Contact point for open-source software at DLR

Computers play a central role in the aerospace industry. The software running on them includes mission-critical software, which is usually real-time capable and embedded in a higher-level technical system, efficient codes, especially simulation algorithms with high performance requirements, software that supports complex applications or the handling of extensive databases and systems with many users, usually internet, intranet or email applications.

Software is developed in almost all DLR institutes. The scope of the individual software packages varies from the smallest developments created by students, for example, to very large software systems that are developed together with partners from research and industry over many years.

What almost all developments have in common is that the consistent use of freely available open source software significantly reduces the overall development effort. In some cases, only around ten per cent was reprogrammed. In addition, many DLR software systems benefit from the stability of the extensively tested open source software and its continuous further development. Overall, open-source software has become an important core technology for many DLR developments.

Contact for open-source software at DLR
We advise all DLR institutes and facilities on issues relating to open source software.

Use of open source at DLR

A wide variety of open-source developments are used at DLR. In addition to various free application software, the free Linux operating system in particular is frequently used as a desktop and server operating system. Programming languages such as Python, compilers such as the GNU Compiler Collection and libraries (e.g. for database access, XML processing or numerics) are used for the development of software. Frameworks such as Zope, Plone or MoinMoin are used to create web applications. Development is supported by free development environments such as Eclipse and tools such as Subversion or Mercurial.

Open-source software from DLR

In addition to using free software, DLR makes many of its own developments available to the general public as open source software or actively participates in the further development of existing open source software.

Examples of DLR open-source projects include:

  • The Remote Component Environment (RCE) is a distributed integration system based on Eclipse and OSGi. [GitHub]
  • TiGL enables the parametric modelling of aircraft geometries. The software forms the interface between the parametric CPACS description of the flight path and the simulation tools. [GitHub Donwload]
  • TiXI is an XML interface library that can be integrated into applications written in C, C++, Fortran, JAVA or Python. [GitHub]
  • The ESMValTool is a diagnostic tool for routinely checking the quality of Earth system models using observational data. [GitHub]
  • t8code is an open-source library for extremely efficient simulations with adaptive grids. It scales on supercomputers and significantly reduces computing times. [GitHub]
  • SUMO (Simulation of Urban Mobility) is used to simulate road traffic. [GitHub]


News on this topic


Tobias Schlauch

Referent for the DLR Software Engineering Initiative
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Software Technology
Intelligent and Distributed Systems
Lilienthalplatz 7, 38108 Braunschweig

Carina Haupt

Deputy Head of Department
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Software Technology
Intelligent and Distributed Systems
Rutherfordstraße 2, 12489 Berlin