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tom v.d brink May 4, 2009 16:41

openfoam1.5 on usb flash drive?
I am trying openfoam on my ubuntu box now and it is working but i would like to be more free in using different pc's also at work where we don't have linux.
so is it possible to add openfoam 1.5 to a usb flashdrive installation of linux.
and if so how and which distro would suite this?

also has any one tried this successfully and how is the speed then?

looking forward to your replies.

sushant May 5, 2009 03:04

Just move your OpenFOAM folder to a USB drive. Now whenever you insert the USB drive it will mount (drive with label XYZ will usually mount somewhere like /mnt/XYZ or /media/XYZ, or you can configure manually with /etc/fstab) and you can create a symbolic link in your home folder that points to this OpenFOAM folder.

user@computer:~$ cd ~
user@computer:~$ ln -s /media/someDisk/OpenFOAM OpenFOAM


Your user folder, in which you would usually work (user-1.5.x in ~/OpenFOAM, for example on 1.5.x) would usually contain a lot of files and take up lots of space, so what I do to work around that is:

user@computer:~$ cd ~
user@computer:~$ mkdir user-OF-1.5.x
user@computer:~$ cd /media/someDisk/OpenFOAM
user@computer:/media/someDisk/OpenFOAM$ mv user-1.5.x/* ~/user-OF-1.5.x/
user@computer:/media/someDisk/OpenFOAM$ rm -r user-1.5.x
user@computer:/media/someDisk/OpenFOAM$ ln -s /home/user/user-OF-1.5.x user-1.5.x

Or you can just avoid this altogether and keep your case files in your home folder wherever you like them (may get messy).

As for speed and performance... let me know ;)

sushant May 5, 2009 03:08

And if you want to want an entire linux distro on the USB as well (didn't notice that earlier, sorry) then take a look at Pelican HPC or debian's utilities for making custom live distros (

hellorishi May 27, 2009 03:50


There is a Slax based OF. I have tried it from USB and it works out of box !

tom v.d brink May 27, 2009 04:00

thank you very much every one for your efforts
in the end after doing some more reading i chose to get a usb harddrive 250gb and do a full ubuntu 9.04 install on that. that way i can update packages easier and have my full linux capabilities everywhere.
openfoam also works fine on this and so does parafoam.
speed seems to be okay. a bit slower then the desktop but i expected that as it has to read/write to and from the usb drive the whole session.
but i really like the clean boot from usb without having to change anything on the pc i run on.

henrik May 28, 2009 20:19

Dear Tom,

yes, for a carry-around personal-installation this is a good solution.

There is one issue I came across regarding speed of USB distros. Some distros use compressed file systems. Hence, although it takes time to decompress on-the-fly, it's actually faster than a plain file system on a USB drive due to the better use of the limited bandwidth. However, this sets you back on flexibility (adding packages and so forth). SLAX gets around this by having each package in a compressed file which can be activated and deactivated while the system is running (overlayed file system).


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