4th December 2023

Funding OpenFOAM in 2024

December 2023: our campaign to fund OpenFOAM in 2024 has a target of €500k to meet the increasing demands of the OpenFOAM users. OpenFOAM is funded through commitments from supporting organisations to fund maintenance.  To meet our new target we need further support from organisations who are commercially dependent on OpenFOAM and who are making significant savings in proprietary licence fees.

Why Fund OpenFOAM?

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. It provides an alternative to proprietary CFD software where licenses can start at $25k for a single user running in serial per year, increasing to group/parallel licences of $100k-200k+ and corporate licences of $1M+.  Despite annual revenue of $100s of millions for the “big” proprietary CFD software companies, OpenFOAM provides a viable and attractive alternative for 20,000+ CFD users with only a tiny fraction of the maintenance and development budget.

CFD Direct maintains and develops OpenFOAM, transferring its work to the The OpenFOAM Foundation for release only under the GPL. CFD Direct is a company of 5 people responsible for 1.6M lines of OpenFOAM C++ code and associated resources, e.g. User Guide, this website, OpenFOAM source code repository, download repository, source code documentation and issue tracking site. CFD Direct produces novel technology in OpenFOAM and reports routinely on the management of OpenFOAM.

Supporting organisations currently provide €250k for maintenance of OpenFOAM, i.e. of the order of 0.1% of the revenue of big commercial CFD. This current total is inadequate especially as the demand for “more” of eveything in OpenFOAM continues to rise day by day. Funding needs to rise rapidly to €500k this year, and continue to rise similarly over the next 3-4 years.

Levels of Funding

For the open source model to work effectively, there has to be some “giving” to offset the “taking”.  If some organisations are willing to give, then other organisations can do the same in the interests of the common good.  Inevitably, the more funding there is for OpenFOAM maintenance, the better it will be for everyone, including your organisation.

Clearly, the amount of funding should be commensurate with the level of benefit to the organisation. Therefore we offer three levels of funding correspond to three levels of benefit: Silver is for organisations with individual CFD users, Gold is for organisations with a dedicated CFD group and Platinum is suited to organisations that depend on OpenFOAM at a strategic level. The funding at the different levels relates approximately to 10-20% of the cost of licences of some proprietary CFD software (based on licence costs described above).

In addition to the principal benefit above, all supporting organisations are invited to join the The OpenFOAM Hub, an online messaging platform. The Hub allows the supporters to discuss active developments with the CFD Direct team, including at the online Q+A events which include talks and demonstrations. Gold supporters receive assistance to help their CFD group maintain important analysis capabilities and workflows.  The Foundation works with Platinum supporters to achieve long term strategic goals with OpenFOAM. See the maintenance funding page for further details.

To summarise:

  • The funding target for 2024 is €500k.
  • The maintenance funding levels are Platinum (€100k per year); Gold (€25k); Silver (€5k).
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