It seems that anyone who is computer literate uses OpenFOAM on a Linux system. I’m not that advanced. I’m just proud (read: living in ignorance about the challenge ahead) of myself for choosing OpenFOAM as the program I’ll use in my analysis.

This is my experience/ tips for getting started with the program on Windows.

  • Download the mingw version. My feeling is that the docker version is just as easy to set up if you follow the instructions carefully, but that’s not what I’ve gone with. I might need to swap later as things advance and need a version that does “support compilation of OpenFOAM or dynamic code”, whatever that is.
  • Don’t open the download directly. In your downloads folder, right click on the download and select “run as administrator”.
  • Just click through the install process as recommended. If I remember correctly, it installs to C:\Program files automatically. In an earlier attempt to install the program it went to my user roaming profile, which meant that my computer took 15 minutes to shut down and load on the university’s system. So, make sure you install to C:\ / as an administrator if you notice installing OpenFOAM stuffs up your start up and shut down.
  • If you don’t already have a text reader that isn’t NotePad, download one like Atom – it’s useful when you do the tutorials.
  • Download ParaView and install as recommended. OpenFOAM recommends the most recent stable version, which they give as 5.4 (Jan 2021). I downloaded the .exe version of 5.9.0. I’m not sure if this is why the paraFoam command doesn’t work for me as I work through the tutorial or not, but I’m still working that out…
  • To ensure things remain talking to each other like they should, run the program as an administrator too.
  • Do the tutorials.
  • At the blockMesh step of the first “cavity” example, I was getting an error that it couldn’t “…load shared object file: No such file or directory.” This forum post sorted me out – this is where I learnt that I needed to install OpenFOAM as an administrator. The difference between installing as admin or not seemed to be the installation of the MSMPI 10.0, whatever that is.
  • At the paraFoam step, I got the error … . I got around this by following the tip on this post: 1. typing “touch cavity.foam” in the OpenFOAM command window, 2. opening ParaView, 3. opening the cavity.foam file from the directory I saved it in (that which is in yellow text in the command window). [I think one way around this will be to install ParaView inside the openFOAM directory, but haven’t tried that yet].

To be continued…

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