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Old   December 30, 2017, 13:04
Default versus Which version to use?
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(Note: I've had to write about this so many times already, that I'm writing this thread to make it easier to use it as a reference thread for future questions.)

Naming context
  • OPENFOAMŪ is a registered trade mark of OpenCFD Limited, producer and distributor of the OpenFOAM software via
    • OpenCFD is part of the ESI group, which is why it is usually referred to ESI-OpenCFD.
    • Please read the OPENFOAM Trade Mark Guidelines, if you plan on using the OpenFOAM name.
  • The OpenFOAM Foundation - - was originally founded by OpenCFD and SGI in 2011, when SGI acquired OpenCFD back then.
    • This Foundation has permission to use the OPENFOAMŪ trade mark.
    • You can find a bit more about it in the history time line here.

Version numbering convention and features

  • The OpenFOAM Foundation uses the numbering convention "I.J", for example: 4.0, 4.1 and 5.0.
    • There is no defined date of when a new version is released.
    • The development is done using many of the strategies advocated in the DevOps programming culture, which is why it provides weekly releases of the current development line (OpenFOAM-dev) here:
    • Code contributed to the OpenFOAM Foundation requires that all contributors sign the "Contributor Agreement" - see section "Getting Involved" in this page for more details as to why: How to Contribute to OpenFOAM
    • Access to the bug tracker and development line is available to the public without registration/login needed (unless you need to report a bug).
  • ESI-OpenCFD uses the numbering convention "vYYMM", for example: "v1706", which stands for having been released in June (6th month) of 2017.
For easier reference about each specific version, on the top right corner of the main page at - you can find links to all of the release notes for each version.

Which version to choose?

Here are a few suggested steps for helping you decide:
  1. Make a list of what features you need to use. Then cross-reference what you need with the ones listed for each version.
  2. Still not sure? Pick any or both of the latest versions from each website, but start working with just one of them.
    • If you are not able to install one specific version, try the other one.
  3. When you notice that you need a feature that is not in the current version, then go look into the other version(s) and release notes.
    • The other version should be compatible for the most part.
  4. If you can't find a specific feature in the release notes, try searching online for it and/or check for other forks/variants or any other contributions (see here and here).


But why?

Why not? It's open source. It's one of its major strengths! You can choose from at least two major types of development lines, both of which are evolving as best as possible, as well as several other forks and online contributions.

See for example RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL and CentOS and Scientific Linux) versus Fedora exist.

And there is even foam-extend, which was the second major fork of OpenFOAM till the end of 2014 and is hopefully going to gradually be integrated into the development line provided by ESI-OpenCFD.

Will features from ESI-OpenCFD be integrated into the OpenFOAM Foundation source code?

In the near future, it doesn't look like it, but hopefully this will change later on.
Right now, there are contributions being made by developer(s) who work(s) for ESI-OpenCFD, but they are done directly to the OpenFOAM Foundation ( and then get integrated into the development line at ESI-OpenCFD (

Any quick guides on changes between versions?

At you can find two pages with at least some information, which you can then try to cross-reference with the respective version from
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Last edited by wyldckat; December 31, 2017 at 10:39.
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