Building FlightGear - Debian

Revision as of 14:23, 21 September 2013 by Flughund (Talk | contribs) (update for 2.12)

Revision as of 14:23, 21 September 2013 by Flughund (Talk | contribs) (update for 2.12)

HowTo build FlightGear 2.12 or bleeding edge development version, hereinafter simply called GIT, on GNU/Linux Debian Oldstable/Squeeze. Users of Stable/Wheezy, Testing or Unstable at least have to change package names (version numbering) accordingly.

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.

Zeichen 144 icon.png For beginners with compiling it is highly recommended to follow this guide step by step. Any modification to most of the here used commands may cause trouble.

Requirements and Preparations

A bunch of packages (as well as some of their dependencies) are required to compile FlightGear:

su -c "apt-get install automake cmake g++ gcc git make sed subversion"
Additionally install "fluid" if you intend to use fgadmin.


Command for Squeeze, users of other releases are advised to check package versions:

su -c "apt-get install  \
  freeglut3-dev  libboost-dev   libcurl4-openssl-dev  libgtkglext1-dev \
  libjpeg62-dev  libopenal-dev  librsvg2-dev          libsvn-dev \
  libxml2-dev    libxrandr-dev"
If you prefer you might replace "libcurl4-openssl-dev" by "libcurl4-gnutls-dev".
If "libjpeg62-dev" breaks package dependencies, just install one of the other versions' -dev.
Add "libudev-dev" if you need FG's feature -D EVENT_INPUT=ON.
Zeichen 144 icon.png During installation development packages of libraries which are going to be compiled must not be installed. They can safely be re-installed after compilation. Namely here these might be "libplib-dev", "libfltk1.1-dev", "libopenscenegraph-dev" and "simgear-dev".

Build and install

Because we are going to install versions different to the ones in the Debian repositories, it is recommended to install FlightGear in a place independent of the base system, such as /usr/local/FG-2.12 or $HOME/FG-2.12. This way also has the advantage of easily managing several FlightGear versions, even with different versions of OpenSceneGraph and/or plib, simply by altering the installation prefix. I suggest to make this directory writeable by the user so there is no need to become root for the make -j2 install commands. We'll use $FG_INSTALL_DIR as a placeholder for this directory.
Another placeholder will be $FG_SRC_DIR, it stands for the absolute path to the directory which is supposed to keep the folders of the various source codes. So, in the instructions below, you have to replace these with the local paths or even export them (in every terminal you're using them) for the process:

export FG_INSTALL_DIR=$HOME/FG-2.12 && mkdir $FG_INSTALL_DIR
export FG_SRC_DIR=$HOME/src && mkdir $FG_SRC_DIR

Have in mind that the data is a relatively large download (GIT more than 7 GB and growing / 2.12 960 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.
To have a build with debugging symbols add -D CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE="RelWithDebInfo" to SimGear's and FlightGear's cmake options.


FLTK only is required for fgadmin, which is content with libfltk-1.1, and fgrun, which minimum is libfltk-1.3.
Wheezy: Just install package "libfltk1.3-dev" if you're planning to use either of them.
Squeeze: For fgadmin just install package "libfltk1.1-dev". To compile fgrun, too, build and install FLTK-1.3 instead:

tar xzf fltk-1.3.2-source.tar.gz
cd fltk-1.3.2
./configure --enable-shared --prefix=$FG_INSTALL_DIR 
make -j2 install


2.12 and GIT: Latest SVN is required.

svn co plib.svn
cd plib
sed s/PLIB_TINY_VERSION\ \ 5/PLIB_TINY_VERSION\ \ 6/ -i src/util/ul.h
./configure --prefix=$FG_INSTALL_DIR
make -j2 install


On Wheezy skip that step and install package "libopenscenegraph-dev" instead.
Last version known to work for 2.12 is OpenSceneGraph 3.1.4.
2.12 and GIT:

svn co OpenSceneGraph-3.1.4.svn
mkdir build-osg; cd build-osg
cmake -D CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE="Release" -DLIB_POSTFIX="" \
make -j2 install


2.12 and GIT:

git clone git:// simgear.git

2.12 only:

cd simgear.git
git checkout -b 2.12 origin/release/2.12.0

2.12 and GIT:

mkdir $FG_SRC_DIR/build-sg; cd $FG_SRC_DIR/build-sg
make -j2 install

FlightGear source

2.12 and GIT:

git clone git:// flightgear.git

2.12 only:

cd flightgear.git
git checkout -b 2.12 origin/release/2.12.0

2.12 and GIT:

mkdir $FG_SRC_DIR/build-fg; cd $FG_SRC_DIR/build-fg
make -j2 install

FlightGear data

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

tar xjf FlightGear-data-2.12.0.tar.bz2

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

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:

$FG_INSTALL_DIR/bin/fgfs --fg-root=$FG_INSTALL_DIR/data
The fgfs binary needs to find our self compiled libraries at runtime 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 (may cause problems, if one has installed more than one version of FlightGear!).
Have in mind, the $FG_INSTALL_DIR and $FG_SRC_DIR variables are available for this session only. For future use of these lines, replace them by the real paths.

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

ln -s $FG_INSTALL_DIR/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 out another launcher.

Optional Software

Zeichen 101 icon.png Some of the below instructions possibly are 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"

git clone
cd atlas
./configure --prefix=$FG_INSTALL_DIR --with-fgbase=$FG_INSTALL_DIR/data
make -j2 install
cp -R $FG_SRC_DIR/atlas/src/data/* $FG_INSTALL_DIR/data/Atlas


For fgcom install package "libasound2-dev".

svn co fgcom
cd fgcom/src
make -j2 install_BIN=$FG_INSTALL_DIR/bin INSTALL_DIR=$FG_INSTALL_DIR/fgcom \

Create an .alsoftrc file as shown in FGCOM Testing.


To build fgrun libfltk1.3 is required, see libfltk above.
2.10.0 and GIT:

git clone git://

2.10.0 only:

cd fgrun
git checkout -b 1.7.0 origin/release/1.7.0

2.10.0 and GIT:

mkdir $FG_SRC_DIR/build-fgrun; cd $FG_SRC_DIR/build-fgrun
make -j2 install

2.10.0 and GIT:



Zeichen 101 icon.png Obsolete for airport creation, use WorldEditor instead. It is still useful for working on ground networks.
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]"
git clone git://
cd taxidraw
./configure --prefix=$FG_INSTALL_DIR
make -j2 install


Automatic Installation

link If you are familiar with "" script from Brisa you can donwload this script: This script is similar to Brisa's one (only usable for Debian/Mint/Ubuntu). This script installs TerraGear (latest version) and terragear-gui.

How to use it?
sh -j 2 ALL
Need some help?

Look at forum topics :

After success installation you can exectute this command line in the terragear/bin directory in order to display every --help for each binary files:

cd terragear/bin && for i in `ls`; do echo ""; echo "################# "$i" ##############"; ./$i --help; done

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:

su -c "apt-get install \
  libgdal-dev libtiff4-dev libboost-signals-dev libboost-system-dev libboost-thread-dev"

Squeeze users have to compile the CGAL dependency. On Wheezy just install package "libcgal-dev" instead.

tar xjf CGAL-4.0.2.tar.bz2
mkdir $FG_SRC_DIR/build-cgal; cd $FG_SRC_DIR/build-cgal
make -j2 install

Compile TerraGear:

git clone git://
mkdir $FG_SRC_DIR/build-tg; cd $FG_SRC_DIR/build-tg
make -j2 install

WorldEditor (WED)

Because this is the same for all Linux distributions the instructions are not listed here separately. Please refer to our lead WED article.

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