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Building FlightGear - Debian

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Revision as of 09:00, 15 February 2011 by Flughund (Talk | contribs) (Undo revision 28344 by ThorstenB (talk) -- had to undo this in order to undo the previous step. Will add it again later.)

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HowTo build on Debian

HowTo build FlightGear 2.2.0 or bleeding edge development version, hereinafter simply called GIT, on GNU/Linux Debian Stable 6.x (Squeeze) and Testing/Unstable (Wheezy).

Even on Debian Oldstable 5.x (Lenny) this guide will work for both, 2.2.0 and GIT. At least until one or more dependencies of the GIT version are changing or beeing added.

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)
  • git, subversion, wget
  • freeglut3-dev, libgl1-mesa-dev, libxrandr-dev
  • libxi-dev, libxmu-dev, libxext-dev
  • libopenal-dev (for Lenny 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-2.2.0 and/or GIT in a place independent to the base system such as /usr/local/FG-2.2.0, /opt/FG-2.2.0 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 is supposed to keep 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 a relatively large download (GIT about 3.5 GB and 2.2.0 300 MB). So, to save some time, it is a good idea to fetch it while building the sources.

For some basic info on git commands for FlightGear users we have a git for dummies section.


In some aspects FlightGear's development relies closely on plib and OpenSceneGraph. Therefore the GIT users are encouraged to update them regularly. Not each time one rebuilds FlightGear but from time to time.


Lenny only! The libopenal-dev package in Lenny 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 Squeeze 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


2.0.0: The official OSG version used with FG2.0.0 is OSG 2.8.3 (OSG stable release).

2.2.0: The official OSG version used with FG2.2.0 is OSG 2.9.9 (OSG development release). However, you can also use OSG 2.8.3 (latest stable OSG release) - or any version in between. OSG versions including 2.9.11 and above are known to be incompatible with FG2.2.0.

cd $srcdir
svn checkout http://www.openscenegraph.org/svn/osg/OpenSceneGraph/tags/OpenSceneGraph-2.9.9 OpenSceneGraph

GIT: The best OSG version to be used with FG GIT changes over time. Generally the latest official stable OSG release and/or developer release is recommended. At the moment (February 2011), it's recommended to use OSG 2.9.9 with FG GIT.

cd $srcdir
svn checkout http://www.openscenegraph.org/svn/osg/OpenSceneGraph/tags/OpenSceneGraph-2.9.9 OpenSceneGraph

If you're interested in OSG-related development, you can also try the lastest OSG trunk. However, sometimes this does not work since the OSG trunk changes (daily/hourly...) and it may take a while until the FlightGear sources have adapted.

At the moment (February 2011) the latest OSG SVN trunk does not compile with FlightGear. The highest reported working revision of OSG SVN is rev 12072, so you could

cd $srcdir
svn co -r 12072 http://www.openscenegraph.org/svn/osg/OpenSceneGraph/trunk OpenSceneGraph

2.2.0 and GIT:

mkdir osg-build && cd osg-build
cmake -D CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE="Release" -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH="$prefix" $srcdir/OpenSceneGraph
make install

FlightGear and Components

FlighGear relies very closely on its data and SimGear. Therefore it is necessary to update them at one time.

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.


2.2.0 and GIT:

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

2.2.0 only:

git checkout -b releases/2.2.0 origin/releases/2.2.0

2.2.0 and GIT:

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

FlightGear source

2.2.0 and GIT:

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

2.2.0 only:

git checkout -b releases/2.2.0 origin/releases/2.2.0

2.2.0 and GIT:

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

FlightGear data

2.2.0 only: At the time of writing, 2.2.0 is not yet released, there is no tar archive for the data available. Test pilots for this release are advised to use the release/2.2.0 branch from git. The following URL for wget will be updated, if it is not working, as soon as 2.2.0 is released.

cd $prefix
wget http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/pub/mirrors/flightgear/ftp/Shared/FlightGear-data-2.2.0.tar.bz2
tar xjf FlightGear-data-2.2.0.tar.bz2

GIT only: For slow/unstable internet connections it is recommended to download the fgdata.bundle instead of cloning the data.
FlightGear's primary git server on gitorious is known to have trouble cloning the data, the mapserver's mirror usually has no problems:

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

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/fgdata

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 or check FGo!. 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

Feel free to add the commands to install other FlightGear related projects.


To build fgrun one more package is required:

  • libfltk1.1-dev
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, 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