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Getting started with CAELinux 2007

J.Cugnoni, www.caelinux.com, 2007


  1. Welcome & Licence terms
  2. Introduction tutorial
  3. Softwares included in CAELinux Beta 2007
  4. Installing & upgrading CAELinux

Welcome & Licence terms:

First of all, we would like to thank you for your interest in CAELinux which we hope will fullfill your needs in Computer Aided Engineering. This Linux distribution is based on the excellent PCLinuxOS 2007 system and includes an allways increasing number of open source modelling, simulation & design softwares. Most of the content (99%) of CAELinux is provided under the well known GPL or LGPL (Gnu Public Licence) which allows you to freely use and redistribute these softwares. But as it is nearly impossible to check the licenses of all included packages, it is your responsibility to verify the licencing terms of the softwares that you are using. The authors of the distribution are not responsible for these licencing aspects and this distribution and all the included softwares are provided without any warranty.


User accounts

The predefined login and passwords for CAELinux are:

Normal user account (recommended):

user: caelinux; password: caelinux

Root user account (not recommended for everyday use):

user: root; password: root


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

Introduction / Installation manual (PDF):

See: Doc:InstallationGuide

Video / interactive Tutorials

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

Interactive tutorial: Doc:PistonTutorial

Simple 3D fluid dynamics analysis of a Y-shaped pipe (Salome & OpenFOAM)

Video tutorial: Doc:PipeTutorial

Softwares included in CAELinux Beta 3

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 softwares 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).

Software Use How to start Installation
Salome_Meca_2007.1 3D CAD,Meshing

Post Processing,

Multiphysics FE analysis
Salome_Meca in CAE start menu /opt/SALOME-MECA-2007.1-GPL - HTML doc accessible inside the application
- Tutorials in /opt/helpers/docs
Salome v3.2.6 3D CAD,


Post Processing
Salome_Meca in CAE start menu /opt/SALOME-MECA-2007.1-GPL/SALOME - HTML doc accessible inside the application
- Tutorials in /opt/helpers/docs
Code Aster v9.1 multiphysics FE analysis Can be used from within Salome_Meca  
with the New-FE-analysis wizard  &  the ASTK  / Eficas interfaces
/opt/SALOME-MECA-2007.1-GPL/aster - French documentation available from EFICAS.
-English doc (automatic translations) in /opt/helpers/docs/CodeAsterEnDoc, use SearchHelp.py from this directory to search for keywords in the English docs.

- Tutorials in /opt/helpers/docs

Impact explicit FE dynamics use shortcut in CAE start menu or start /opt/Impact.sh /opt/impact - Documentation available from the interface
- Examples in installation directory
multipurpose CFD oriented solvers use 'CAE console' from CAE start menu or start FoamX interface from CAE menu or /opt/FoamX.sh /opt/OpenFOAM - Examples & tutorials in /opt/OpenFOAM/OpenFOAM-1.4.1
Elmer v5.3 multiphysics FE package use the shortcut from CAE start menu or start 'ElmerFront' from CAE Console /opt/elmer - Documentation in /opt/elmer

- Examples in /opt/elmer
- mesh converter from Salome: 

Calculix 1.7 pre-post & FE solver, Abaqus-like
from CAE Console:
start 'ccx' for Calculix solver & 'cgx' for pre-post GUI
/opt/CalculiX - Documentation in /opt/CalculiX/ccx_1.7/doc and 

- Examples in /opt/CalculiX/ccx_1.7/test and /opt/CalculiX/cgx_1.7/examples
- mesh converter from Salome:

Code-Saturne  3D CFD/combustion solver from CAE Console:

run /opt/saturne/set_env.sh

and use the different utilities (ecs, ics, ncs ...)
/opt/saturne - Documentation in installation directory, no example available at present time
GMSH 1.65 & 2.0 Scriptable & general purpose geometry modelling, meshing and post processing use shortcut on desktop & start menu, or type 'gmsh' from 'CAE Console' /opt/SALOME-MECA-2007.1-GPL/aster/outils/
(gmsh v1.65)

/opt/gmsh/gmsh2  (gmsh v2)
- tutorials & demos in installation directory
Gerris flow solver v0.6.0 2D / 3D  CFD solvers based on automatic octree mesh refinement use from 'CAE Console' :
gerris2D, gerris3D, ...
/opt/gerris - examples & tests in installation directory
MBDyn multibody dynamics use from 'CAE Console' :
start 'mbdyn' 
/opt/mbdyn - Documentation & examples in installation directory
- use 'mbdyn2easyanim.sh' & 'EasyAnimx' for visualization
Tochnog statics & dynamics FE solver use from 'CAE Console' :
start 'tochnog'
/opt/tochnog - Documentation & examples in installation directory
OpenFlower 3D CFD solver use from 'CAE Console' :
 start interface 'OpenFlowerGUI'
or solver 'OpenFlower'
/opt/openflower - Documentation & examples in installation directory
Dynela non-linear explicit dynamics use from 'CAE Console' :
 start interface 'DynELA_gui'
or solver 'Dynela_solve'
/opt/dynela - Documentation & examples in installation directory
Dolfyn CFD 2D/3D CFD solver use from 'CAE Console'ö
 run 'dolfyn'
/opt/dolfyn - Documentation & examples in installation directory
GetDP general PDE solver  from 'Command line tools' console: start solver 'getdp' /opt/getdp - Documentation & examples in installation directory
- can be started from GMSH
Octave + Octave-Forge MATLAB compatible mathematical programming from CAE menu, or type 'octave' in any console /usr/local/bin - Help available from within the octave shell, with the 'help' command
Scilab Matlab/Simulink-like mathematical programming environment from  CAE menu, or type 'scilab' in any console /opt/scilab/scilab-4.1 - Help, examples, demos available from within the Scilab GUI
wxMaxima Maple like symbolic computing environment from shortcuts on desktop or CAE menu, or type 'wxmaxima' in any console /usr/local/bin - 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'
/usr/bin  - Help available from within the RKWard interface
Paraview general purpose 3D visualization software from 'CAE Console':
start 'paraview'  or 'paraFoam' for OpenFOAM specific post pro
- Basic help in OpenFOAM documentation
QCAD 2D CAD program from Multimedia/Graphics start menu or type 'qcad' from any console /usr/bin
Netgen 3D mesh generator from CAE Console: run 'ng' /opt/netgen  - In installation directory
Tetgen 3D mesh generator from CAE Console: run 'tetgen' /opt/tetgen  - In installation directory
other usefull tools Several usefull tools, documents and examples are provided in /opt/helpers directory:

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

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

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

- /opt/helpers/docs/CodeAsterEnDoc/SearchHelp.py: a simple GUI to search for strings in the English Doc of Code Aster

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

Installing & upgrading CAELinux

Thanks to the very simple PCLinuxOS installer, you can very quickly turn your LiveDVD based 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 in /opt/helpers/docs/CAELinux2007Install.pdf or in Doc:InstallationGuide . To install CAELinux 2007 on hard disk, you will need at least 15Gb of free space on an ext3 partition and preferably 1Gb on a Linux Swap partition. You can also use PCLinuxOS disk partitionning tool to resize Windows partitions or create new partitions. But do not forget: 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 PCLinuxOS Control Center (in Menu->Configuration). 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

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 are provided on the LiveDVD in /opt/helpers/drivers. The drivers are provided either precompiled in the kernel or in Xorg or as dkms modules. DKMS modules are dynamically compiled with your kernel, the compilation of the modules being made at the first boot with a new kernel. So be patient at the first boot, as compiling the modules may take a a while.

3D Graphics Drivers

Here is the procedure to install a 3D driver (can be done in LiveDVD mode or after install):

1. Identify your hardware (vendor, chipset version) : ATI or NVIDIA? 2. Check if you have a "legacy" or a "recent" supported card (see www.nvidia.com or www.ati.com to distiguish) 3. In a terminal, move to the corresponding folder in /opt/helpers/drivers and run "./install.sh" to install the driver

For example to install the proprietary NVidia driver for a recent NVidia 3D chipset (like Geforce FX or higher), type the following in a Konsole:

 cd  /opt/helpers/drivers/nvidia/recent

And the 3D driver will be installed and configured directly (note that you can even do this in LiveDVD mode!!)

Other Drivers

Other proprietary drivers / firmware (for USB Wifi adapters) are available in /opt/helpers/drivers/others as rpm packages. To install these drivers, use the command 'rpm -ivh MyPackageName.rpm' from a Unix shell.


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

  • Boot in an alternate mode: in  the  boot menu of the liveDVD, choose one of the alternate mode like VideoSafeModeVESA or VideoSafeModeFBDev for example.
  • If the system hangs during startup, try to press ESC key to enter "verbose" mode and try to identify the possible error messages.
  • If the system hangs during installation or during a normal use in LiveDVD mode, try to run "MediaCheck" option in the DVD boot menu
  • If after boot up you are left in a console (failed to start X server), you can try the following:
    • Login as root / password root
    • Type "video" to open the Video card configuration tool
    • Select the settings for your video card and monitor. If you don't know what to select, choose the following settings: Video driver: Xorg / Generic-VESA,  monitor: 1024x768 16bpp
    • Test these settings and if successfull, exit the video configuration application
    • once back in the console, type "startx" to launch the graphic environment

For more information about the OS, drivers, kernels, etc.. please visit www.pclinuxos.com

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

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 gratefull to the many developers that have spent a lot oftheir time on the development of these great softwares. CAELinux is based on PCLinuxOS distribution, and both CAELinux & PCLinuxOS are developed by passionnate developers without any external financial support. If you like CAELinux, we really encourage you to support the development of both CAELinux and PCLinuxOS with a donation (even small). For more information about donation to the CAELinux or PCLinuxOS developer, just visit these websites: http://www.caelinux.com and http://www.pclinuxos.com

Additionnally, 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 usefull to all of us, you should participate and share your experience in the CAELinux Wiki at : http://www.caelinux.org

An 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.