Difference between revisions of "Requesting Technical Help"

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This page explains the proper way to request technical help from volunteers in the FlightGear community.
 
This page explains the proper way to request technical help from volunteers in the FlightGear community.
  
Before you ask the community for help, please see if you can solve the problem yourself. Start by reading the resources available on the [[Troubleshooting Problems]] page.
+
Before you ask the community for help, please see if you can solve the problem yourself. Start by reading the resources available on the [[Troubleshooting Problems]] page.
  
Please realize, in order for other people be able to to help you with any FlightGear problems, you will need to provide certain information about your platform and the nature of the problem you are encountering. Since we don't have access to your machine and thus cannot see what you are (or were) doing, you need to be our eyes and ears. Also, it is important that you try not to mix up different symptoms that may not necessarily be related with each other.
+
Please realize, in order for other people be able to to help you with any FlightGear problems, you will need to provide certain information about your platform and the nature of the problem you are encountering. Since we don't have access to your machine and thus cannot see what you are (or were) doing, you need to be our eyes and ears. Also, it is important that you try not to mix up different symptoms that may not necessarily be related with each other.
  
Even if some of the information we ask for is not always necessarily required in order to fix a particular issue, it can tremendously simplify and shorten the troubleshooting process, for example by allowing us to exclude certain problem sources. So, if at all possible please try to provide any information requested. If anything is unclear, or you don't know how to obtain certain information please ask for clarification rather than ignoring a particular request.
+
Even if some of the information we ask for is not always necessarily required in order to fix a particular issue, it can tremendously simplify and shorten the troubleshooting process, for example by allowing us to exclude certain problem sources. So, if at all possible please try to provide any information requested. If anything is unclear, or you don't know how to obtain certain information please ask for clarification rather than ignoring a particular request.
  
 
If you are facing issues while interacting with the community, please see: http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
 
If you are facing issues while interacting with the community, please see: http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
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* type, manufacturer, make/model of your sound card/system
 
* type, manufacturer, make/model of your sound card/system
 
* driver version
 
* driver version
* whether you are able to use other sound applications (i.e. media players such as winamp)
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* whether you are able to use other sound applications (i.e. media players such as winamp)
 
* settings in sound dialog (must be enabled and set to sufficient volume)
 
* settings in sound dialog (must be enabled and set to sufficient volume)
 
* under Linux:if you are able to use other OpenAL programs
 
* under Linux:if you are able to use other OpenAL programs

Revision as of 19:05, 8 March 2011

Cleanup.png This article may require cleanup to meet the wiki's quality standards. Please improve this article if you can.

This page explains the proper way to request technical help from volunteers in the FlightGear community.

Before you ask the community for help, please see if you can solve the problem yourself. Start by reading the resources available on the Troubleshooting Problems page.

Please realize, in order for other people be able to to help you with any FlightGear problems, you will need to provide certain information about your platform and the nature of the problem you are encountering. Since we don't have access to your machine and thus cannot see what you are (or were) doing, you need to be our eyes and ears. Also, it is important that you try not to mix up different symptoms that may not necessarily be related with each other.

Even if some of the information we ask for is not always necessarily required in order to fix a particular issue, it can tremendously simplify and shorten the troubleshooting process, for example by allowing us to exclude certain problem sources. So, if at all possible please try to provide any information requested. If anything is unclear, or you don't know how to obtain certain information please ask for clarification rather than ignoring a particular request.

If you are facing issues while interacting with the community, please see: http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html


Making proper issue reports

In general, you should always try to provide the following information in your requests/reports:


OpenGL related

  • Do you have a non NVIDIA/ATI graphics card (i.e. Intel)
  • Are you currently able to run other OpenGL (non-DirectX) 3D-software with your current system configuration using hardware acceleration?
  • Have you previously run other OpenGL software on your current system?
  • What's the average framerate you get when running FlightGear in a location without scenery?

On *nix systems:

  • the output from running glxgears
  • the output from running glxinfo

Note: While you should normally get to see something like "direct rendering: Yes" indicating working hardware acceleration, this doesn't have to be the case if you are running an OpenGL X server such as Xgl-still hardware acceleration may be working. However, it is important to realize that running OpenGL applications on top of current Xgl implementations may rather severely affect overall application performance, in fact FlightGear may be slowed down by a factor of 2.5 or even more, in addition more complex OpenGL features (such as multi-texturing and shaders) may not work as expected (e.g. the latest shader-based clouds in CVS/HEAD are unlikely to work with current Xgl implementations). So if you are using an GL-accelerated X-server (i.e. to run Compiz/Fusion) under Linux and are experiencing performance issues or other graphics related problems, please verify if these problems persist after having disabled Xgl support, this can usually be accomplished using xgl-switch --disable

For Linux, there's now an OpenGL benchmarking test suite available here (download) that provides useful information about your system's degree of OpenGL support, if you are unsure about your system's OpenGL support and if you are experiencing performance issues in FlightGear, you may want to try running this test suite first in order to ensure that OpenGL is properly set up on your system.


General Hardware Info

  • CPU
  • RAM
  • SOUND CARD
  • GRAPHICS CARD
    • Manufacturer
    • Type/Model
    • texture memory size


Software Specs

  • OS (Version, Kernel, Servicepacks etc)
  • any other software that may be running while FlightGear is running (i.e. antivirus tools)
  • driver versions for relevant hardware (graphics, sound, input hardware)


Input Hardware

(This is only likely to be required if FlightGear itself seems to be working properly otherwise)

  • KEYBOARD (language/country encoding)
  • MOUSE
  • JOYSTICK
  • YOKE
  • PEDALS


FlightGear related Info

Basic Info

  • version of FlightGear you are trying to get to work for you
  • where you obtained it from (URL)
  • in what format you obtained it (executables/binaries vs. source code)
  • if you built it yourself, how you did do that (compiler,flags etc)
  • how and where you installed FlightGear (file system location)
  • how you are starting FlightGear (GUI frontend vs. shell/console)
  • if you have previously only tried starting it via GUI frontend, the output of trying to run it from a console
  • startup parameters you use, and information whether using the defaults (i.e. no arguments at all), works for you or not
  • runtime settings you use
  • any console messages (warnings and errors) you may see (preferably the complete redirected output from STDERR)
  • whether the same machine/OS (unmodified) has previously been used to run FlightGear successfully, if so what version of FlightGear
  • if FlightGear works properly using the default settings


Sound Issues

  • type, manufacturer, make/model of your sound card/system
  • driver version
  • whether you are able to use other sound applications (i.e. media players such as winamp)
  • settings in sound dialog (must be enabled and set to sufficient volume)
  • under Linux:if you are able to use other OpenAL programs
  • whether any other audio software might be running on your system


In Flight Issues

If you experience any problems during flight, please save the active flight and make the saved file available for further investigation (i.e. in order to post it to a forum or send it to a mailing list)

If you are facing scenery-related problems (i.e. no scenery visible), please also try to provide the following information:

  • whether FlightGear's default airport KSFO (San Francisco) works for you or not
  • whether you can see any scenery (i.e. runways) from the cockpit view
  • whether you can see any scenery (i.e. runways) from non-cockpit views (i.e. outside view: using the v/V key to cycle through all views)
  • what daytime settings you are using and whether changing this setting has any effect
  • what environmental settings you are using (clouds, visibility)
  • which tiles you downloaded, and from where-including the size of each file or its MD5 sum
  • whether you are able to open the downloaded scenery tiles using an archiver such as WinZip, PowerZIP, IzArc - and if you get to see any warnings or errors
  • which areas/airports specifically are causing trouble, and what you are (not) seeing (i.e. terrain/water?)
  • how exactly you installed the scenery tiles, did you extract the scenery tiles properly?
  • the location of your FlightGear base package (data) folder
  • whether you made any modifications to your base package, if so: if using a fresh copy of the base package results in the same problem
  • whether you customized any user-specific FlightGear settings, if so: whether deleting/renaming your fgfs home folder, still results in the same problem
  • if you are using the FG_ROOT and FG_SCENERY variables, their contents
  • the contents of the folder under $FG_ROOT/Terrain
  • ICAO code and runway of airport, as well as your actual longitude/latitude retrieved from the property browser: /sim/position/longitude-deg & /sim/position/latitude-deg
  • the value of /sim/rendering/draw-otw using the property browser (needs to be true)
  • any screenshots depicting the problem


Input Hardware related Issues

If you are facing problems related to your input hardware, please also try to provide the following information:

  • the nature of your problem
  • whether the symptoms appear to be in any way specific to the aircraft you are using
  • what input hardware you are trying to use with FlightGear
  • whether the corresponding hardware works under the same OS with other applications
  • how the input hardware is connected to your machine
  • if there is any other input hardware connected to your machine
  • if the symptoms disappear when you disconnect either single components of your input hardware or all of it together

TODO: we need to evaluate the forum and mailing discussions of the last 2-3 months in order to determine which issues were the most frequently reported ones (i.e. FreeGLUT, RenderTexture,3D Clouds,non calibrated hardware etc), so that we can summarize these issues here, and possibly even directly provide solutions later on.


Troubleshooting Segmentation Faults

If you experience segmentation faults while trying to start FlightGear, please try to provide additional information (using default settings & configuration) such as:

  • full OSG debug info (by setting the environment variable OSG_NOTIFY_LEVEL=debug)
  • full fgfs startup info using --log-level=bulk
  • backtrace obtained via gdb
  • system call trace obtained via strace

This sort of info will help to determine whether the problem is actually caused by FlightGear (or one of its dependencies) or by local, system-specific issues.


See Also