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Old   October 16, 2009, 03:49
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Francois Beaubert
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I think that the major problem raised with this documentation project concerns exactly this point.

It's normal that OpenCFD makes money with the support and the training but a documentation project will never replace their expertise.

But what can we think of a company which tries to kill an honest and praiseworthy initiative of her users' community to keep the code a bit inaccessible and undocumented ?

I hope for them that they are not sawing the branch on which they sit.

I really like to see OpenCFD expresses himself on this point and explains us the reasons of its action in justice regrading this documentation project. I'm sure we can dissipate certain fears by having a constructive dialogue together and by establishing a common ground of interest.

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Old   October 16, 2009, 05:47
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Exactly, really doing CFD is much more than reading a manual, and they should know that one would think.

I guess if this is their reason all efforts to reach an agreement will be fruitless - probably they'll use any argument/threat, be it legally sound or not, to stop it. To fight this in court seems not that feasible at this point.
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Old   October 16, 2009, 09:07
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Hallo,
I am sorry to join the cause just now.
I think a cfd tool like this should be kept alive and well documented.
My intention was to use Openfoam for some aerodynamic calculation, and eventually contribute to the community.
It is really killing me to see a so nice structure, users which are using and then contributing, which faces always the same problem.
I don´t know what are the action to take, but I hope to contribute in some way. So I am at community disposal!
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Old   October 16, 2009, 09:46
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Alberto Passalacqua
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kalle View Post
Exactly, really doing CFD is much more than reading a manual, and they should know that one would think.

I guess if this is their reason all efforts to reach an agreement will be fruitless - probably they'll use any argument/threat, be it legally sound or not, to stop it. To fight this in court seems not that feasible at this point.
Litigating legally does not make any sense to me either. It would not really be worth, and that's why whatever decision will be take, it has to fix the issue forever, in order to avoid any further problem of this kind.

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Old   October 16, 2009, 14:04
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Quoting Alberto:

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OpenFOAM(r) and OpenFOAM-dev are already two parallel branches: at each release the -dev version is recreated using the new version from OpenCFD(r), adding all the work done by H. J. and his coworkers and contributors. If the fork will be considered necessary, I think it should be discussed on how to do it.
I feel comfortable with this option, like Ubuntu and Debian.

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Others, me included, think that whatever containing the word "Foam" might be questionable and lead to litigation, even if without actual legal foundation. That's why I would personally stay away from names that might remember the trademark. There are however problems with this choice, the most evident is that even without substantial changes, the code written by OpenCFD(r) would not directly be usable in general on the forked code.
I can't figure why new code will be unusable.

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To be fully transparent, correct, and avoid rushed decisions, I would suggest to give OpenCFD(r) some time (2 weeks?) to consider what is happening and eventually come out with a proposal to discuss of this with the community. This could be asked with an open letter from the community to OpenCFD(r), if the community agrees, as suggested by someone in private. What do you think?
Let's wait... but I'm seriously wondering in changing to OpenSOAP-dev forever.

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Old   October 16, 2009, 20:38
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Originally Posted by santiagomarquezd View Post
Quoting Alberto:
I can't figure why new code will be unusable.
Simple example. "Foam" is the namespace of operators. If you remove "Foam" and replace it with "Smoke" in the forked code, you'll have to change it everywhere.

The code will still be usable, but will require some manual intervention before it builds, at least as long as the two branches do not become too different.

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Old   October 16, 2009, 23:15
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Quote:
Simple example. "Foam" is the namespace of operators. If you remove "Foam" and replace it with "Smoke" in the forked code, you'll have to change it everywhere.

The code will still be usable, but will require some manual intervention before it builds, at least as long as the two branches do not become too different.
Aha it's Ok, simply I supposed all renaming work was implicit in the forking process. Now something is clear for me. I'm starting my thesis in multiphase flows using interSoap, I've been using the OpenSOAP distro, but now I'll download the dev fork and will work over it.

Respect the documentation, if dev changes its name, it is documented and remains near the "official" version I think it won't have too much impact in the comunity, even maybe can be strenght it. Now actors are totally without masks and we can know "who is who" here, then you choose your flavour.

Bye.
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Old   October 18, 2009, 17:04
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Hi.

I think that it would be better if the code could have a meaningful name. For instance OpenSOAP project, www.opensoap.jp derives name SOAP from Simple Object Access Protocol.

It seams that global world is small. Try google with key words: OpenCFD, MSC.

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Old   October 18, 2009, 18:08
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I think that it would be better if the code could have a meaningful name. For instance OpenSOAP project, www.opensoap.jp derives name SOAP from Simple Object Access Protocol.
Ha!, OpenSOAP was only for making fun of the situation, but never thought in googling it, world is small indeed...

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Try google with key words: OpenCFD, MSC.
What's the point?

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Old   October 18, 2009, 18:40
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MSC.Software uses the name OpenCFD for their CFD product.
http://www.nafems.org/media/news/ind...s1003/page172/
The same name as OpenCFD Limited in the trade mark policy:
http://www.opencfd.co.uk/trademarkpolicy.html

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Old   October 18, 2009, 19:17
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Frantisek, it's very interesting, I took a look of your links

Quote:
MSC.Software uses the name OpenCFD for their CFD product.
http://www.nafems.org/media/news/ind...s1003/page172/
The same name as OpenCFD Limited in the trade mark policy:
http://www.opencfd.co.uk/trademarkpolicy.html
but it is not completely clear for me, I think they are referring to OpenCFFFFFD, and they have products to interact with it, they explicitly referrers to Ope... in:

http://www.nafems.org/media/news/ind...ws1003/page31/

nevertheless, I'm completely sure about that. Bye.
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Old   October 18, 2009, 20:31
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Dear FOAMers, new and old

I first discovered OpenFOAM a few months back and quickly fell in love with it. I was entranced by the possibility of a professional open source CFD application. Over the months, as I learned more about OpenFOAM and the community around it, I found an increasing desire to contribute and add to this community. Now the community faces a possible fork of the project. This time, I am inspired to step up from a simple user to a contributor and supporter of the community. But before I step in to help Holgor and the others, I first ask what is this community that we see emerging?

People in communities come together and share common goals. Look at the posts on this forum. We have people spanning the entire globe. A community that joins every single continent. All these users want to know the reaction from OpenCFD and what happens next. As a community, we have already come together, but what are our goals?

What do we share and believe which can motivate commitment? What will make each of us spend our free time writing and code and posting on forums? If this project forks, this is a question we must answer before moving forward. These answers will also help OpenCFD Ltd know what the community desires and hopefully reach a peaceful compromise. Because compromise is what we need to build a community.

So I ask, what are we building here? What does OpenCFD Ltd want to build, and do we share their dream? Myself, I hope to see low cost or free CFD software. A future where money does not prevent people from using the most powerful tools that we can develop today. I hope to see a CFD program that is effective and accessible for users to learn and use. I don't believe OpenFOAM can do that in its current state, but it is the best option so far.

This is the purpose I want to contribute to. What about the rest of the community. What dream will you contribute to?
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Old   October 18, 2009, 20:49
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Alberto Passalacqua
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In this post I try to make a summary of the discussion up to this point, in order to underline its key point and decide how to move on at community level.

The discussion, even if limited in time and in the number of participants, clearly showed the need of an open and more community oriented approach to development of OpenFOAM(r). The reasons of this need can be summed up as follow:

  • The OpenCFD(r) trademark policy represents a problem that might prevent the development of community-driven initiatives around OpenFOAM(r), as it happened with the documentation project, even after it has been renamed.
  • It is currently difficult to contribute to the official release of OpenFOAM(r) since no official way to contribute code exists, the author of the code has to transfer the copyright on the code to OpenCFD(r) and his name is removed from the source code, without adding recognition elsewhere. Direct, good quality contributions are possible already in the OpenFOAM-dev tree, without any need to accept such restrictive conditions.
  • Some user think the trademark policy affecting the OpenFOAM(r) trademark is too restrictive and might prevent the use of the code in their application.
These points underline the need of a safer and more open platform to develop, contribute code and documentation.

In the discussion two alternatives were considered:
  1. Write an open letter to OpenCFD(r) giving them the opportunity to think about what has been discussed here, and eventually reconsider their position about the OpenFOAM(r) trademark policy, also in light of other, significantly more permissive, trademark policies affecting very popular trademarks in the Free and Open Source Software community. Examples of this are the Linux(r) trademark, the various distributions trademarks (Fedora, openSUSE, ...) and so on.
  2. Proceed with a fork of the OpenFOAM(r) code, creating an independent project where valuable contributions are accepted and recognized, and create documentation for the forked project.
At this point, I think the community should clearly decide what is the way to go, clearly stating their goals and point of views, so that a decision can be taken by the people involved.

Best,
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Old   October 18, 2009, 22:27
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I first ask what is this community that we see emerging?
Hi, and thanks for your question, which is very important. There has always been a community around OpenFOAM(r), but it has been pretty much fragmented, with many sort of independent activities. It seems something is converging around the idea of creating a truly open CFD platform, where users and developers can give their contribution according to their skills and needs.

Quote:
As a community, we have already come together, but what are our goals?
I think everyone should talk about his goals. I can tell you mine, but I cannot speak for other people on this topic. I work in research, so OpenFOAM(r) is for me a development tool with a level of flexibility that is nowhere present in commercial CFD codes. It puts together the flexibility of an unstructured code, the very high quality of its C++ code (it's not FORTRAN! ) and the possibility of hacking the code directly. This, by itself, gives you the chance to learn a lot of things on how such a complex piece of software work, and provides you the tools to make your model immediately work in a general code.
On the other hand, there is some downside, mainly related to the complexity of the code itself, the very advanced use of C++ and the almost complete lack of documentation. All these factors make OpenFOAM(r) significantly harder to use and to propose to others as CFD tool or research tool, simply because not many can afford to spend a lot of time to decipher the details of the code, especially when to do what they have to they might not actually need, at first, all the flexibility offered by OpenFOAM(r) itself (many researches are done using simple geometries, for example).

Quote:
What do we share and believe which can motivate commitment? What will make each of us spend our free time writing and code and posting on forums? If this project forks, this is a question we must answer before moving forward. These answers will also help OpenCFD Ltd know what the community desires and hopefully reach a peaceful compromise. Because compromise is what we need to build a community.
What makes me spend time around OpenFOAM(r) is the interest in a project that could become a platform for CFD researchers and users to share solvers and models. One of the major problems in this kind of research is that most of it goes on with home-made codes or commercial codes. This has some clear disadvantage: it is hard to reproduce the results, and when different models are compared, in many cases the uncertainty in the implementation of the model play a significant role, due to the differences in the numerics, the discretization of the equations and so on. OpenFOAM(r) can be seen as a common platform that would avoid or at least limit these problems.
This of course implies that researchers and developers are open to expose their code to the public, which might be embarrassing sometime and expose to criticism. I think the advantages are far larger than the disadvantages, and publishing the code might actually give origin to new ideas and development lines that were not considered before. Fair and motivated criticism is something we should appreciate instead of fear, because in the end it helps us move on

Quote:
So I ask, what are we building here? What does OpenCFD Ltd want to build, and do we share their dream? Myself, I hope to see low cost or free CFD software. A future where money does not prevent people from using the most powerful tools that we can develop today. I hope to see a CFD program that is effective and accessible for users to learn and use. I don't believe OpenFOAM can do that in its current state, but it is the best option so far.
That's one of the questions I should have asked in my previous post. I would rewrite it as What do we want to build here?, because the point is meeting the needs of the community, or we won't be able to make something sustainable it on the long run.

Quote:
This is the purpose I want to contribute to. What about the rest of the community. What dream will you contribute to?
I guess I replied above.

Best,
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Old   October 20, 2009, 19:50
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It's probably worth noting there are already at least two forks of OpenFOAM: OpenFOAM-mswin and FreeFOAM. Both are hosted by sourceforge.
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Old   October 20, 2009, 19:57
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It's probably worth noting there are already at least two forks of OpenFOAM: OpenFOAM-mswin and FreeFOAM. Both are hosted by sourceforge.
Thanks. I knew of FreeFOAM, but not of OpenFOAM-mswin. Unfortunately, their names could still be considered a violation of the trademark policy which led Holger to shut the documentation project down.
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Old   October 21, 2009, 04:31
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FreeFOAM seems very interesting.
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Old   October 21, 2009, 16:35
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Simple example. "Foam" is the namespace of operators. If you remove "Foam" and replace it with "Smoke" in the forked code, you'll have to change it everywhere.
Alberto, I don't understand the line of your argumentation. Above I was questioning whether the distribution of the software under the GPL on the one side and enforcement of the strange trademark policies on the other side can go together. You said no lawyer is needed to answer this question, because the FSF guys replied that GPL and policies are compatible.

Now you talk about renaming certain parts of the code, apparently in order to avoid violation of trademark policies. Does GPL not encourage users of this software to modify and redistribute the source code without bundling any additional restrictions on top of the GPL? Why exactly would you think that the rights from the GPL can be withdrawn by adding a trademark policy?

Concerning what you call a possible fork of the project: my understanding of a fork is a split development line that matures independently from the original project. Already the 1.4.1-dev and 1.5-dev versions do not fall into this category, because their maintainers always seem to struggle to bring the -dev version up to date after each new release of the 'official' version. The suggestion by some people to refactor the source code to get rid of certain character sequences qualifies even less to be called a fork. If you wish, call the refactored code a fork or whatever you like, but please don't argue that the code should not be refactored, because a fork is a bad thing.

I repeat my call. If 50 people in this forum sponsor 50$ each, this should pay a lawyer to clarify essential questions instead of relying on the humble opinion of the FSF guys. If it turns out true that the trademark policy can circumvent the GPL, I don't want to imagine the consequences for open source in general, but then let's refactor the code and don't discuss whether it is a good thing. If it turns out wrong, I am more than willing to spend 50$ to get a valid decision on this topic.

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Old   October 22, 2009, 04:31
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I oppose in giving 50$ to any lawyer and I think these $50 would be better spent in paying openFOAM to develop good documentation and maintaining the code free.
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Old   October 23, 2009, 12:46
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Hi,

I coming a bit late to the discussion, but I have read all the topics and something is not very clear to me. The OpenCFD guys are against using the name OpenFOAM (or its variations) for the documentation project or are against the documentation project itself?

If they are against the project from Holger (that I find a very good idea, actually), why they don’t propose something else? We have a topic in forum with 80 posts and more than 4000 views, which demonstrates the interest of the users in this subject.
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