FlightGear Git on Mac OS X

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Please read this, important!

This page is under heavy developement! It shows how you can probably succeed with installing your own FlightGear Developement Version on OSX 10.5 or 10.6, on a Intel-based Mac. This page is experimental and this building should not be used unless you know what you do with your computer. Keep in mind that installing developer versions of software can crash your computer ;-) Please do not start to mail to the FlightGear- or SimGear Devel-Mailinglist with FlightGear OSX installing problems related to this Wiki, ask your questions or report errors in the forum in postings/threads related to this page! --> http://forum.flightgear.org/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=14175

Before you start, move other installs out of system root

The build system for FlightGear changed 2011 to cmake. When you want to follow this wiki and get a new clean install you should remove all former installs of plib, PLIB.Framework, OpenSceneGraph, simgear and flightgear. Depending on location where you installed FlightGear GIT version (NOT MacFlightGear!), you have to remove a lot of stuff i.e. in /usr/include, /usr/lib, /usr/local/lib, /usr/local/include etc. (depends where you installed before, but default is /usr/local/...). It is probably better NOT TO DELETE this stuff, keep the content in a safe place, but out of system root.

Default installing locations

This guide installs the software with default paths on your system, in /usr and /usr/local. Use your own configuration options to get your preferred locations!. Do not post linking errors in the forum or the lists when you decide to use your own search paths.


System Requirements: OSX 10.5.8 (Leopard) or higher, and an Intel Mac. Other requirements: Basic knowledge of using Terminal on OSX, Xcode Dev Tools

You are going to install:
Xcode Dev Tools, boost, cmake, plib, OpenSceneGraph, git, SimGear and finally FlightGear

This action will take more than 2 hours! Update December 2014 with newer Macs this now compiles usualy under 1 hour.


Install Xcode Developer Tools

Download and install Xcode Dev Tools for OSX
for OSX 10.5.8 (i386) you can use Tools 3.1.4 How to get older dev tools versions
for OSX 10.6 (i386, x86_64) you can use Dev Tools 3.2.6


Newer Xcode 4.0 is free but is installed with Apple's appstore now. When you want to install flightgear with SDK 10.5 and target 10.5 you need Dev Tools/Xcode <= 3.2.6

Download and Install GIT

Download and install GIT for OSX. Grab the latest version from


Install ICU and boost

Download ICU source from here http://site.icu-project.org/download then

cd icu/source
chmod +x runConfigureICU configure install-sh
./runConfigureICU MacOSX
sudo make install

Download recent boost from here:


CD into the boost directory , run:

./bootstrap.sh --with-python=/usr/bin/python
sudo ./bjam architecture=combined address-model=32_64 install

Note: this step can take more than 1 hour! Boost is made for drinking more tea.

Install cmake

Download and install cmake from here: http://www.cmake.org/cmake/resources/software.html

When you want to compile against SDK 10.5 and target 10.5 you will need the "Mac OSX 32-bit Universal (for Intel or PPC, Tiger/10.4 or later)" version.

Install plib (1.8.5/trunk)

Checkout plib trunk with:

svn checkout https://plib.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/plib/trunk

Then run (for target OSX 10.9/i386 i.e.):

./configure --disable-pw --disable-sl --disable-psl --disable-ssg --disable-ssgaux \
--prefix=/usr/local CXXFLAGS="-arch i386 -isysroot /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.9.sdk/ \
-mmacosx-version-min=10.9" CFLAGS="-arch i386 -isysroot /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.9.sdk/ \

and finally:

sudo make install

Download and install OpenSceneGraph trunk

Checkout OpenSceneGraph trunk with

svn co http://svn.openscenegraph.org/osg/OpenSceneGraph/trunk OpenSceneGraph

Make a copy of the "OpenSceneGraph" folder you get, maybe you need a fresh clone again when it fails.

cd OpenSceneGraph
mkdir build && cd build

For compiling with imageio/cocoa, target architecture i386 AND x86_64:

cmake .  -G Xcode -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release \
-DCMAKE_OSX_SYSROOT=/Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.9.sdk/ -DCMAKE_OSX_ARCHITECTURES="i386;x86_64" \


 xcodebuild -target ALL_BUILD -configuration Release
 sudo xcodebuild -target install -configuration Release

Remarks: Compiling OpenSceneGraph often takes more than 30 minutes.

Git SimGear/FlightGear/fgdata

Create a directory where you want to place your new FlightGear code.

git clone git://git.code.sf.net/p/flightgear/flightgear/
git clone git://git.code.sf.net/p/flightgear/simgear/
git clone git://git.code.sf.net/p/flightgear/fgdata/

The fgdata is about 4 GB! You can clone this repo once and later you use git pull. There is other page FlightGear and Git about using the FlightGear GIT Repos.

Install SimGear

cd to the simgear directory and type

 -DCMAKE_OSX_SYSROOT=/Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.9.sdk/ \
 xcodebuild -target ALL_BUILD -configuration Release
 sudo xcodebuild -target install -configuration Release

Install FlightGear

cd to the flightgear directory and type

 -DCMAKE_OSX_SYSROOT=/Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.9.sdk/ \
 xcodebuild -target ALL_BUILD -configuration Release
 sudo xcodebuild -target install -configuration Release

Using Xcode for compilation

Open the created .xcodeproj files and build it using ⌘ + B or choosing the menu Product=>Build. You may need to set the build target "ALL_BUILD>My Mac 64-bit" or what ever your target is and the configuration in the menu Product=>"Edit Scheme" where you can set the build configuration to "Debug" or "Release" under the "Run" tab. Once successfully compiled you need to install the build on the terminal since the standard target location of the files need root privileges. So change directory to your osg, simgear or flightgear git directory containing the .xcodeproj file and execute the command "sudo xcodebuild -target install -configuration Release". The -configuration depends on what you last built usually Release though. Choose -target uninstall to uninstall all related files.

=== Notes Check that you are using the proper versions of OSG and simgear with flightgear. Use git checkout to get the correct version. You can list them with the "git tag" command. Some problems occure when compiling speex when you have an installed a version in /opt/local/include/speex that is not compatible with the current used in fg. One solution is to change the <speex/...h> to \"speex/...h\" to pickup the local files delivered with the fg git repository.

Finish and Testrun

You can use fgfs --fg-root=/path/to/fgdata and --fg-scenery=/path/to/scenery

fgfs --option1 --option2 ...
type in terminal "fgfs --help -v" to get all current command line options