Building FlightGear - Debian

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HowTo build FlightGear 2.6.0 or bleeding edge development version, hereinafter simply called GIT, on GNU/Linux Debian Stable 6.x (Squeeze) and Testing (Wheezy).

The meaning of this article is to be a short, checklist like, overview of the specific steps to compile FlightGear and components on Debian. For more detailed information please refer to the main article Building FlightGear on Linux.

If you don't want to get your hands dirty, have a look at Scripted Compilation on Linux Debian/Ubuntu.

Requirements and Preparations

You need more than just an OpenGL capable graphics card including a proper installed driver supporting direct rendering.
Also a bunch of packages (as well as some of their dependencies) are required to compile FlightGear:

su -c "apt-get install automake bzip2 cmake fluid g++ gcc git make \
  subversion tar"
cmake: At least version 2.6.0-5 required!
fluid: needed for fgadmin only.
su -c "apt-get install libalut-dev libboost1.42-dev libc6-dev \
  libcurl4-openssl-dev libfltk1.1-dev libgl1-mesa-dev freeglut3-dev \
  libgtkglext1-dev libopenal-dev libpng12-dev librsvg2-dev libsvn-dev \
  libtiff4-dev libxml2-dev"
libfltk1.1-dev: needed for fgadmin only.
Add libudev-dev if you need FG's feature -DEVENT_INPUT=ON.
Zeichen 144 icon.pngDuring installation packages simgear-dev and openscenegraph-dev must not be installed. They can safely be re-installed after compilation.
If you prefer you might replace libcurl4-openssl-dev by libcurl4-gnutls-dev.

Build and install

Because we are going to install versions different to the ones in the repositories, it is recommended to install FlightGear in a place independent of the base system, such as /usr/local/FG-2.6.0 or $HOME/FG-2.6.0. This way also has the advantage of easily managing several FlightGear versions, even with different versions of OpenSceneGraph and/or plib. I suggest to make this directory writeable by the user so there is no need to become root for the make install commands. We'll use $prefix as a placeholder for this directory.
Another placeholder 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:

export prefix=$HOME/FG-2.6.0 && mkdir $prefix
export srcdir=$HOME/src && mkdir $srcdir

Have in mind that the data is a relatively large download (GIT about 4.4 GB and 2.6.0 540 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.


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 $srcdir
tar xjf openal-soft-1.11.753.tar.bz2
cd openal-soft-1.11.753/build
cmake  -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH="$prefix" ..
make install


2.6.0 and GIT: Latest SVN is recommended, yet package plib1.8.5-dev for Squeeze does work as well.

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


GIT users, especially developers, may want to use the latest release or even bleeding edge code here instead.
2.6.0 and GIT:

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


2.6.0 and GIT:

cd $srcdir
git clone git://

2.6.0 only:

cd simgear
git checkout -b 2.6.0 origin/release/2.6.0

2.6.0 and GIT:

mkdir $srcdir/sg-build && cd $srcdir/sg-build
cmake -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH="$prefix" $srcdir/simgear
make install

FlightGear source

2.6.0 and GIT:

cd $srcdir
git clone git://

2.6.0 only:

cd flightgear
git checkout -b 2.6.0 origin/release/2.6.0

2.6.0 and GIT:

mkdir $srcdir/fg-build && cd $srcdir/fg-build
cmake -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH="$prefix" $srcdir/flightgear
make install

FlightGear data

2.6.0 only: Please have a look at the mirror list for a server close to your location.

cd $prefix
tar xjf FlightGear-data-2.6.0.tar.bz2

GIT only: For slow/unstable internet connections it is recommended to download the fgdata.bundle instead of cloning the data.

cd $prefix
git clone git:// data

Trial run and finishing process

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

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. You might want to add this line to your $HOME/.bashrc to have this as a persistent setting.

To avoid the need to give the path to the fgfs command in the second line, you might consider to create a symlink to a place that is listed in $PATH:

ln -s $prefix/bin/fgfs $HOME/bin/fgfs

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!.

Optional Software

Zeichen 101 icon.png Many of the below instructions are most likely not up to date. Please feel free to revise them.

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


One more Package has to be installed: libglew1.5-dev

cd $srcdir
cvs login
#CVS passwd: [Enter]
cvs -z3 co Atlas
cd Atlas
cvs export -D 2012-08-01 -d Atlas-20120801 . && cd Atlas-20120801/Atlas
./configure --prefix=$prefix --with-fgbase=$prefix/data
make install
cp -R $srcdir/Atlas/Atlas-20120801/Atlas/src/data/* $prefix/data/Atlas


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

cd $srcdir
svn co fgcom
cd fgcom/src
make INSTALL_BIN=$prefix/bin INSTALL_DIR=$prefix/fgcom \
   PLIB_PREFIX=$prefix [OPENAL_PREFIX=$prefix] install

Create an .alsoftrc file as shown in FGCOM Testing.


To build fgrun one more package is required:

  • libfltk1.1-dev
cd $srcdir
wget --trust-server-names
tar xf fgrun-1.6.1.tar.bz2
mkdir $srcdir/fgrun-build && cd $srcdir/fgrun-build
LANG=; cmake -D CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH="$prefix" $srcdir/fgrun-1.6.1
make install
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$prefix/lib/:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH


To compile TaxiDraw we need to install some more packages:

  • either libcurl4-gnutls-dev or libcurl4-openssl-dev for curl.h
  • wx2.8-headers (at least, maybe even more than just that one. Please report!
su -c "aptitude install [libcurl4-gnutls-dev|libcurl4-openssl-dev]"
cd $srcdir
git clone git://
cd taxidraw
./configure --prefix=$prefix
make install


Automatic Installation

If you are familiar with "" script from Brisa you can donwload this script : This script is similar to Brisa script (only usable for Debian/Ubuntu/Mint...). Thi script install terragear-cs, genapt850 en terragear-gui.

How to use it ? sh -j 2 ALL

-j 2 option is for Dual Core, you can tune it as you want. (personnaly I have Quad Core and I use -j 12 but I need to accept to don't use my aircraft during compilation ;) )

Need some helps ? Looks at forum topics :

Basic Installation

To resolve some of the dependencies of TerraGear the GIT sections of steps plib, OpenSceneGraph and SimGear have to be done first. Additionally some packages and their dependencies have to be installed:

  • libgdal1-dev, gdal-bin
  • libproj-dev, libogdi3.2-dev (probably even more, please report!)

Wheezy: As of June 2nd there is a bug (#617240) in package libmysqlclient16 which causes compilation to fail. If it is not fixed by the time you're building TerraGear, upgrade to the version from Sid.

cd $srcdir
git clone git://

Two of the dependencies have to be installed manually (See README.gpc and README.newmat for details.):

# gpc install
mkdir $srcdir/gpc232 && cd $srcdir/gpc232
sed s/DBL_EPSILON/0.000001/ -i gpc.h
grep -A 18 '# Unix/Linux makefile' $srcdir/terragear-cs/README.gpc > Makefile
sed "s|/usr/local/lib|$prefix/lib|" -i Makefile
sed "s|/usr/local/include|$prefix/include|" -i Makefile
make install

# newmat install
mkdir $srcdir/newmat11 && cd $srcdir/newmat11
tar xzfv newmat11.tar.gz
make -f nm_gnu.mak
cp libnewmat.a $prefix/lib
mkdir $prefix/include/newmat
cp *.h $prefix/include/newmat

Finally TerraGear itself (See README for details.):

cd $srcdir/terragear-cs
./configure --prefix=$prefix
sed s/-O2// -i src/Lib/TriangleJRS/Makefile
make install