The packaged distributions of OpenFOAM for Ubuntu can now be installed directly on Microsoft Windows 10 using Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). WSL provides a full compatibility layer for running Linux applications on Windows by performing real-time translation of Linux system calls into Windows OS system calls. The system can support graphical Linux applications, such as the version of ParaView that includes the OpenFOAM reader module, with additional X server software (see below). Running OpenFOAM applications in parallel using WSL is reported to work effectively.
Activate Windows Subsystem for Linux
- Follow the Guide to Install the Windows Subsystem for Linux and install the Ubuntu Linux Distribution.
- Launch the Ubuntu distribution through WSL.
The packaged distributions of OpenFOAM on Ubuntu Linux can now be installed from within the Bash environment. We recommend users install the Ubuntu pack of OpenFOAM v6 or the current development version (or both).
- Installing OpenFOAM 6
sudo sh -c "wget -O - http://dl.openfoam.org/gpg.key | apt-key add -" sudo add-apt-repository http://dl.openfoam.org/ubuntu sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install openfoam6
- Installing OpenFOAM-dev
sudo sh -c "wget -O - http://dl.openfoam.org/gpg.key | apt-key add -" sudo add-apt-repository "http://dl.openfoam.org/ubuntu dev" sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install openfoam-dev
In order to compile applications and libraries in OpenFOAM, the user should install additional compilation tools by the following command:
sudo apt-get install build-essential
In order to use the installed OpenFOAM package, the user needs to set their environment for OpenFOAM as follows.
- One Time Only: At the bottom of the user’s
.bashrcfile, source the
bashrcfile in the OpenFOAM installation which contains the environment settings. For
openfoam6, the following command avoids the need to open an editor (for OpenFOAM-dev, replace
echo "source /opt/openfoam6/etc/bashrc" >> .bashrc
- One Time Only: register the change to the
.bashrcfile by typing at the terminal prompt (note the dots):
- Test that the
simpleFoamapplication, from the OpenFOAM package, is working by typing
- A “Usage” message should appear. Your installation and user configuration is complete.
If more than one OpenFOAM package is installed, e.g. both
openfoam-dev, the user’s
.bashrc file should contain only the
source... command for the version they currently wish to use.
Enabling Graphical Applications
To run graphical Linux applications, such as ParaView or the gedit editor, requires the installation of X server software. The most popular X server software for Windows is Xming, which can be installed as follows:
- Download the Xming installer.
- Run the Xming installer using the default settings.
- Launch Xming and it runs in the background, visible in the system tray, waiting for a graphical Linux application to be launched.
bash shell is opened, the
DISPLAY environment variable needs to point to the X server that is running. To make this addition permanent, set the
DISPLAY in the user’s
.bashrc file and source it again, i.e. execute one time only:
echo "export DISPLAY=:0" >> .bashrc source $HOME/.bashrc
With graphics enabled, users may wish to install other useful supporting graphical applications for OpenFOAM, such as the gedit file editor, the GnuPlot graph drawing package, and mplayer video player (and mencoder encoder) software, e.g.
sudo apt-get install gedit gedit-plugins sudo apt-get install gnuplot gnuplot-x11 gnuplot-doc libgd-tools sudo apt-get install mplayer mencoder
See OpenFOAM 6 on Ubuntu: Getting Started. If the user has enabled graphical applications, they can open the gedit editor in the background (
Otherwise without graphical support, 3 popular editors which can work through a terminal are:
nano: the easiest of the 3 editors for the purpose, see
emacs: powerful editor that uses a more complex set of key commands,
vim: another editor with arguably a less familiar set of key commands, see
It is worth knowing the command to exit the editor you use in case a problem arises:
C-x C-c(preceded by
C-g, if needed)
Thanks to Dongyue Li (from the Contributors to OpenFOAM) for testing and reporting his experience with OpenFOAM using Bash on Ubuntu on Windows 10.