Auvation
Cardiff, Wales, UK
Tel: +44-(0)29 2064 6080
Web: http://www.auvation.com
Email: fta@auvation.com

OpenFTA FAQ
Overview (Answers)

1. Where can I find a good overview of OpenFTA?

A good place to start is the OpenFTA brochure which gives a basic overview of the tool and its abilities

Back to top



2. What is the history of OpenFTA?

FSC embarked on the development of Formal-FTA in 1992 and by the mid 1990’s it had a product that, in terms of the core technology, was probably the world’s most advanced fault tree analysis product. However, as a small company, FSC did not have the resources to properly market it. Also the product was initially designed for high-end Unix workstations, but the power of the PC has evolved such that it had become the platform of choice. Continuing as a private-venture project, the user interface was redeveloped in Java, allowing the product to be available on a variety of platforms.

Formal-FTA has never been core to FSC’s business and a decision was made to release it as an open source product, free of charge. The name was changed to OpenFTA to reflect this. The first version of OpenFTA was made available in February 2005.

OpenFTA has been developed very casually, sometimes by new graduates and others without good software engineering backgrounds. It is therefore not built to the standards normal for FSC’s projects.

Back to top



3. Will FSC continue to support and develop OpenFTA?

The simple answer is "no".

However, FSC is pleased to offer support and development on a commercial basis to any organisation wishing to invest in it, either restricted to their own use, or for public use (i.e. with their investment also being open source). Please contact fta@fsc.co.uk

FSC has already invested heavily in this development and is unable to offer further support services without charge.

Back to top



4. What are the primary attractions of OpenFTA?

  1. It has an advanced graphical user interface that is very intuitive, so no special training is necessary.
  2. It provides fast analyses of the basics.
  3. It has been designed to have no limitations (see later).
  4. Its events database can be shared between users and between trees.
  5. It is easily portable across a wide range of platforms, including Microsoft, Linux and Unix.
Back to top



5. What are the primary limitations of OpenFTA?

OpenFTA may not have many of the seldom-used and obscure bells and whistles often found in other commercial tools. However, many of these bells and whistles have often been developed for specific clients and are not of much use to others.

OpenFTA’s print facilities are limited (at the time being made available).

Back to top



6. How well validated is OpenFTA?

OpenFTA is not well validated. However, previous versions of Formal-FTA were subject to detailed testing to establish good results. Also, the deterministic and probabilistic engines are reasonably independent of each other and produce comparative and consistent results.

It is up to you to establish the validity of any results produced! If you produce test suites, you may submit them to this web site for others to use.

Back to top



7. How many gates/events can be supported?

As indicated earlier, one of the main attraction of OpenFTA is that (apart from platform hardware) it has NO limitations of:

  • the number of gates that can be supported
  • the number of events that can be supported
  • the number of (nested) transferred-in trees that can be supported.

OpenFTA was designed for the most challenging requirements.

Back to top



8. How can I get OpenFTA for the platform of my choice?

If it is available on this web site for your platform already built as an executable, then simply download it and use it!

If not, then you can either:

  1. Download the source code and build it for you preferred platform yourself.
  2. Contract a software expert (e.g. FSC) to build it for you. This may cost in the region of US$3,000.

Having built it for that platform, why not join the spirit of the open source movement and submit it for others to use?

Back to top



Getting Started (Answers)

1. Where can I find a good overview of OpenFTA?

A good place to start is the OpenFTA brochure which gives a basic overview of the tool and its abilities

Back to top



2. How do I obtain OpenFTA?

For most users, the easiest way to get started is to download the installation package for the required platform from our downloads page.

Back to top



3. Do I need to register to download OpenFTA?

No. Registration is not mandatory, but it would enable FSC to inform you of the latest OpenFTA news including bug-fixes and updates.

Back to top



4. What platforms does OpenFTA support?

OpenFTA installation packages are currently available for Windows and Linux. The code has not been tested on other platforms.

Back to top



5. What should I do when I have downloaded the OpenFTA installer?

Windows
If you selected to run the application straight from your browser the installation process will start automatically. Otherwise, after a successful download there will be a file called "OpenFTASetup.exe" in the directory you specified during download. When you run this file (by double-clicking), the OpenFTA software will be installed on your machine at a location of your choice. You will have the chance to cancel this installation at any point.

Linux
After a successful download there will be a file called "OpenFTA.bin" in the directory you specified during download. When you run this file (by opening a shell, changing to the appropriate direction and typing "./OpenFTA.bin:quot;), the OpenFTA software will be installed on your machine at a location of your choice. You will have the chance to cancel this installation at any point.

Back to top



6. How do I run OpenFTA?

Windows
The installer will give you the option to place shortcuts to OpenFTA on your desktop or in the "Programs" menu. Double-clicking either of these will bring up the two main windows of the application - the Tree View and the Primary Events Database (PED) View. If you opted not to add these shortcuts then double-click the "OpenFTA.exe" file which can be found in the directory you selected for installation.

Linux
The installer will give you the option to place a symbolic link called "runOpenFTA" in a directory of your choosing. Typing "./runOpenFTA" from the shell in the specified directory will bring up the two main windows of the application - the Tree View and the Primary Events Database (PED) View.

Back to top



7. Are any examples included in the installation?

Yes. In the same folder as the program files will be a folder named "examples". This contains several fault trees. You can access these by running the program (see above), selecting File->Open from the toolbar and navigating to one of the *.fta files in the "examples" folder.

Back to top



8. Why does the installer tell me "the magic number does not match"?

The magic number is a check-sum value used by the OpenFTA installer to ensure that the complete installation file has been downloaded. If the magic number does not match the expected value then either the download terminated prematurely or there was a problem during the download.

To check whether your installer was downloaded correctly, simply check the size of the file.

Expected File Sizes

File NamePlatformFile Size (bytes)
OpenFTASetup.exeWindows17,727,126
OpenFTA.binLinux35,664,092
Back to top



9. Can I run OpenFTA on a platform other than Windows or Linux?

No. Please see the Developer Information FAQ for further information.

Back to top



10. OpenFTA is written partly in Java, but I don't have Java installed. Will OpenFTA work?

Yes. The installation process described above will install everything that you need to run openFTA.

Back to top



11. I already have Java installed. Will the installation corrupt my environment for other applications?

No. The installer places a version of the Java Runtime Environment into a sub-folder of the installation directory. No applications already installed will be affected.

Back to top



Developer Information (Answers)

1. Can I download the source code for openFTA?

Yes. The source code is available on our download page.

Back to top



2. What is the source language for OpenFTA?

OpenFTA is written in a combination of Java and C.

Back to top



3. How do I build OpenFTA from the source code?

There are source code bundles for both Windows and Linux on our download page. Each of these contains build scripts and/or project workspaces for both the C and Java code. They also contain scripts to run the built code.

Back to top



4. What version of Java do I need?

OpenFTA was built and tested with JDK 1.4.2_04. However, it should work with earlier versions to some degree (JDK 1.3.1_06 has been used in the past). The JDK is not included in the source download bundle.

Back to top



5. What C environment do I need?

The Windows C source includes a VC++6.0 Project Workspace. The Linux build scripts were created for gcc 3.3.3. The code "should" be compatible with earlier version of C/gcc.

Back to top



6. How can I build OpenFTA for other platforms?

The java build environment should be fairly easily portable to other platforms. gcc is also available for many platforms and so the Linux source code bundle should provide a good starting point.

Back to top



7. Can I alter the code?

OpenFTA is released under the GNU GPL (General Public License). You are allowed to update the code and distribute it within the terms of that license.

Back to top



8. Do I need to inform FSC of any code changes or porting activities that I undertake?

No. You are under no obligation whatsoever to tell us what you do with OpenFTA. Of course, our aim is to establish a significant community of OpenFTA users who can communicate via the forums on this website. We hope that you gain significant benefits from using OpenFTA and from other users with whom you communicate via those forums. We also hope that you will actively contribute to those forums by reporting and releasing and fixes, functional improvements or ports you undertake. If you submit these things to FSC via this website, we will endeavour to incorporate them into further releases which we will then make available here.

Back to top



Overview (Answers)

1. Where can I find a good overview of OpenFTA?

A good place to start is the OpenFTA brochure which gives a basic overview of the tool and its abilities

Back to top



2. What is the history of OpenFTA?

FSC embarked on the development of Formal-FTA in 1992 and by the mid 1990’s it had a product that, in terms of the core technology, was probably the world’s most advanced fault tree analysis product. However, as a small company, FSC did not have the resources to properly market it. Also the product was initially designed for high-end Unix workstations, but the power of the PC has evolved such that it had become the platform of choice. Continuing as a private-venture project, the user interface was redeveloped in Java, allowing the product to be available on a variety of platforms.

Formal-FTA has never been core to FSC’s business and a decision was made to release it as an open source product, free of charge. The name was changed to OpenFTA to reflect this. The first version of OpenFTA was made available in February 2005.

OpenFTA has been developed very casually, sometimes by new graduates and others without good software engineering backgrounds. It is therefore not built to the standards normal for FSC’s projects.

Back to top



3. Will FSC continue to support and develop OpenFTA?

The simple answer is "no".

However, FSC is pleased to offer support and development on a commercial basis to any organisation wishing to invest in it, either restricted to their own use, or for public use (i.e. with their investment also being open source). Please contact fta@fsc.co.uk

FSC has already invested heavily in this development and is unable to offer further support services without charge.

Back to top



4. What are the primary attractions of OpenFTA?

  1. It has an advanced graphical user interface that is very intuitive, so no special training is necessary.
  2. It provides fast analyses of the basics.
  3. It has been designed to have no limitations (see later).
  4. Its events database can be shared between users and between trees.
  5. It is easily portable across a wide range of platforms, including Microsoft, Linux and Unix.
Back to top



5. What are the primary limitations of OpenFTA?

OpenFTA may not have many of the seldom-used and obscure bells and whistles often found in other commercial tools. However, many of these bells and whistles have often been developed for specific clients and are not of much use to others.

OpenFTA’s print facilities are limited (at the time being made available).

Back to top



6. How well validated is OpenFTA?

OpenFTA is not well validated. However, previous versions of Formal-FTA were subject to detailed testing to establish good results. Also, the deterministic and probabilistic engines are reasonably independent of each other and produce comparative and consistent results.

It is up to you to establish the validity of any results produced! If you produce test suites, you may submit them to this web site for others to use.

Back to top



7. How many gates/events can be supported?

As indicated earlier, one of the main attraction of OpenFTA is that (apart from platform hardware) it has NO limitations of:

  • the number of gates that can be supported
  • the number of events that can be supported
  • the number of (nested) transferred-in trees that can be supported.

OpenFTA was designed for the most challenging requirements.

Back to top



8. How can I get OpenFTA for the platform of my choice?

If it is available on this web site for your platform already built as an executable, then simply download it and use it!

If not, then you can either:

  1. Download the source code and build it for you preferred platform yourself.
  2. Contract a software expert (e.g. FSC) to build it for you. This may cost in the region of US$3,000.

Having built it for that platform, why not join the spirit of the open source movement and submit it for others to use?

Back to top



Getting Started (Answers)

1. Where can I find a good overview of OpenFTA?

A good place to start is the OpenFTA brochure which gives a basic overview of the tool and its abilities

Back to top



2. How do I obtain OpenFTA?

For most users, the easiest way to get started is to download the installation package for the required platform from our downloads page.

Back to top



3. Do I need to register to download OpenFTA?

No. Registration is not mandatory, but it would enable FSC to inform you of the latest OpenFTA news including bug-fixes and updates.

Back to top



4. What platforms does OpenFTA support?

OpenFTA installation packages are currently available for Windows and Linux. The code has not been tested on other platforms.

Back to top



5. What should I do when I have downloaded the OpenFTA installer?

Windows
If you selected to run the application straight from your browser the installation process will start automatically. Otherwise, after a successful download there will be a file called "OpenFTASetup.exe" in the directory you specified during download. When you run this file (by double-clicking), the OpenFTA software will be installed on your machine at a location of your choice. You will have the chance to cancel this installation at any point.

Linux
After a successful download there will be a file called "OpenFTA.bin" in the directory you specified during download. When you run this file (by opening a shell, changing to the appropriate direction and typing "./OpenFTA.bin:quot;), the OpenFTA software will be installed on your machine at a location of your choice. You will have the chance to cancel this installation at any point.

Back to top



6. How do I run OpenFTA?

Windows
The installer will give you the option to place shortcuts to OpenFTA on your desktop or in the "Programs" menu. Double-clicking either of these will bring up the two main windows of the application - the Tree View and the Primary Events Database (PED) View. If you opted not to add these shortcuts then double-click the "OpenFTA.exe" file which can be found in the directory you selected for installation.

Linux
The installer will give you the option to place a symbolic link called "runOpenFTA" in a directory of your choosing. Typing "./runOpenFTA" from the shell in the specified directory will bring up the two main windows of the application - the Tree View and the Primary Events Database (PED) View.

Back to top



7. Are any examples included in the installation?

Yes. In the same folder as the program files will be a folder named "examples". This contains several fault trees. You can access these by running the program (see above), selecting File->Open from the toolbar and navigating to one of the *.fta files in the "examples" folder.

Back to top



8. Why does the installer tell me "the magic number does not match"?

The magic number is a check-sum value used by the OpenFTA installer to ensure that the complete installation file has been downloaded. If the magic number does not match the expected value then either the download terminated prematurely or there was a problem during the download.

To check whether your installer was downloaded correctly, simply check the size of the file.

Expected File Sizes

File NamePlatformFile Size (bytes)
OpenFTASetup.exeWindows17,727,126
OpenFTA.binLinux35,664,092
Back to top



9. Can I run OpenFTA on a platform other than Windows or Linux?

No. Please see the Developer Information FAQ for further information.

Back to top



10. OpenFTA is written partly in Java, but I don't have Java installed. Will OpenFTA work?

Yes. The installation process described above will install everything that you need to run openFTA.

Back to top



11. I already have Java installed. Will the installation corrupt my environment for other applications?

No. The installer places a version of the Java Runtime Environment into a sub-folder of the installation directory. No applications already installed will be affected.

Back to top



Developer Information (Answers)

1. Can I download the source code for openFTA?

Yes. The source code is available on our download page.

Back to top



2. What is the source language for OpenFTA?

OpenFTA is written in a combination of Java and C.

Back to top



3. How do I build OpenFTA from the source code?

There are source code bundles for both Windows and Linux on our download page. Each of these contains build scripts and/or project workspaces for both the C and Java code. They also contain scripts to run the built code.

Back to top



4. What version of Java do I need?

OpenFTA was built and tested with JDK 1.4.2_04. However, it should work with earlier versions to some degree (JDK 1.3.1_06 has been used in the past). The JDK is not included in the source download bundle.

Back to top



5. What C environment do I need?

The Windows C source includes a VC++6.0 Project Workspace. The Linux build scripts were created for gcc 3.3.3. The code "should" be compatible with earlier version of C/gcc.

Back to top



6. How can I build OpenFTA for other platforms?

The java build environment should be fairly easily portable to other platforms. gcc is also available for many platforms and so the Linux source code bundle should provide a good starting point.

Back to top



7. Can I alter the code?

OpenFTA is released under the GNU GPL (General Public License). You are allowed to update the code and distribute it within the terms of that license.

Back to top



8. Do I need to inform FSC of any code changes or porting activities that I undertake?

No. You are under no obligation whatsoever to tell us what you do with OpenFTA. Of course, our aim is to establish a significant community of OpenFTA users who can communicate via the forums on this website. We hope that you gain significant benefits from using OpenFTA and from other users with whom you communicate via those forums. We also hope that you will actively contribute to those forums by reporting and releasing and fixes, functional improvements or ports you undertake. If you submit these things to FSC via this website, we will endeavour to incorporate them into further releases which we will then make available here.

Back to top