Asking for help

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This page explains appropriate ways to ask for help from volunteers in the FlightGear community.

We assume that you are reading this page because you have some kind of problem that you need help with.

Before asking for help

  1. Describe the problem in detail to yourself
  2. Try solve the problem yourself
  3. Search for common solutions
    If some or all of the words you are looking for are ignored because they are too common, try a Google search ending with
    • Try a Google search

Where to ask for help

Depending on the nature of your problem, different places are better suited to ask your question at.

Most of the communication regarding FlightGear happens in two places: The FlightGear forum and the developer mailing list. In addition to those there are some unofficial communities as well.

The FlightGear forum

The forum is the right place to ask if you have questions related to:

  • FlightGear itself
  • Aircraft
  • Scenery

Unofficial forums

In some cases questions are better asked on the unofficial forums.

This could for example be regarding issues with unofficial aircraft or aircraft mostly discussed on unofficial forums while being developed as well as custom scenery.

If not sure, try the official forum first.

The developer mailing list

If you are able to build FlightGear from source, or even TerraGear and have questions related to that or to issues with them, you may be better served by asking for help at the developer mailing list.

The issue tracker

Usually it is a good idea to ask for help in the other places before reporting a bug.

The wiki

Depending on what you are asking about different places would be the right to ask for help:

  • About the FlightGear wiki in general the the right place to ask is Village pump.
  • About a specific page the discussion page of that page is the right place to ask (Click the Discussion tab above the page).
  • About edits by a specific user the right place to ask is the user discussion page, User talk:User name, is the right place to ask.

Asking for help

Getting the attention

The best way to get attention is often to:

  • Make it as easy as possible to figure out what you need help with.
  • Show that you have tried to solve the problem yourself first, and how.
  • Be honest about the problem (in essence do not exaggerate).
  • Try provide a sufficient amount of information, while at the same time being concise.

Depending on what kind of problem you have, you probably will have to supply us with some information about your computer in addition to information about the problem you are experiencing. As we do not have access to your computer, you need to be our eyes and ears.

Even if some of the information we ask for is not always required in order to fix a particular issue, it can often simplify shorten the troubleshooting process, for example by allowing us to exclude certain problem sources. Therefore, if at all possible please try to provide any information requested.

If anything is unclear, or you do not know how to obtain certain information, please ask for clarification rather than ignoring a particular request.

Keeping the attention

You can expect some follow up questions, in particular regarding reports about probable bugs. It is literally essential that they can be reproduced by the other user or developer.

Often a problem or a bug can be solved quickly as soon as it can reliably be reproduced.

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

People experiencing corrupted textures, should also see Troubleshooting graphics artifacts

General hardware info

  • CPU
  • RAM
    • 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)
  • YOKE

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.

External links