OpenFOAM README for version 1.5

Table of Contents

1 Copyright

OpenFOAM is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. See the file COPYING in this directory, for a description of the GNU General Public License terms under which you can copy the files.

2 System requirements

OpenFOAM is developed and tested on Linux, but should work with other Unix style systems. To check your system setup, execute the foamSystemCheck script in the bin/ directory of the OpenFOAM installation. If no problems are reported, proceed to "3. Installation"; otherwise contact your system administrator.

If the user wishes to run OpenFOAM in 32/64-bit mode they should consult the section "Running OpenFOAM in 32-bit mode".

2.1 Qt (from

The ParaView 3.3 visualisation package requires that Qt version 4.3.x MUST be installed on the system. Earlier or more recent versions (4.2.x or 4.4.x) will NOT work. To check whether Qt4 is installed, and the version, type:

  • qmake –version

The ParaView binary executables in the ThirdParty distribution will only work with PRECISELY the same version of Qt with which it was compiled. The 64-bit version of ParaView was compiled with Qt-4.3.1 (with openSuSE-10.3) and the 32-bit version of ParaView was compiled with Qt-4.3.2 (with ubuntu-7.10). If the user finds that a ParaView binary fails to run, then it is almost certainly due to a conflict in compiled and installed Qt versions and they will need to consult the section below on "Compiling ParaView and the PV3FoamReader module."

The default versions of Qt used by some GNU/Linux releases are as follows.

  • ubuntu-7.10: Version 4.3.2
  • ubuntu-8.04: Version 4.3.4
  • openSuSE-10.2: Version 4.2.1 - too old
  • openSuSE-10.3: Version 4.3.1
  • openSuSE-11.0: Version 4.4.0 - too new

Compilation and running of ParaView has been successful using the libraries downloaded in the "libqt4-dev" package on ubuntu.

If you don't have an appropriate version of Qt installed you can download the sources from TrollTech e.g.: and compile and install in /usr/local or some other location that does to conflict with the pre-installed version.

3 Installation

Download and unpack the files in the $HOME/OpenFOAM directory as described in:

The environment variable settings are contained in files in an etc/ directory in the OpenFOAM release. e.g. in

3.1 Installation in alternative locations

OpenFOAM may also be installed in alternative locations. However, the installation directory should be network available (e.g., NFS) if parallel calculations are planned.

The environment variable 'FOAM_INST_DIR' can be used to find and source the appropriate resource file. Here is a bash/ksh/sh example:

  • export FOAM_INST_DIR=/data/app/OpenFOAM
  • foamDotFile=$FOAM_INST_DIR/OpenFOAM-<VERSION>/etc/bashrc
  • [ -f $foamDotFile ] && . $foamDotFile

and a csh/tcsh example:

  • setenv FOAM_INST_DIR /data/app/OpenFOAM
  • foamDotFile=$FOAM_INST_DIR/OpenFOAM-<VERSION>/etc/bashrc
  • if ( -f $foamDotFile ) source $foamDotFile

The value set in '$FOAM_INST_DIR' will be used to locate the remaining parts of the OpenFOAM installation.

4 Building from Sources (Optional)

If you cannot find an appropriate binary pack for your platform, you can build the complete OpenFOAM from the source-pack. You will first need to compile or obtain a recent version of gcc (we recomend gcc-4.3.?) for your platform, which may be obtained from

Install the compiler in $WM_PROJECT_INST_DIR/ThirdParty/gcc-<GCC_VERSION>/platforms/$WM_ARCH$WM_COMPILER_ARCH/ and change the gcc version number in $WM_PROJECT_DIR/etc/ and $WM_PROJECT_DIR/etc/settings.csh appropriately and finally update the environment variables as in section 3.

Now go to the top-level source directory $WM_PROJECT_DIR and execute the top-level build script './Allwmake'. In principle this will build everything, but if problems occur with the build order it may be necessary to update the environment variables and re-execute 'Allwmake'. If you experience difficulties with building the source-pack, or your platform is not currently supported, please contact <> to negotiate a support contract and we will do the port and maintain it for future releases.

5 Testing the installation

To check your installation setup, execute the 'foamInstallationTest' script (in the bin/ directory of the OpenFOAM installation). If no problems are reported, proceed to getting started with OpenFOAM; otherwise, go back and check you have installed the software correctly and/or contact your system administrator.

6 Getting Started

Create a project directory within the $HOME/OpenFOAM directory named <USER>-<VERSION> (e.g. 'chris-1.5' for user chris and OpenFOAM version 1.5) and create a directory named 'run' within it, e.g. by typing:

Copy the 'tutorial' examples directory in the OpenFOAM distribution to the 'run' directory. If the OpenFOAM environment variables are set correctly, then the following command will be correct:

Run the first example case of incompressible laminar flow in a cavity:

7 Compiling Paraview 3.3 and the PV3FoamReader module

A version of Qt 4.3.x must be installed to compile ParaView. The compilation is a fairly simple process using the supplied buildParaView3.3-cvs script that has worked is our tests with other packages supplied in the ThirdParty directory, namely cmake-2.4.6 and gcc-4.3.1. Execute the following:

The PV3FoamReader module is an OpenFOAM utility that can be compiled in the usual manner as follows:

8 Documentation

9 Help

10 Reporting Bugs in OpenFOAM

11 Running OpenFOAM in 32-bit mode on 64-bit machines

Linux users with a 64-bit machine may install either the OpenFOAM 32-bit version (linux) or the OpenFOAM 64-bit version (linux64), or both. The 64-bit is the default mode on a 64-bit machine. To use an installed 32-bit version, the user must set the environment variable $WM_32 (to anything, e.g. "on") before sourcing the etc/bashrc (or etc/cshrc) file.

Date: 14 July 2008

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