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blueCFD-Core Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) PDF Print E-mail

blueCFD® product/service was first launched in 11th of November of 2009. It was re-branded in November 2013 to blueCFD-Core, as our offerings have expanded into more products and services. Since then, many questions have risen and some were never asked. This page will try to answer your questions about blueCFD-Core, even if you haven't thought about them yet!

To us, CFD means Computational Fluid Dynamics. For more, you can read on Wikipedia: Computational fluid dynamics

In November 2013, with blueCAPE's launch of blueCFD®-AIR, the original blueCFD was re-branded to blueCFD®-Core. blueCFD® is currently our main product line, in which are included all of our software products that are CFD oriented.

blueCFD® is a registered trade mark by blueCAPE Lda, since October 2012.

blueCFD was first developed to bring and share our cross-compilations of OpenFOAM® to the scientific and engineering community, namely those who are bound to Microsoft's Windows Operating System. We needed OpenFOAM working in Windows and the tutorials for cross-compiling OpenFOAM 1.4.1 and 1.5.0 in Linux for Windows already existed, provided by Symscape.

Symscape had already launched their OpenFlow product when we launched blueCFD, but since our builds are somewhat different, we believed that some competition would also be healthy.

Short answer: blueCFD provides 2 types of command lines and 2 open-source GUIs.

Long answer: blueCFD was initially designed with the objective of fully bringing OpenFOAM from Linux onto Windows, providing two command line interfaces:

  • The standard Windows command line, which has limited features, due to the nature of the native command line.

  • The MSys terminal, which provides a near-Linux experience on Windows, therefore providing the same set of features (mostly scripting) available on OpenFOAM for Linux.

Later on, we started adding the open-source GUI's that exist that will work with OpenFOAM on Linux and there weren't available for Windows. With blueCFD 2.1-2 provided the following open-source GUIs, which are meant for mesh generation and partially for preparing the cases for OpenFOAM:

  • Discretizer and Discretizer::Setup: These are somewhat basic GUIs.

  • enGrid: A lot more advanced than Discretizer, but somewhat hard to use.

    • The latest development versions are available here.

  • SwiftBlock and SwiftSnap: instructions could be found in the "blueCFD-Core User Guide"..

With the release of blueCFD-Core 2.3, we also had plans to bring HelyxOS to Windows, but due to time constraints this did not happen.

In conclusion: currently blueCFD-Core does not yet aim to relieve the user from the steep learning curve on how to use OpenFOAM, but we do our best to give a good orientation in the right direction up that steep curve.

Acknowledgement: OPENFOAM® is a registered trade mark of OpenCFD Limited, producer and distributor of the OpenFOAM software via www.openfoam.com.

As of the 22nd of March 2016, you can download blueCFD-Core from our Download Center. This link is also provided on the Downloads menu on the top of the page.

Support is provided for a fee. For more details, see the "How to Get It" section on the blueCFD-Core product page.

In the words of its maker and owner OpenCFD Ltd (ESI Group):

OpenFOAM is a free, open source CFD software package produced by a commercial company, OpenCFD Ltd. It has a large user base across most areas of engineering and science, from both commercial and academic organisations. OpenFOAM has an extensive range of features to solve anything from complex fluid flows involving chemical reactions, turbulence and heat transfer, to solid dynamics and electromagnetics.

OPENFOAM® is a registered trade mark of OpenCFD Limited, producer and distributor of the OpenFOAM software via www.openfoam.com.

Cross-compiling OpenFOAM isn't very easy to do. Compiling it in Linux to work in Linux already has it's kinks and tricks, so the degree of difficulty increases when we try to port it to work on an operating system which isn't very POSIX friendly, such as Windows. Therefore, in order to bring people 100% working OpenFOAM builds that run in Windows, requires two additional issues, besides time: covering development costs and having direct feedback from clients.

Therefore, blueCFD-Core is provided as both a product and a service: the product is that you get a DVD and/or access to our blueCFD-Core download area and are entitled to have your blueCFD-Core related problems fixed, as part of the service.

OpenFOAM source code files reflect the code itself and since C++ is case sensitive, so should be the files. Windows on the other hand, focuses on user friendliness and users can't be lead to easy mistakes such as making two files on the same folder, e.g. "Notes.txt" and "notes.txt". Therefore, what's left is a barrier between OpenFOAM and Windows, which requires that various files be modified and renamed to ensure unique file names.

More specifically, this is a limitation only due to Windows not having a fully case sensitive file system by default; where as with Cygwin, you can get access to the hidden capability of Windows and NTFS full case sensitivity as a compatibility with POSIX.

Starting with blueCFD-Core 2.1-2 (click here for the news release), it is now possible to completely build OpenFOAM directly on Windows, with the assistance of MSys! In fact, as of blueCFD-Core 2.3, the development is done directly on Windows and we no longer cross-compile OpenFOAM on Linux.

Currently there were two projects that had this in sight: FreeFOAM and the Extend Project.

  • FreeFOAM is basically OpenFOAM, but while OpenFOAM uses wmake, FreeFOAM uses CMake. This gives way to an easier portability of the software to various operating systems and platforms. But only two people are currently working in FreeFOAM, making it work in old and new Linux platforms, as well as Mac OS X; so the Windows port was at a proof-of-concept stage, last time we checked.

  • FOAM-Extend is maintained by Dr. Hrvoje Jasak and the Extend Project. It could be considered as a fork of the official OpenFOAM. Dr. Hrvoje Jasak has been working in a native port, for building in Windows with Microsoft's Visual Studio C++ and made to be Windows friendly (i.e., stepping a bit away from POSIX and GNU technology). This endeavour was on its final steps of development, since they were already in the testing phase. As far as we know, development of the version for Windows started in 2009. Nonetheless, we have not heard any updates on this topic since 2013.

But this is a serious time consuming effort, and a cumbersome one at that, when we take into account that those who work and develop OpenFOAM related technology could be doing something more fruitful, like developing and implementing more CFD models into OpenFOAM.

Some of the software that blueCFD-Core uses is under the GNU General Public License, for example: OpenFOAM and Discretizer. ParaView uses it's own license, the ParaView License, which is similar to the Berkeley Software Distribution license.

Basically, GNU GPL allows selling software built with code that has a GNU General Public License, requiring that those who sell the binaries make the code available for a price not higher than the price of the binaries. For example: if you sell OpenFOAM binaries for 50 bucks, you can't charge more than an additional 50 bucks fee for the source code.

The BSD license is a bit less restrictive, which allows for closing the code and being possible to only selling the binaries. But this can only be done, if and only if, the seller doesn't try to take advantage of the brand name of the original software.

Now, these types of license come with a hidden cost: no warranty on the product - you will use it at your own risk. But at least, the software will be fixed as soon as possible, although what got broken in your machine might not be recoverable...

Our blueCFD-Core software is used by ourselves here at blueCAPE, so we will do our best to not use nor provide damaged software, since ourselves would be the first ones to suffer the most.

So, to sum up: the blueCFD-Core software, once purchased, can be used in any number of computers and even given to friends, family, neighbours and even that pen pal on the other side of the world. But those who haven't payed for the blueCFD-Core service, will not be entitled to our support. But we will welcome any and all bug reports, so we can provide better builds and service of our product. Of course that any fixes your friends get, will have to come from you as well...

blueCFD-Core uses an unusual subscription model. We offer a port of a major version of OpenFOAM, throughout the lifetime of that major version. In theory, although the subscription for a particular version is virtually unlimited, we switch to providing a new subscription with the next major release of OpenFOAM, since it's nearly an absolute new port for each new major release.

Problem is that usually we're not able to deliver a port of a latest major OpenFOAM version in less than one month of the official release.

Therefore, given that we take a while until we release a new major version, then we try to not hinder our clients, by offering the previous version until the new version is released.

For example: OpenFOAM 2.2.0 was released on the 6th of March 2013. Those who purchased a subscription of blueCFD-Core after this date, will automatically have access to the respective blueCFD-Core 2.2 when it is released. The detail here is that blueCFD-Core 2.2 was not released, therefore the subscription for those clients was shifted to blueCFD-Core 2.3, which was released on the 1st of April 2014.

Once a new major release of blueCFD-Core is made, the subscriptions for the previous versions will enter in maintenance mode and no longer available for purchase. New clients will not have access to the older versions of blueCFD-Core; but those who purchased the previous subscriptions, will continue to have support and access for their subscriptions!

As of blueCFD-Core 1.7-1, it provides a Portable functionality, that provides an easy way to copy the installed blueCFD-Core into an USB drive and is then ready to be used in other Windows machines, without requiring third party software. This way you can use blueCFD-Core anywhere, anytime, as long as a Windows (XP, Vista, Seven or similar) machine is available to you!

This also includes MPI, for parallel executions, but when the firewall is restrictive, it is limited to the available cores in machine where the blueCFD-Core Portable installation is running.

The Portable functionality can even replicate itself upon request, or you can copy the folder where it is installed into any other disks or other USB memory devices!

With the release of blueCFD-Core 2.0-1, blueCFD-SingleCore 2.0-1 was simultaneously released as well in the 15th of December 2011. Basically the blueCFD-SingleCore project brings a fully open source project of some of the core components of blueCFD-Core.

With the blueCFD-SingleCore installers you get full OpenFOAM functionality in Windows, via CMD (Windows Command Line). MSys and MPI support are not provided. Documentation is scarce in comparison to blueCFD-Core.

At the blueCFD-SingleCore project you will also find instructions on how to (unofficially) compile and cross-compile OpenFOAM in Linux for both Linux and Windows.

Nonetheless, keep in mind that blueCFD-SingleCore has a lower priority level than blueCFD-Core, so there will be a lot of new features in blueCFD-Core that might either take a while to come into the open public through blueCFD-SingleCore or that will be permanently only available to paying customers.

blueCFD-Core has always been able to run in parallel! It started in blueCFD-Core 1.6-1 to support only MPICH2, but as of blueCFD-Core 2.0-1, 3 MPI toolboxes are supported: Open-MPI, MPICH2 and MS-MPI.

And if these aren't enough, then you can add many more on your own! Because as of blueCFD 2.1-2, you can compile OpenFOAM directly on Windows, therefore able to link to any other MPI toolbox!

Nonetheless, there is an important detail to keep in mind: the standard blueCFD-Core service agreement only provides support for running in parallel in a single machine. If you have a cluster, you will be able to use blueCFD-Core with multiple machines cooperatively, but we will only give support on this topic to those that purchase the blueCFD-Core support package for Windows HPC. Contact us for more information: contact form

Its development was abandoned. We do have a working port of OpenFOAM 2.2.x for Windows, which we had planned to provide as a technology preview, but we have had higher priorities to take care of first. If any of our clients need this version, and if blueCFD-Core 2.3 cannot be used, please contact us: contact form

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