OpenFOAM Maintenance

We continued to maintain the OpenFOAM issue tracking system, upgrading the system and adding transport layer security (TLS) to the website (the technology that puts the “s” in https://).  The issue tracking system is the vehicle that enables rapid-turnaround user feedback that is critical to the agile development process.  We analysed metrics relating to timely resolution of issues on the tracking system, a critical factor in encouraging participation of users in the agile development process.  The number of unresolved issues, plotted over time (using 3-month running averages to smooth the data), reveals the success of our development strategy since the public release of OpenFOAM-dev.


After reducing the number of outstanding issues from 300 to 140 during a six month “hiatus” (10/2014 – 03/2015), we further reduced it to 90 in Year 1 (to 03/2016).   During Year 2, we handled almost 500 new, reported issues and the number of outstanding issues was maintained at around 90.  Our analysis of the remaining unresolved issues in November 2016 showed clustering of issues in specific areas of the code, e.g. almost 50% of the issues related to: AMI, ACMI and cyclic interfaces; and, heat transfer, including conjugate heat transfer.

Maintenance Funding

The clusters of unresolved issues correspond to components of OpenFOAM that were poorly designed which can only be remedied by significant code refactoring and/or rewriting.  We launched a campaign to fund repairs to the problem areas of OpenFOAM and ongoing maintenance.  After 5 months of campaigning, we reached our target of €100 k for 2017.  It is encouraging to see that some commercial engineering companies that benefit significantly from OpenFOAM can appreciate that: (a) software maintenance cannot be ignored since it underpins the stable evolution of OpenFOAM; and, (b) OpenFOAM maintenance requires experts with combined skills in software design, programming, numerics and physics who need to be paid for their work.

OpenFOAM Documentation

We created a dedicated website,, for the C++ Source Guide for both OpenFOAM v4.0 and v3.0, to communicate OpenFOAM’s design to those programming CFD.  We documented the new functionality in v4.0 in the OpenFOAM User Guide, e.g. a new section 6.2 of the OpenFOAM User Guide and major rewrites and updates to  2 Tutorials, 3 Applications, 4.4 Numerical Schemes, 4.5 Solution Control4.6 Case Management, 5 Mesh Generation and Conversion and 6 Post-processing.  We also created an archive of the OpenFOAM User Guide for v3.

OpenFOAM Website and Package Repository

We redesigned and implemented the OpenFOAM Foundation website (, transferring 100+ existing pages, e.g. from the OpenFOAM Release History and OpenFOAM Download Archive, maintaining URL redirects, etc.  The new, modern website gives users more immediate access to the information they need to deploy OpenFOAM and locate resources quickly.  We created a dedicated download repository for OpenFOAM at, following the release of the current long term supported (LTS) version of Ubuntu (16.04).  Ubuntu 16.04 encourages higher levels of package authentication than previously so we added public key cryptography to the new repository which ensures that users only install packages originating from the OpenFOAM Foundation (with no tampering during transmission).  The download repository is also indexed, allowing users to browse through all OpenFOAM packs released since 2010.

OpenFOAM Administration

OpenFOAM is owned by the OpenFOAM Foundation, the organisation set up to ensure OpenFOAM is free software. As Directors of the OpenFOAM Foundation, Chris Greenshields and Henry Weller continue to carry out administration work on behalf of the Foundation, supported by Jenya Collings, including:

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CFD Direct Year 2: Maintenance
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