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jaswi May 6, 2008 11:14

Hi Forum With all due respe
Hi Forum

With all due respect and gratitude to all who have been helping the newcomers like me I have some questions to the forum.

With this post I am trying to find out the purpose of this forum so that I could draw lines for myself. I understand that just by asking this question I will be inviting criticism from many of the regular users of this forum but I think there are many people out there who want to ask these questions.

In the spirit of open source software, I have witnessed that linux forums are much supportive. May be because its well documented. No I am not trying to raise the topic "WHO MAKES THE DOCUMENTATION" but I am trying to figure out how far is OpenFOAM in the spirit of open source.

I have been associated with OpenFOAM almost a year now and I accept that I have learned a lot from the forum posts. Due to the feedback from some experts I corrected my approach of asking questions. Instead of asking for ready to use solutions, I try to do my homework and then ask when I do not understand anything. But I have observed that most of the time when somebody is stuck and none of the regular users know how to help then it just hangs out there.

I understand that its nobody's job to specially delve into other's problem and find the solution for others but I am sure there are always people who know what is wrong. Nobody expects the answer to how that "WRONG", over which somebody is loosing sleep, can be corrected or implemented but a comment or a tip where one should look for is enough to go on.

I do not understand how that can be sorted out. Maybe make a member fee to the forum because this way its just like a wild ride. I have seen so many posts which try to do something meaningful with the code but are stuck because they do not know how that trick is done in OpenFOAM.

Please comment.

With Best Regards

keith May 6, 2008 14:09

Hi Jaswinder With all due r
Hi Jaswinder

With all due respect the purpose of this forum is that everybody can ask useless questions.


gschaider May 6, 2008 14:41

Hi Keith! With all due resp
Hi Keith!

With all due respect: A great way to introduce yourself to the Forum with such a 'witty' remark (the first posting is always a difficult one, I know)

Given Jaswinder's previous contributions to the board I think he is entitled to ask such a question


jaswi May 6, 2008 18:20

Hi Keith Welcome to OpenFOA
Hi Keith

Welcome to OpenFOAM.

BTW this so called useless question was meant to initiate a constructive debate :-) but its seems there are not many takers for it.

The purpose of asking this question is to find out whether we are on this forum with a sense of responsiblity towards new comers or we are here to deter them. I accept that most of the newbie questions have been answered but newcomers jump to posting their doubts without searching the forum posts. Some who try to search, soon find out that one has to read a lot of post to figure out the solution so why not post a new one.

We should understand that such kind of approach does not increase the knowledge content of the forum. Take for instant the last two weeks, there have been no significant knowledge sharing and I saw the same old stuff coming up again and again.

Most of the new comers who have some linux background mostly figure out themselves how to install and compile the OpenFOAM but then they stumble the next problem and that is whether it can be done in OpenFOAM. My experience is that it is the most frequently asked question and least frequently answered question. At the most such post are replied with offers to buy support. How can that be expected from a student doing her/his master's thesis.

With that argument, in no way I put the responsibility on the developers. Both OpenCFD core development team and Hrv try their best to help where they can. So basically it seems nobody is repsonsible for providing answers and there lies the problem.

As far as I understand we need some enthusiasts who will like to come forward for solving this problem. All it requires is to organize the existing knowledge with the experienced users and the model is very simple.

->Each user who is proficient with a particular aspect of OpenFOAM can give their names forward and how they can help.

->User activation must be made neccessary and when a new user registers she/he will get an email with instructions on how to effectively use the forum.

->With the list of expert volunteers in their respective areas, a newbie will know who to ask instead of making a vague post on the forum and clutering it further.

->there will offcourse be posts to which the voluteers will have no answer and I think there we will be needing developers help.

In this way we will be able to organize the knowledge flow from developers to experts and from there onwards to newcomers. The developers will not have to spend much time as explaining a concept to an expert will be more productive and less time consuming.

I wish Alberto reads this as he is better at organizing such thought process :-). I hope that such an approach will find some takers because we call ourself a community and communities prosper only if they identify their needs and find a solution to fulfill it.

I wish all of you a happy FOAMing ahead

With Best Regards

ngj May 7, 2008 09:55

Hi Jaswinder, First of all
Hi Jaswinder,

First of all I would thank you for raising that question. I believe you are right, when you search for alternative ways in using the Forum.

I have spent many hours reading posts and I have definitely learned most of what I can do in OF through the many good posts out there - but a change in the way questions are asked is needed indeed.

One thought is to put a link to the FAQ page on the wiki at the front page of the forum in VERY LARGE RED LETTERS. Since people not necessarily reads the README in the installation instructions, they probably neither know of the existence of the FAQ-page.

This FAQ-page then need to be updated with a detailed description of how to go through the installation process (basicly the README-file) with some additional information to linux-newbies.
Further an interesting part on the FAQ-page would be what have been done in OF, so gather what people have been doing and give it as a small (very long!?!) list. Then two of the basic questions you are bringing forth will be answered without any posts.

The idea about having an expert group with specific knowledge is interesting, though as I do not think of myself as being one of the experts, it would be wrong to recommend it, as other would be doing the work. Thus on that specific topic others has to share their opinion.

Thanks again for asking the question - this could be an interesting discussion.

Best regards,


alberto May 7, 2008 11:39

Hello Jaswinder! I read :-)
Hello Jaswinder!

I read :-) your proposal and I completely agree with it.

In the same perspective I asked to users to have a public email address, which seems something many don't like. If on one hand I can understand why (lots of questions), on the other, it's the price to pay to be part of a community.

1. Creating a list of "experts" is easy. We could put it on the wiki, with a short description of what each one does and in which fields he can help newcomers. We just need the names!

I'll prepare a page on the wiki in a few days.

2. For the activation e-mail, we should ask to Mattijs, who's managing the discussion board (I think). If the activation email is not possible, a nice sticky post or a "Newcomers start here" section might do it anyway.


johndeas May 7, 2008 12:00

It is sometime easier to find
It is sometime easier to find direct help through personal contact. I do not know if it is easy to create, but maybe this kind of maps may help create, if not 'local', 'regional' OpenFOAM user group:

I think the irc channel is a good idea too, if there is enough advertisment for it.

Just my two cents on the question...

alberto May 10, 2008 16:40

We already have a list of user
We already have a list of users here:

I added the "Community volunteers" entry, where everyone can put his name and a brief description of what he does and in what he can help.

When some name will be there, I'll think to a better organization, in a different page. Let's see how it goes.

Now fill it :-)


alberto May 14, 2008 19:07

Hmm, do you think we need to "
Hmm, do you think we need to "market" this idea more Jaswinder?

At the moment we are two in that list :-)


prashant24983 May 15, 2008 03:05

May be, the responsibility fal
May be, the responsibility falls on us. When I joined the forum, a while ago, I too faced the same problems which Jaswinder mentions. I did spend some time on the code and a LOT of time scanning through the forum. There were good days and bad days but the bad ones would never end. So, I guess I understand the frustration.

I have taken a lot from the this community and the OpenFOAM - developers and I am very grateful to all of them. But, I know I haven't given as much, the time constraints and my own laziness are the culprits.

I will make sure that I contribute some of the solvers and cases which I was able to develop with the help from this magnificent space.

Thank You!

jaswi May 15, 2008 07:45

Hi Alberto and Prashant Its
Hi Alberto and Prashant

Its encouraging enough that now we have TWO entries in that list. The number is offcourse not big enough to be declared as a huge forum response :-) but I strongly believe it will go higher. More and more people will come forward and we will have a very well organized documentation as well.

Right now all we need is more of John Lenon's words floating in the background. Perhaps Weller,Hrv and others were humming to his songs when they designed the OpenFOAM.

Imagine ....

alberto May 16, 2008 10:15

Hi Jaswinder and Prashant, and
Hi Jaswinder and Prashant, and thanks for your answer!

I didn't give much back either, compared to what I have learnt using OF for sure, so I agree it's our responsibility too, without a doubt.

I should really put hand to my old idea of an introductory guide to OF, hoping that someone will correct and improve it. Let's see if the summer helps!

Btw, we are four now! Let's hope the growth rate keeps the pace ;-)

With kind regards,

ngj May 24, 2008 08:02

Hi all I needed to redo my
Hi all

I needed to redo my installation of OpenFOAM, thus I wrote down every step along the way. Could this be worth having on the wiki? stepsInstall

I wish you all a nice weekend.

/ Niels

gschaider May 25, 2008 13:18

Hi Niels! Yeah. Seems like
Hi Niels!

Yeah. Seems like a very nice start for a "all the obstacles a newbie may encounter"-document (maybe other people would like to extend it in that direction). Put it into the How-To-section.


alberto May 25, 2008 15:14

Thanks Niels
Thanks Niels

basilwatson May 26, 2008 07:06

At last a post I can add to !!
At last a post I can add to !!!!

In my alter ego, I teach . Now there are 4 points to teaching
1 Dont know; completely unaware.

2 aware but cant formulate a question/procedure.

3 Can use but needs 100% concentration and or a long time.

4 Can use easily, often multitasking.

As A newbee I am conversant with fluid flow, but the complete skill set is lacking. Now I personally learn by seeing and doing . ( there are other types of learning , such as Audio)

So FOR me, the comment.. do a search is useless. Why ? have a look at No 1 .. How can you search when you dont know what you are looking for ? so ( for me ) a here is a similar or try this is much more useful.

The infrastructure is in place, lots of tutorials etc. but the getting started does need to be expanded. ( for example cavity , was easiy to run ,,, but expanding - or trying a different problem - on that has lead to a lot of wasted time ( for me and others )

I feel that is no one group(s) responsibility but each persons (contribution??) which comes from the use of a open source program !

well this is the way I look at things anyway .


ngj May 27, 2008 07:40

Hi all The wiki is now upda
Hi all

The wiki is now updated, just follow this link:

As I previously suggested it would be nice to have a link to such a page on the front page of the forum ... does any of you have access to put it there it LARGE RED LETTERS

Enjoy this post-rainy day.


mattijs May 27, 2008 14:19

I put a referral to the Wiki o
I put a referral to the Wiki on the OpenFOAM topic main page.

ngj May 27, 2008 14:56

Great! Thanks, Niels
Great! Thanks,


ngj July 1, 2008 04:01

Hi all First of all, good m
Hi all

First of all, good morning to any one of you.

Secondly, I thought this thread would be a good place to post my complaint. I feel that within the last couple of weeks there have been a tendency to post the same questions in multiple threads within a very short time span.

I would recommend that people avoids this kind of behaviour, as it is cluttering the Forum, and my personal reaction, when reading 3 identical post put out there during the night, is that my motivation to help completely evaporates, as this kind of behaviour utterly reflects the lack of respect of other peoples time and priorities.
Further it makes it completely impossible for people with similar problems to get hold on the answers, as no one would think of replying the same answer two or three times, CTRL-C and CTRL-V are good combinations, but not that good.

Please, put one message out there, and the forum will try to help - if possible.

For every one else out there, sorry for my sour remark, I will go back and be happy again;)

/ Niels

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