

    • cross-compiling in Cygwin 1.7 (instructions available at this wiki page)

    • or by integrating the patched into FreeFOAM's project.

  • if you wish to use foamToVTK with the tutorial case motorBike, then please run the script fixForWindows before running the case, on MSys. This is due to some characters that don't work in the Windows file systems.

OpenFOAM® functionalities (scripts and executables) other than these mentioned above, should all be available, at least through the MSys terminal.
Most of the original functionalities of OpenFOAM were not fully tested, so there might be some solvers, utilities and scripts that may not work at all. Please contact blueCAPE in case you find any bugs related to blueCFD's packaged binaries and scripts or the patches made available in the wiki page.

It should run under Windows XP, Vista and 7, both 32 and 64bit versions. There might still be some issues with OpenFOAM 1.6 version mingw-w64, supplied with blueCFD.

5 - System data

Since blueCFD 1.6-2 version, mingw32 was dropped. Nonetheless, if you need mingw32 - because mingw-w32 isn't working or it is a project restriction on your part - we can build OpenFOAM 1.7 with it and provide it to you upon request.

The versions of the software used to create this package:


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