CFD Online Discussion Forums

CFD Online Discussion Forums (
-   OpenFOAM (
-   -   CastNet & OpenFOAM (

DoHander February 12, 2011 22:50

CastNet & OpenFOAM
I wonder how moral it is to make money using the work of other people, apparently this is what CastNet tries to do:

they sell ... a GUI for OpenFoam.
What the community thinks about this ?


arjun February 13, 2011 03:14

I do not think they are making money from other people's work. If they made some effort in making this GUI then what is wrong in selling it??

By the way I think that makers of openFOAM also make money from openFOAM, and nothing wrong or immoral in it.

wyldckat February 13, 2011 08:09

Greetings to all!

@DoHander: If you were following this thread "OpenFOAM Under a Lesser GPL (LGPL) License" you would've picked up on what you can or cannot do with GPL software. ;)
For example, start reading here:

Originally Posted by
Does the GPL allow me to sell copies of the program for money?
Yes, the GPL allows everyone to do this. The right to sell copies is part of the definition of free software. Except in one special situation, there is no limit on what price you can charge. (The one exception is the required written offer to provide source code that must accompany binary-only release.)

This is why CAELinux can charge 20 bucks for the DVD version and they provide tons of GPL software in it! It can be interpreted like this: what you are selling isn't the software itself, it's the service for providing the software.

CastNet would be only infringing the law if by any chance it was linked directly or during run time, to any of the libraries of OpenFOAM. This would mean that technically OpenFOAM would be part of the CastNet binaries, thus making it automatically GPL'ed.
But if it only prepares the case files and does system calls to run the desired OpenFOAM applications, then there isn't any problem, since this would make CastNet technically independent of OpenFOAM.
But if they provide a new solver for CastNet that links to OpenFOAM, then that solver(s) is under the GPL terms and the source code (for all of the changes and additions to OpenFOAM) must be available for a price not superior to price of the binaries.

So, read up on the GPL FAQ before you start making accusations ;) Otherwise some unmentionable cable news channels will pick up on your comment and start making accusations on their own, without verifying the integrity of the story, because they only care about ratings... and GORE :D

Best regards,

DoHander February 13, 2011 09:48

I know they are not infringing any copyright law, my point was about the "morality" (if there is such a thing) of their enterprise. It was not even an accusation, just a personal curiosity about what other people think about this.

Also, comparing CastNet with CAElinux is not fair, you can download the cd image for free, if you want a physical cd it is fair to ask money for it. Please check how much money CastNet charge per month for using their case generator :). Again this is not about legalities, I know they have the "right" to do that ...

I've recently seen a similar story with someone that does a similar trick with the open source software Blender.


DoHander February 13, 2011 09:54



Originally Posted by arjun (Post 295015)
I do not think they are making money from other people's work. If they made some effort in making this GUI then what is wrong in selling it??

By the way I think that makers of openFOAM also make money from openFOAM, and nothing wrong or immoral in it.

Totally agree with your last sentence, the "makers" have any moral right to make money from their own work.

Anyway, probably I was a bit harsh yesterday night when I've posted my question; but I was stil under the impression of a similar trick done with Blender by a different company ...


wyldckat February 13, 2011 11:05

Hi DoHander,

:eek: OK, I didn't give enough relevance the "moral" point of view :) I think I deduced that you didn't take into GPL's licensing mechanism.

But if you think CastNet is outrageous, check this out:
I can only assume they have some trademark agreement with OpenCFD, because in this case, even if they state that OpenFOAM is OpenCFD's trademark, the statement doesn't mention that they have an agreement with OpenCFD to use FOAM in their product's name! :eek:

As for CastNet's price, I think it's about 1/3-1/4 of the cost per year, when compared to other professional CFD applications. And it isn't bound to a number of processors/cores licensing mechanism... And it's somewhat targeted to a German audience... And seems to be a full GUI, with setting up, pre-processing, running and post-processing, all into one! Sooo... from a German industry point of view, it costs a lot less!! ;) And if you take into account the need for investing 1000-5000 in training per person in using OpenFOAM, without relying on these kinds of software, it might be more cost effective in the short run. So, econo-morally speaking, it doesn't seem unethical ;) It's just another packaged service!

But for something more "cost effective", you can also checkout Symscape's Caedium, which can also work with OpenFOAM ;) But connecting to OpenFOAM is only a side capability in this case.

As for the Blender based software, I think I know which one you're talking about ;) Again, that can be considered more of a service than actually just selling software. Now, if they don't even want to sell the code changes made to both Blender and OpenFOAM to their clients (it the clients can get their hands on the binaries, that is), then FSF will want to hear about it and bring forth legal hell onto them :cool:

Best regards,

stawrogin February 13, 2011 15:55

Hi Do,

I think the point is, CastNet is based on a commercial meshing solution, comparable to ANSA, Pointwise etc. All of them offer more or less GUI capablities for OpenFOAM. Also ANSA and Pointwise don't offer their products for "free" because OpenFOAM is "free". There are many open source systems for meshing and preprocessor for OpenFOAM, if you are happy with them it's fine, if not there are commercial alternatives, which is fine as well.

Best regards


elvis February 14, 2011 03:23


what is special about CastNet is that it reads Cad Data from Commercial Programms =>Parasolid, ACIS. Ulrich Heck has licenced therefore the commercial Product from Simmetrix
and build Castnet around that.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 14:24.