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Unfortunately open source FE codes cannot most of the time be compared to commercial ones in terms of functionnality and maintenance. Reasons are easy to understand: these projects involve in general only a few persons and when they move to other business interests, the project stalls. There are however a few exception: OpenFOAM seems to be one for CFD modelling (I don't have experience with this code) and Code_Aster for Solid Mechanics. Code_Aster is being developed by EDF, a large french electricity company. They use Code_Aster for their internal needs in terms of thermo-mechanical modelling. Considering their rather large community of users (more than 100 FE users only for EDF) and the resource they use to this project (probably a few dozens of developers working at least regularly on it), it is no surprise that CODE_ASTER has become a very powerfull tool. Capabilities are very large (thermal analysis, mechanical analysis, dynamic analysis, fracture mechanics,...). Code can import meshes from SALOME, I-DEAS and GMSH. Results can be saved in the same formats. I have 10-year experience with structural mechanics, mostly with ABAQUS but I have used as well NASTRAN, RADIOSS and SAMCEF. I have used CODE_ASTER for substructuring (Super elements) and thermal simulation of welding. In my opinion, there is no real difference between CODE_ASTER and ABAQUS. ABAQUS seems to be better suited for non linear anlyses (contact) but CODE_ASTER has its adavantage (substructuring is far better than in ABAQUS). I would thus recommend CODE_ASTER for people wanting a free, capable, reliable FE software able to perform industrial-like simulations. Documentation is very good, unfortunately in french (but an english translation seems to have begun). 076b4e4f54