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Building FlightGear - Debian

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Revision as of 15:01, 7 January 2011 by Tcbetka (Talk | contribs) (Note)

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HowTo build on Debian

HowTo build FlightGear 2.0.0 or GIT on GNU/Linux Debian Stable 5.x (Lenny).

This HowTo may also work with Testing/Unstable except that some things are easier because of more up to date packages. So, before fetching something check the version of the available -dev package for it.

It even *should* work with Etch, but I am not certain about some dependencies. Reports are welcome.

If you don't want to make your hands dirty, have a look at Scripted_Compilation_on_Linux_Debian/Ubuntu.

Requirements and Preparations

You need an OpenGL capable graphics including a proper installed driver.

Also a bunch of packages (and some of their dependencies) are required:

  • gcc, g++, make, automake1.9, pkg-config
  • mawk (or gawk)
  • cmake (min. version 2.6.0-5, for Etch available on backports.debian.org!)
  • git, subversion, wget
  • freeglut3-dev, libgl1-mesa-dev, libxrandr-dev
  • libxi-dev, libxmu-dev, libxext-dev
  • libopenal-dev (see libopenal), libalut-dev
  • libjpeg62-dev, libtiff4-dev, libpng12-dev
  • libboost1.37-dev (min 1.37, 1.40 available for Lenny on backports.debian.org)

During installation packages simgear-dev and openscenegraph-dev *must not* be installed. They can safely be re-installed after compilation.

Build and install

Because we are going to install versions different to the ones in the repositries it is recommended to install FG-2.0.0 and/or GIT in a place independent to the base system such as /usr/local/FG-2.0.0, /opt/FG-2.0.0 or in a subdirectory of your $HOME. I suggest to make it writeable by the user that there is no need to become root for the make install commands. I'll use $prefix as a placeholder for this directory.
Another one will be $srcdir, it stands for the absolute path to the directory which contains the folders of the various source codes. So in the following instructions you have to replace these with the local paths or even export them during the process.

Follow the instructions to fetch the sources and the data needed by FlightGear and the commands to build/install each source.

Have in mind that the data is relatively large (GIT about 3.5 GB and 2.0.0 300 MB) so, to save some time, it is a good idea to fetch it while building the sources.


The libopenal-dev package in Lenny/Etch is too old for fgcom. For FlightGear it does work but not all features (like Doppler) are available, so installing an up to date version is recommended anyway.

cd $srcdir
wget http://kcat.strangesoft.net/openal-releases/openal-soft-1.11.753.tar.bz2
tar xjf openal-soft-1.11.753.tar.bz2
cd openal-soft-1.11.753/build
cmake  -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH="$prefix" ..
make install


Latest SVN is recommended, yet package plib1.8.5-dev for Testing/Unstable does work as well.

cd $srcdir
svn co https://plib.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/plib/trunk plib
cd plib
sed s/PLIB_TINY_VERSION\ \ 5/PLIB_TINY_VERSION\ \ 6/ -i src/util/ul.h
./configure --prefix=$prefix
make install

Boost Library

Version 1.37 is needed. At least for Lenny/Etch this means getting the sources because this is not available atm on backports.org. Testing/Unstable users may have more luck and a package is available, libboost-1.37-dev or newer.

To build SimGear, FlightGear, fgrun and fgcom some boostlib header files are required, no need to compile and install it. If you have installed a libboost1.37-dev (or higher) package on your system you don't have to bother at all with it. If not, you have to tell each ./configure where the header files are. To do so, add the option CPPFLAGS=-I$prefix/include to the SimGear, FlightGear and fgrun ./configure commands. We copy the header files to $prefix/include because fgcom will need them there.

Get the newest version tar ball from http://sourceforge.net/projects/boost/files/boost/, extract it into $srcdir then:

cp -R $srcdir/boost-[version]/boost/ $prefix/include/

Alternatively, you can directly extract the required include files:

tar xvf boost_1_37_0.tar.bz2 -C $prefix/include --strip 1 --wildcards --no-wildcards-match-slash '*/boost'


For FlightGear 2.0.0 one may use the latest (or at least 2.9.6) developer release from http://www.openscenegraph.org/projects/osg/wiki/Downloads/DeveloperReleases and extract it into $srcdir.

Mostly this is ok for FlightGear GIT as well as it is stable. However, sometimes the release is not fresh enough and one have to get the latest developments via SVN:

cd $srcdir
svn co http://www.openscenegraph.org/svn/osg/OpenSceneGraph/trunk OpenSceneGraph

cmake demands a build directory separate to its source directory. So mkdir one and cd into it.

   -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH="$prefix" $srcdir/OpenSceneGraph[-version]
make install


From this point forward when providing the "LDFLAGS" string, you should use the path specific to your installation. For 32-bit installations this will probably be the path ending in /lib. In a 64-bit installation, this may be the path ending in /lib64, but doesn't have to be. You must verify this for your build, because you do not have to include both paths in the following compilations.



cd $srcdir
wget http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/pub/mirrors/simgear/ftp/Source/SimGear-2.0.0.tar.gz
tar xzf SimGear-2.0.0.tar.gz
cd SimGear-2.0.0


cd $srcdir
git clone git://gitorious.org/fg/simgear.git simgear
cd simgear

2.0.0 and GIT:

./configure --prefix=$prefix CPPFLAGS=-I$prefix/include LDFLAGS="-L$prefix/lib -L$prefix/lib64"
make install

FlightGear source


cd $srcdir
wget http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/pub/mirrors/flightgear/ftp/Source/FlightGear-2.0.0.tar.gz
tar xzf FlightGear-2.0.0.tar.gz
cd FlightGear-2.0.0


cd $srcdir
git clone git://gitorious.org/fg/flightgear.git flightgear
cd flightgear

2.0.0 and GIT:

./configure --prefix=$prefix CPPFLAGS=-I$prefix/include/ LDFLAGS="-L$prefix/lib -L$prefix/lib64"
make install

FlightGear data


cd $prefix
wget http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/pub/mirrors/flightgear/ftp/Shared/FlightGear-data-2.0.0.tar.bz2
tar xjf FlightGear-data-2.0.0.tar.bz2


cd $prefix
git clone git://gitorious.org/fg/fgdata.git data

The primary gitorious source is known to have trouble cloning the data, the mapserver mirror usually has no problems:

cd $prefix
git clone git://mapserver.flightgear.org/fgdata data

Also, there are bundles (snapshots) available that can be retrieved with your favorite download manager. This way you can resume interrupted downloads. After unpacking only a comparatively small amount of data has to be transferred from the git server to synchronize your repository.

$ cd $prefix
$ wget http://flightgear.mxchange.org/pub/fgfs/fgdata.bundle
$ git clone fgdata.bundle fgdata
Initialized empty Git repository in fgdata/.git/
warning: unrecognized header: -deg" - /orientation/roll += "-deg" - /position/altitude += "-ft" - /position/altitude-agl += "-ft" - /position/latitude += "-deg" --/position/longitude += "-deg" - /radios/adf/frequencies/selected += "-khz" - /radios/adf/frequencies/
warning: remote HEAD refers to nonexistent ref, unable to checkout.
$ cd fgdata
$ git branch master-tmp origin/master
Branch master-tmp set up to track remote branch refs/remotes/origin/master.
$ git remote rm origin
$ git remote add origin git://gitorious.org/fg/fgdata
$ git fetch origin
remote: Counting objects: 5596, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (2919/2919), done.
remote: Total 4266 (delta 2540), reused 2166 (delta 1297)
Receiving objects: 100% (4266/4266), 117.93 MiB | 1374 KiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (2540/2540), completed with 628 local objects.
From git://gitorious.org/fg/fgdata
 * [new branch]      PRE_OSG_PLIB_20061029 -> origin/PRE_OSG_PLIB_20061029
 * [new branch]      master     -> origin/master
 * [new tag]         last-cvs   -> last-cvs
 * [new tag]         mapserver  -> mapserver
$ git branch -D master-tmp
Deleted branch master-tmp.
$ git branch --track master origin/master
Branch master set up to track remote branch refs/remotes/origin/master.
$ git checkout

The bundle may be periodically updated and bundles from different sources need not be the same. The file size for the above bundle dated 2010-06-09 is 2394168314, while the md5 checksum is

$ md5sum fgdata.bundle
2996221bd2b8ab7740f332f49396cf56  fgdata.bundle

Trial run

When all the builds are done and the data download has finished it is time for a test run:

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$prefix/lib/:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
$prefix/bin/fgfs --fg-root=$prefix/data

For the future, if you want to start FlightGear from command line have a look at fgfsrc, if you prefer a graphical user interface continue with compiling fgrun. Have in mind that fgfs need to find our self compiled libraries and therefore we have to tell the linker (ld) where to find them. That is what the first line here does.

Optional Software


To build fgrun two more package is required:

  • libfltk1.1-dev fluid
cd $srcdir
svn co http://fgrun.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/fgrun/trunk fgrun
cd fgrun/fgrun/
./configure --prefix=$prefix  [CPPFLAGS=-I$prefix/include/ LDFLAGS="-L$prefix/lib -L$prefix/lib64"]
make install


For fgcom unfortunately there is one more dependency which cannot be solved with packages on Lenny/Etch, see libopenal.

cd $srcdir
svn co https://appfgcom.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/fgcom/trunk fgcom
cd fgcom/src
make INSTALL_BIN=$prefix/bin INSTALL_DIR=$prefix/fgcom \
   PLIB_PREFIX=$prefix OPENAL_PREFIX=$prefix install