April 2021: We have already reached 70% of our target for funding for OpenFOAM in 2021 through commitments from supporting organisations to purchase OpenFOAM Maintenance Plans. We need further support from organisations who are commercially dependent on OpenFOAM and who are making significant savings in proprietary licence fees.
OpenFOAM is mature, open source software for computational fluid dynamics (CFD), which is trusted by many thousands of engineers and scientists in industry and academia worldwide. Our commitment to OpenFOAM sustainability enables OpenFOAM to evolve to meet critical needs of the users:
- Availability: can I get hold of the code?
- Usability: can I use it effectively?
- Robustness: does it produce reliable results?
- Extensibility: can I customise it for my specific needs?
The cost of sustaining OpenFOAM is currently € 250k per year. With an estimated 10,000 users of OpenFOAM, that’s € 25 per user per year. Compare that to some single-user licences of commercial CFD software that are 1000 times more expensive!
OpenFOAM cannot be funded through individual donations since fewer than 1% of people generally donate to something that they can otherwise obtain for free. Instead, organisations with commercial dependence on OpenFOAM should contribute to the cost of sustaining it.
The OpenFOAM Foundation provides Maintenance Plans for organisations to support sustainability. There are three levels of Plan: Gold (€ 20k per year); Silver (€ 5k); and, Bronze (€ 1k). The funding supports a full-time team of core developers with combined skills in software design, programming, numerics, science and engineering, mainly at CFD Direct (including OpenFOAM’s creator, Henry Weller).
The OpenFOAM Hub
Holders of a Maintenance Plan can access the The OpenFOAM Hub. The Hub provides a window into the OpenFOAM development team and a platform for decision-making for all members. The Hub is split into three teams that make decisions at different levels depending on funding and contribution:
- Architecture Team, for Gold funders and core developers: responsible for major (re-)design decisions, e.g. library redesign.
- Functionality Team for Silver funders and developers (and above): responsible for new applications, models, tools, etc.
- Patch Team for Bronze funders and patch contributors (and above): responsible for patches, e.g. bug fixes, model options, etc.
The funders and contributors of OpenFOAM decide what happens to the software from within the Hub. If you do not fund or contribute, you have no say in future availability, usability, robustness and extensibility.