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Keeping FlightGear (win32) up to date without compiling

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Revision as of 18:51, 25 March 2008 by HeliFlyer (Talk | contribs) (Last Words)

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There are three easy steps to keep up with the actual development of FlightGear:

First step:

You can find the latest FlightGear development branch already compiled as a Windows(TM) executable file (fgfs.exe) at ftp://ftp.ihg.uni-duisburg.de/FlightGear/Win32by Frederic Bouvier. There a lot of precompiled binaries, the newest one together with the latest FGRun. There are irregular updates, sometimes even nearly weekly. So check the filename for the latest version. fgfs-win32-20060710.zip tells you that it is the version of July 10, 2006. The download size will be about then 5 MB.

Second step:

It is obligatory to combine a new FlightGear binary mainprogram with the matching FlightGear data not only to get the newest developments but as configuration files or dataformats might have got changed. You have to download the newest data from http://cvs.flightgear.org/cgi-bin/viewvc/viewvc.cgi/data/

At the bottom of the page you will find the link "Download tarball". This is a pretty big amount of bytes (about 1 Gb!) so you should have a fast internet connection. You have to unzip the download before copying it into [YourFlightGearFolder].

Using WinCVS to hold the content of the [data] folder actual:

If you don't want to download all that stuff again and again it is more practical to download information and data about what has changed since the last upgrade, this means using the CVS system.

1. WinCVS download:

WinCVS is GNU General Public License (GPL). http://www.wincvs.org/download.html

2. Unzip and read Install.txt.

With the actual version of today you only have to run “wincvs_setup.exe”, the rest is done by the program, so don't keep attention to the other files.

3. Python

When running WinCVS for the first time you are asked to install python on your system (in case you don't have it already there). This all is very easy, just click on the link in the message window and download a stable Windows binary version. After downloading let Windows do all the installwork, just click on the downloaded file, ie “python-2.4.3.msi”. In case the WinCVS window is still open, close the program and start it again after the python installation has been finished.

4. Selecting or creating a download folder

It is highly recommended not to upgrade directly into your Flightgear data folder. If there are any errors due to internet connection or otherwise you will not destroy you old FlightGear data. You may use WinCVS to create a new folder on one of your harddisks with enough space left for the big download. Use the yellow folder symbol to select or create your CVS folder. You may name it as you like. WinCVS creates the data folder itself when downloading. After selection, “your” CVS folder shows up.

5. Download

Now you are ready for downloading, you must have established your internet connection.

6. Command line

Only once you have to type in 2 command lines. But this has to be done very carefully without any typo, otherwise you won't be successful.

Use “Admin” from the upper menuebar, then select “Command Line...” The command line window shows up.

a) the first time you have to type the commands into the little window. This is always the same: Use the [Enter] key, if your command line is too long and you have to write the rest into a second line. Use the [Control] + [Enter] keys if you are ready with you input. Then press the “OK” button at the bottom of the window. Start with:

cvs -d :pserver:cvsguest@cvs.flightgear.org:/var/cvs/FlightGear-0.9 login Your password is “guest”. Type “guest” (without quotation marks)

If all is ok, then you should read these messages:

cvs -d :pserver:cvsguest@cvs.flightgear.org:/var/cvs/FlightGear-0.9 login Logging in to :pserver:cvsguest@cvs.flightgear.org:2401:/var/cvs/FlightGear-0.9

CVS exited normally with code 0 


If the commandline window has disappeared, repeat step 6 of this manual


Your next commandline reads if it is the FIRST time you download CVS:

cvs -d :pserver:cvsguest@cvs.flightgear.org:/var/cvs/FlightGear-0.9 co data


Using WinCVS the SECOND time: The login as described in (6) is much more fun as WinCVS remembers your commandline inputs. Use the [arrow down] symbol of the “Previous” field and select the login command.

Then, as you already have a working CVS data folder the next commandline is very short: cvs update -dP


You have to type this again into the commandline field. Don't use the command as shown in (8) as this would write a complete new CVS! If you start WinCVS the third time, you'll get all the necessary commands by selecting them from the “Previous” field.

Security aspects

It is highly recommended not to overwrite the old working FlightGear stuff. Every software upgrade is always also a risk. We work with a development system (CVS) and something might be faulty. So, if you like having some security AND own the necessary harddisk-space you should

1. rename the old fgfs.exe (in FG\bin\win32) to fgfs.exe.old

2. copy the unzipped fgfs.exe from your new download (step 1) into FG\bin\win32

3. rename your old data folder (in FG) to data.old

4. cut and copy the upgraded data folder out of your CVS download folder into FG

5. don't forget – if you did make changes in your joystick or keycode config, copy the old input

folder from your saved data.old folder to the new data folder

It is the same with personal changes in the Model, Scenery or Aircraft folder. No risk, no fun On the other side you can do all these upgrades from CVS directly into your working FlightGear installation. This saves harddisk space and all the steps described above (3. 5). If you want to proceed this way, make a backup of your old data folder by renaming it. Then select your FlightGear base folder as CVS base folder as described in step 4. This is done only once the first time you create a CVS folder to be able to copy your personal changes (see 5 above) into the created data folder. Afterwards you may delete it.

How to secure matching CVS FG data for the compiled fgfs.exe

There might be a problem if the last fgfs.exe version you can get is older than the data in CVS. Every day there could be changes in the source-code and data of the FlightGear CVS due to the fact that it is a developer system. If the compiled fgfs.exe version is older than some days it would be a good idea to download the CVS data of that day, use this command in WinCVS after login:

cvs up -D'2008/03/23' You must have already a complete CVS data directory of any date to proceed this way. Example:

Latest fgfs.exe: fgrun+fgfs-osg-win32-20080323.zip

Your CVS data download command:

cvs up -D'2008/03/23'

Just to add for your information, not necessary for the procedures described: You can always reset your CVS data directory content to the newest data by typing the commandline cvs up -A

Last Words

Frederic Bouvier and Martin Spott are the provider of the Windows fgfs.exe and fgrun compilations and server space. Frederic is also the author of fgrun. A big “thank you” to them for this service. Keep up with the ongoing development of FlightGear. All the steps described above are very easy to handle if you have read this document carefully. Have much fun with FlightGear!

Georg A. Vollnhals “HeliFlyer” EDDW

V060902 updated v03232008