Getting started with CAELinux 2011

J. Cugnoni,, 12.10.2011


  1. Welcome & License terms

  2. Introduction tutorial

  3. Softwares included in CAELinux 2011

  4. Installing & upgrading CAELinux

Welcome & License terms:

First of all, we would like to thank you for your interest in CAELinux which we hope will fulfill your needs in Computer Aided Engineering. This Linux distribution is based on the excellent basis provided by Ubuntu 10.04.3 64bit OS and includes an always increasing number of open source modeling, simulation & design software. Most of the content (~95%) of CAELinux is provided under the well known “free” / open-source licenses GPL  or  LGPL  (Gnu Public Licenses) which allows you to freely use (private & commercial) and redistribute these software packages. But as it is nearly impossible to check the licenses of all included packages, it is your responsibility to verify the licensing terms of the software that you are using. The authors of the distribution are not responsible for these licensing aspects and this distribution and all the included softwares are provided without any warranty. CAELinux is developed by passionate open-source loving engineers and scientists with the goal of popularizing the use of free / open-source codes in basic and applied research.


The predefined login and passwords in CAELinux are:

   Normal user account:          
        user: caelinux       password: caelinux     

  Admin / Root user account : 

         in Ubuntu, there is no 'root' account, to run administrative tasks, just use the "sudo" command and enter your own user password to validate

For a very quick introduction to CAELinux capabilities, you should follow the Installation Manual  and the first Videos Tutorials.

    Ubuntu Installation manual (PDF):
        See:   /opt/caelinux/docs/HowToInstallUbuntu.pdf
                  Note: manual partitioning is recommended, you need at least 20Gb for root '/' partition

    Video Tutorials:

       Linear static stress analysis of a piston (Salome_Meca / Code-Aster)

           PDF tutorial (recommended): /opt/caelinux/docs/tutorials/piston/Piston_tutorial.pdf
  Video tutorial:  /opt/caelinux/docs/tutorials/piston/PistonTutorial.htm (based on an older version)
           Online video tutorial: (recent version of Salome)

       Simple 3D fluid dynamics analysis of a Y-shaped pipe (Salome & OpenFOAM)
      Geometry:  /opt/caelinux/docs/tutorials/pipe/PipeGeom.htm
           Meshing:  /opt/caelinux/docs/tutorials/pipe/PipeMesh.htm
           CFD solution:  /opt/caelinux/docs/tutorials/pipe/PipeOpenFOAM.m4v

       Simple 3D fluid dynamics analysis of a Y-shaped pipe (Salome & Code-Saturne)
      Geometry:  /opt/caelinux/docs/tutorials/pipe/PipeGeom.htm
           Meshing:  /opt/caelinux/docs/tutorials/pipe/PipeMesh.htm
           CFD solution:  /opt/caelinux/docs/tutorials/pipe/PipeSaturne.m4v

       Online tutorials and wiki
  wiki contains a large number of additionnal tutorials and documents to help you master all these simulation codes. Check out the following pages for more information:





Software included in CAELinux 2011

Here is a non exhaustive list of CAE software packages included in CAELinux as well as some key informations to get started. Some of the software can be started from Desktop shortcuts or from the CAE start menu, but most of the console based tools will require that you use our special shell called 'Command line tools' (in CAE start menu).



How to start



Salome-Meca 2011

3D CAD,Meshing
Post Processing,
Multiphysics FE analysis

Salome_Meca in CAELinux menu


- HTML doc accessible inside the application
- Tutorials in /opt/caelinux/docs

Salome v6.3

Post Processing

Salome_Meca in CAELinux menu


- HTML doc accessible inside the application
- Tutorials in /opt/caelinux/docs

Code Aster v11.0
(64 bit, MPI)

multiphysics FE analysis

Can be used from within Salome_Meca (OpenMP/Intel compiler version)  


with the Code-Aster wizard  &  the ASTK  / Eficas interfaces (MPI version)

OpenMP version:

MPI version:

- documentation available from within EFICAS.
- English doc (automatic translations) are available online at
- Tutorials in /opt/caelinux/docs and on the wikis at


explicit FE dynamics

use shortcut in CAELinux start menu


- Documentation available from the interface
- Examples in installation directory


(64 bit, MPI)

multipurpose CFD oriented solvers

use 'CAE terminal' from CAE start menu
or use Discretizer::Setup to setup your simulation


- Examples & tutorials in /opt/openfoam170

Elmer SVN march 2011 ElmerFront, ElmerGUI,

(64 bit, MPI)

multiphysics FE package

use the shortcuts from CAELinux menu or start 'ElmerFront' or 'ElmerGUI' from CAE terminal

System package

- Documentation and Examples at
- misc mesh converter from Salome (not necessary anymore): 

Calculix 2.3

(64 bit)

pre-post & FE solver, Abaqus-like

from CAE Terminal:
start 'ccx_2.3' for Calculix solver & 'cgx' for pre-post GUI

System package

- Documentation in /usr/local/CalculiX/
- Examples & misc tools in /opt/Calculix
- mesh converter from Salome:
  /opt/Calculix/MEDABA/medaba10-64bit (from MED to INP)
  /opt/helpers/ (from UNV to INP)

Code-Saturne 2.0.2

(64 bit, MPI, with Syrthes coupling)

 3D CFD solver

from Code-Saturne Terminal use the different utilities (code_saturne --help)

from the CAELinux menu:
use Code-Saturne wizard and then SaturneGUI


- Documentation in installation directory, use 'code_saturne info --help' command to display help
- tutorial in /opt/caelinux/docs
- coupling with heat transfer code Syrthes possible through MPI (although not tested)

GMSH 2.5

Scriptable & general purpose geometry modelling, meshing and post processing

use shortcut in CAELinux menu 

or type 'gmsh' from terminal

System package

- tutorials & demos on

enGrid 1.2rc1

( 64 bit)

CFD oriented mesher for 3D tetrahedral meshing with prismatic boundary layer

run from CAELinux menu or from terminal:

System package

- tutorial at

Gerris flow solver SVN

( latest 64 bit, MPI)

2D / 3D  CFD solvers based on automatic octree mesh refinement

use from terminal :
gerris2D, gerris3D, gfsview

System package

- examples & tests at

MBDyn 1.3.15

(64 bit)

- multibody dynamics
- comes with a Blender interface
- animation of results with easyanim

use from 'CAE Terminal' :
start 'mbdyn' 


- Documentation & examples in installation directory
- use '' & 'EasyAnimm' for visualization


non-linear explicit dynamics

start manually from terminal


- Documentation & examples in installation directory

Dolfin / Fenics

General purpose  FE solver for multiphysics applications

use from terminal

System package

- Documentation & examples on the web :

Octave +  qtoctave

MATLAB compatible mathematical programming

from application menu, or type 'octave' in any console

System package

- Help available from within the octave shell, with the 'help' command


Matlab/Simulink-like mathematical programming environment

from  application menu, or type 'scilab' in any console

System package

- Help, examples, demos available from within the Scilab GUI


Maple like symbolic computing environment

from shortcuts on in application menu, or type 'wxmaxima' in any console

System package

- Help, examples, demos available from within the wxMaxima GUI

R and RKWard

Mathematical modelling & statistics (similar to S-Plus)

from CAE softwares/Math start menu
or from a console with 'rkward'

System package

 - Help available from within the RKWard interface

Paraview 3.8

general purpose 3D visualization software

from CAELinux menu or

from 'OpenFOAM terminal':
start '' or 'paraFoam' 


- Basic help in OpenFOAM documentation

QCAD, FreeCAD, SagCad

2D & 3D CAD programs

from Application menu

System packages

Discretizer & Discretizer::Setup

- Structured mesh generator for OpenFOAM
- OpenFOAM GUI for job definition and Snappyhexmesh generation

from CAELinux menu


 - on the web

Netgen 4.9.12

3D mesh generator

from CAELinux menu or terminal: run 'netgen'

System package

 - on the web


3D mesh generator

from CAE terminal: run 'tetgen'


 - on the web


3D visualization

From Applications menu or run 'dx' in a shell

System package

- from application

ITK-Snap 1.6
J.Cugnoni version

3D biomedical image processing and segmentation

From CAELinux menu


- on the web


Scientific image processing & analysis

From CAELinux menu

System package

- on the web

Aero / foil simulation:
xfoil, javafoil, avl, datcom

Airfoil & Airplane simulation / optimization tools

From terminal

or CAELinux menu


- in installation directories

other useful tools

Several usefull tools, documents and examples are provided in /opt/caelinux directory:

- : GUI to create a Code-Aster FE analysis from template & Salome MED mesh

- GUI to create a Code-Saturne CFD analysis from a Salome MED mesh

- Unv2X, unv2abaqus, unv2gmsh...: a set of python scripts to facilitate mesh conversion from UNV (Salome for example) to other solvers like Calculix, Elmer or OpenFOAM.

- a python script to generate an Ensight .case file from an Ensight ouput directory generated by Code-Aster.

- /opt/caelinux/docs/tutorials contains some interesting tutorials on combined use of Salome & Code-Aster

Other recommended software that could not be included on the DVD

Due to space limitations, many interesting software could not be included. Here is a short list of suggested packages that you can add after installation of CAELinux to hard disk:

Mathematical modeling: Sage (get DEB from, OpenModelica (install from Synaptics)

CAD: Dassault DraftSight (free, closed source 2D drafting, see

Acoustics: Agros2D (from Synaptics, but need to force install manually), Acousto (see

Molecular dynamics/Ab-initio: Gromacs (from Synaptics), LAMMPS (, Amber (, NAMD ( , Quantum Espresso (, Plumed (

Phase field simulation: OpenPhase (

And many other FEM, CFD and experimental data & image processing tools ...

Installing & upgrading CAELinux

Thanks to the very simple Ubuntu LiveCD installer, you can very quickly turn your LiveDVD CAELinux environment to a full featured hard disk install which will let you customize and update your system as you may want. We will not detail the installation steps here, but we highly recommend that you read the documentation on Ubuntu website ( or  /opt/caelinux/docs/HowToInstallUbuntu.pdf . To install CAELinux 2011 on hard disk, you will need at least 20Gb of free space on an ext3 or ext4 partition and preferably 2Gb on a Linux Swap partition (use Ubuntu disk partitioning tool to resize or create your partitions & don't forget to BACKUP your data FIRST).

After installation, you will be able to customize your OS, install new packages & update your system (kernel, 3D drivers etc...) with the very efficient Ubuntu administrative tools (in Menu->System). From there, you will be able to configure all the aspects of the system and directly install & update softwares from Internet with the Synaptics software package manager.

Hardware support: 3D Drivers

Ubuntu 10.04 includes open source 3D drivers for most of the recent graphic cards and thus should give you a decent 3D acceleration “out of the box”. However, for a better hardware support / performance, you may need to install specific "proprietary" drivers (hardware 3D acceleration, Wifi). Specific proprietary drivers are not preinstalled but may be proposed by Ubuntu after installation: go to Menu->System->Administrative Tools->Hardware Drivers to activate proprietary drivers for your card. If Ubuntu does not offer you specific drivers, you may find a solution on forums and wiki.


If you encounter problems with the liveDVD, you can try the following:

For any other question regarding CAELinux or one of the included software, you can visit our forums at

Supporting the development of CAELinux

CAELinux is a collection of a large number of Open Source programs, so first of all, we should all be very grateful to the many developers that have spent a lot of their  time in the development of these great software packages. CAELinux is developed by passionate developers without any external financial support. If you like CAELinux, we really encourage you to support the development of both CAELinux and Ubuntu / Debian packages with a donation  (even small). For more information about donation to the CAELinux developers, just visit our website:  

Additionally, the documentation / translation / tutorials are essential to help beginners in their learning process. If you feel like contributing to CAELinux Documentation or if you are developing a small utility that would be useful to all of us, you should participate and share your experience in the CAELinux Wiki at :

And remember, making Open Source software grow and improve is a dynamic process, where the most critical point is probably to create an active community of users and developers: in this sense any question / interaction is vital to the development of open source codes!! 

The CAELinux websites are here to create this common "share point" where developers & users can interact.
So if you like CAELinux, the most important contribution that you could bring is probably to keep its community alive by posting/answering questions on the forums or the wiki, and by spreading the distribution among your friends and colleagues.