One of the driving forces behind HPC clusters is the open source or open community. I said that multiple time before. In particular, the existence of open source applications helps extending the reach of HPC to more places and creates the community to progress the development and take advantage of higher scaling and new hardware products. One of the more interesting open source applications is or was OpenFOAM. OpenFOAM is computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation software that has become a good alternative to the commercial solution, and a good tool for universities research activities.
Couple of weeks ago, OpenFOAM was acquired by SGI and the entire OpenCFD team has joined SGI as full-time employees. SGI said that they would provide “the market's first fully integrated CFD solution, where all the hardware and software work together” which is the same concept we saw in other software-hardware acquisitions. While SGI claims to continue and distribute free versions of OpenFOAM, my fear is that OpenFOAM will repeat previous similar cases, where over time the free versions become useless, and the application becomes yet another commercial option. The open source, open community, OpenFOAM software was a great thing, and served as the base for several derivatives for other simulations cases. We will need to wait and see what will be the future of it.