GeekoCFD,  Linux,  openSUSE

Goodbye GeekoCFD

I created GeekoCFD (first release on September 2nd, 2010) with the idea of simplifying the adoption of openSUSE for computing and, in particular, for computational fluid dynamics. It included one of the most popular open-source tools for computational fluid dynamics, OpenFOAM®, computer algebra systems such as octave and wxMaxima, and integrated development environments as Eclipse, in addition to a set libraries commonly used in HPC. At the time when I started to work on GeekoCFD, these packages were either not available on openSUSE, or difficult to build on it, while they were readily available on competing distributions. SUSE Studio, a web-based and user-friendly tool to build customizes Linux images in several formats (DVD, USB live image, and virtual machine formats) represented the ideal venue to put my idea into practice without too much effort.

GeekoCFD existed in three versions 32-bit, 64-bit and 64-bit text-mode only, a reduced version of the 64-bit one for command-line only operations. The full 64-bit version of GeekoCFD was the most successful. There have been seven major releases of GeekoCFD, with the last version being 7.1.1, which were downloaded a total of 7,393 times (total number of downloads including the three versions), and cloned on SUSE Studio a total of 330 times.

Unfortunately, it was recently announced that SUSE Studio is going to be shut down on February 15th, 2018. The proposed alternative, SUSE Studio Express, relies on the openSUSE Build Service (OBS), with a more complex user interface, largely based on the existing OBS web interface. At the moment, this new system requires significant more knowledge and effort than SUSE Studio did to build and distribute images. It also does not offer the equivalent of SUSE Gallery, which was an effective, professionally-looking way to distribute appliances. These changes, in addition to the difficulties recently experienced with Gallery, led me to reconsider the need for GeekoCFD, and re-evaluate the conditions which led me to start it.

What emerged by my analysis is the following:

  • The main reason for users to download GeekoCFD was to access a ready-to-use installation of OpenFOAM® with several additional tools. This need is now fulfilled by the regular release of Ubuntu packages and Docker images by the OpenFOAM Foundation.
  • Windows users can now rely on the Windows 10 – Windows Subsystem for Linux, as illustrated here. The default image is based on Ubuntu, which allows the packages released by the OpenFOAM® foundation to be directly installed. Users who prefer an openSUSE-based system, can install openSUSE in WSL in the Windows Store here.
  • Building OpenFOAM® on openSUSE has become easier. Instructions are officially maintained by the OpenFOAM® Foundation, and dependencies are readily available in the official repositories of openSUSE.
  • The situation in terms of availability of libraries for computing on openSUSE has somewhat improved. Some of the packages originally included in GeekoCFD are now available via unofficial repositories on OBS.

Based on these considerations, and taking my other commitments into account, I decided to stop maintaining GeekoCFD at the end of December 2017. No new versions will be released, and the latest version won’t be maintained any further. Users who have installed GeekoCFD 7.1.x, based on Leap 42.2, are advised that official updates from openSUSE will end on January 26th, 2018. These users are encouraged to upgrade to a more recent version or consider one of the alternatives discussed above, to ensure their system is up to date.

I would like to conclude this announcement by saying “Thank you!” to all the users of GeekoCFD who provided feedback over the years, the colleagues gave input and valuable suggestions, and the friends I have made thanks to it.

Happy new year!  🙂

This offering is not approved or endorsed by OpenCFD Limited, the producer of the OpenFOAM software and owner of the OPENFOAM® and OpenCFD® trade marks. Alberto Passalacqua is not associated to OpenCFD Ltd.