OpenFOAM is free, open source software in computational fluid dynamics for real-world engineering and scientific applications. CFD Direct is committed to maintain OpenFOAM, demonstrated by the thousands of code commits to OpenFOAM-dev, with support from contributors. Maintenance concerns the evolution of software in response to changes in user expectation and environment. We have introduced an agile strategy suitable to the feedback process of software evolution and have identified key areas of OpenFOAM that requiring significant redesign, e.g. AMI and particles.
A breakdown of outstanding issues in OpenFOAM (2016-10-26) shows 90% of unresolved issues falling within only 7 categories. The two worst offenders account for almost half of all unresolved issues: 1) AMI, ACMI and cyclic interfaces; and, 2) heat transfer, including conjugate heat transfer (CHT). These categories, and “particles and tracking” and “sources/constraints” in particular, require significant refactoring and/or rewriting. Their current state of disrepair was caused by poor funding under a roadmap development strategy. Funding of agile development of OpenFOAM is now needed to support our aim to improve quality, with a target 50% reduction in unresolved issues in 2017.
Agile development of OpenFOAM emerged following the public distribution of the development line in December 2014. It relies on user participation, which is encouraged by rewarding users for reporting issues with timely resolution. OpenFOAM was in poor health at version 2.3.0, with unresolved issues increasing rapidly and long resolution times. Following the move to agile development, unresolved issues are reduced and under control, with ~70% of issues resolved in 1 day and ~90% resolved in 1 week, taking OpenFOAM to a new level of quality and maturity (always releasable) by version 4.0.
The OpenFOAM Issue Tracking system exists to enable users to report issues. An issue exists when OpenFOAM behaves in a manner that does not meet reasonable expectations, including in design and usability. OpenFOAM is mature, quality software, whose successful development demands that issues are resolved in a timely manner. Roadmap development obstructs issue resolution, resulting in unreliable software and inefficient development. Instead, free, open source software can exploit agile development with frequent code release, as the best strategy for CFD development. Users should adopt continuous upgrade to minimize cost and to benefit the agile development strategy.
OpenFOAM version 4.0 is the latest major version of OpenFOAM, released on 28th June 2016. CFD Direct was by far the largest contributor to OpenFOAM 4.0, contributing the vast majority of new functionality including post-processing, numerous boundary conditions and physical models. Additionally, we contributed across all other aspects of software engineering that make OpenFOAM a mature, modern environment for CFD. This article provides the inside view of that work on the software engineering behind OpenFOAM 4.0, contributed largely during a 3 month period from April-July, 2016.
During our first year, we made over 900 code commits to the to the public development line of OpenFOAM, making us by far the largest contributor of code to OpenFOAM. In 2015, we produced one major, one minor and one patch release of OpenFOAM. We carried out maintenance on OpenFOAM, reducing the number of outstanding issues by approximately 35%, involving over 500 commits to the bug fix line of OpenFOAM 3.0. We managed the OpenFOAM Foundation, established a free OpenFOAM documentation resource, and our posts on social media updated users about developments to OpenFOAM , which encouraged a strong community to support and contribute to OpenFOAM as free software.