OpenFOAM is a very large piece of software in a complex area of scientific application. Many thousands of people from industry, government laboratories, academic institutions, etc., download OpenFOAM and use it for free. With such a large user base, working potentially in safety-critical applications, the management and distribution of OpenFOAM is a major responsibility.
The OpenFOAM Foundation licenses, packages and distributes OpenFOAM, so has responsibility for the content of the software. In particular:
- it manages the current development line of OpenFOAM, available to the general public under the name OpenFOAM-dev;
- it manages maintenance of current release versions of OpenFOAM, with small changes and bug fixes being made available to the general public in the so-called ‘x’ repositories at GitHub; for example, bug fixes for OpenFOAM v2.3.1 are available in the OpenFOAM-2.3.x repository.
The Git Repository Release page contains instructions on the download and compilation of source code from these repositories.
The Directors of the OpenFOAM Foundation contributing to the management of OpenFOAM are: Henry Weller (code’s creator and OpenFOAM project co-founder); and, Chris Greenshields (OpenFOAM project co-founder).
There are several contributors to OpenFOAM, working in different areas of the project:
- Core Development: Developments of major functionality in OpenFOAM is undertaken by a long-term core group that currently includes: Henry Weller (code architect and lead developer); Mattijs Janssens, (lead developer and OpenFOAM project co-founder); and, Andy Heather.
- New Tools: There are other contributors providing smaller pieces of new functionality to OpenFOAM and new example cases, scripts, software configuration, etc.
- Maintenance and Testing: Maintenance of OpenFOAM, including code testing, is supported by some main developers and a number of other contributors through the bug reporting system.
The OpenFOAM Foundation is passionate about managing the development of OpenFOAM and protecting its integrity. Anyone in a position to contribute to OpenFOAM will be asked to sign an OpenFOAM Contributor Agreement. The Agreement transfers ownership of the code or grants sufficient rights to the Foundation to allow it to be able to take legal action against those who infringe the OpenFOAM licence — thereby protecting the interests of all who have contributed to it.
The OpenFOAM Foundation manages the development of OpenFOAM as a meritocracy. Roles in the project are granted by the actions of an individual in the community as well as the ability and experience to contribute to a sufficiently high standard. Once in a role, the individual needs to continue to demonstrate a commitment to maintaining standards.
It is acknowledged that in software engineering, assessment of quality can often be quite subjective, so the ability of an individual is often open to debate. We have therefore published Contribution Guidelines that sets out our expectations about contributions.