Scripted Compilation on Linux Debian/Ubuntu

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The following script takes care of downloading and compiling FlightGear from the git repositories with just one command execution for both 32-bit and 64-bit Debian based systems (Debian, Ubuntu). Pre-existing installed version (if any) of FlightGear are not touched at all since the script builds and installs everything under the directory in which it is launched. You can choose between building all or only specific tools and applications. For redhat-based systems (Fedora, CentOS) you may want to check out CentOS.

Necessary packages are installed via the apt-get system while libraries not included in the repositories are downloaded and compiled on the fly (i.e. Plib, Simgear and OSG).

For Hints on Using a RPM based distribution like CentOS, please see CentOS

Disk Space Requirements

As of 02/2013, this script will by at least require 24-30 gb of disk space, note that this includes the downloaded source trees and the build files, but also the fgdata checkout (which accounts approx. for 50% of the whole thing).

List of compiled programs

The script is able to download and compile:

Note that openRTI is just another optional dependency for HLA support:

For the time being, you should be just fine building without HLA support. Eventually, the idea is for HLA to replace the existing MP system and even increasingly distribute the FlightGear architecture such that more and more components can be more easily run in separate threads or even separate processes, possibly even on different machines. So this is going to be an important feature for professional users, using several computers and screens to create a comprehensive and immersive simulation environment.

At the moment, it's probably safe to say that HLA is only of interest to developers and people willing to play with experimental features.

Updated list of programs compilation status

Keeping in mind that this script compiles bleeding edge software versions, using latest debian derivered distros, it can happen that the program that was successfully compiling last week, today does not.
This is a list of what does and does not compile as much updated as possible.
Date: 19 November 2012


You can download the script here:

The script is maintained in the FlightGear main repository. Remember to update this script whenever a new FlightGear version is released, so that you'll be able to download the latest stable revision.

There is also another option for building FlightGear and all its dependencies in an automated fashion, please refer to:


To run, just save it in a directory called for example: ~/fgfs then execute it (no need to execute it as root).

Here is for example a sequence of commands to get the script:

mkdir ~/fgfs
cd ~/fgfs
chmod 755

You have two options now: build the latest stable FlightGear release or build the current development version (bleeding edge).

Build the latest stable FlightGear release

When executing the script, use the "-s" option to build the latest stable release:

./ -s

Build the current FlightGear development version

When executing the script without any option, the latest development version is built.

Warning: The development version changes on an almost daily basis. It provides the latest features, but is not always guaranteed to work reliably. If you're unfamiliar with software testing, you may prefer to use the latest stable release.


Once the script is finished, you will successfully get Flightgear and Fgrun installed in the ~/fgfs directory.

Launching FlightGear

To run your new git installation of FlightGear you have to launch the command under the same folder, for example:

cd ~/fgfs

Launching Fgrun


For many users it's more comfortable having FlightGear launched by the graphical utility Fgrun which is installed as well in the same folder. You have to launch the command, for example:

cd ~/fgfs

Launching Fgo!


This is a graphical utility written in python, You have to launch the command, for example:

cd ~/fgfs

Remember that the first time you run it, you have to go to preferences and set the binary and fgdata path (Do no set the working directory, you don't need it).

Additional programs

If you wish to get all the other programs, you need to launch the script adding the "ALL" option to the command line:

sh ALL

This, will also install FGCOM, FGComGui and Atlas

Launching FGCOM

FGCOM is the system used by FlightGear to simulate radio communications between users. Launch it using the command:

cd ~/fgfs
sh -cs

Launching FGComGui

FgComGui is a GUI wrapper to launch fgcom.

cd ~/fgfs  

Launching Atlas


Atlas provides a map for FlightGear, use it launching:

cd ~/fgfs

Launching Terrasync

Your FlightGear compilation comes with the Terrasync program too, so if you want to use it:

cd ~/fgfs
sh -S -p 5500 -d /folder/with/sceneries

Where: /folder/with/sceneries is the folder containing the sceneries data.

Then launch fgfs with the --fg-scenery=/folder/with/sceneries --atlas=socket,out,5,localhost,5500,udp option


Compilation errors

Here we are, no fear, if you wish to use programs from the cvs/svn/git repositories, you might face compilation errors that will prevent you to have a working copy of one or more of the programs provided by this script. What can be the causes that prevent us from successfully compiling? As far as I know those:

  1. Software developers introduce a new functionality with a new piece of code that prevents the compilation under your architecture, this can happen working with cvs/svn/git sources.
  2. The program refuses to compile because of a divergence in the libraries on which it depends. For example FlightGear might not compile because OSG has been modified, while OSG itself compiles fine, FG won't.
  3. One or more repositories are down and you can't get the library you need. (Both from cvs/svn/git or apt-get)

There is a simple solution to the above errors: wait and relaunch the script after some time (hours or days), if software developers repair or synchronize their code with the newly updated libraries (which generally happens eventually), your FlightGear will compile fine as if the previous error never took place.

Sometimes it happens that the script fails to compile only fgrun, fgcom or atlas, if you then see the file it means that FlightGear installation was successful and you can safely run it.


The script by default (without any option) will only compile FlightGear and Fgrun. To make it compile all, you need to launch the script with the ALL parameter. i.e.:

./ ALL

Compiling only one program

If you wish to recompile only one of the programs you can launch the script with one of the following parameters:

  • PLIB (to compile and install only plib)
  • OSG (to compile and install only OpenSceneGraph)
  • SIMGEAR (to compile and install only Simgear)
  • FGFS (to compile and install only FlightGear)
  • DATA (to download / update only data files for FlightGear)
  • FGRUN (to compile and install only Fgrun)
  • FGO (to compile and install only Fgo!)
  • FGCOM (to compile and install only Fgcom)
  • FGCOMGUI (to compile and install only FgComGui)
  • ATLAS (to compile and install only Atlas)

Fast updating

There is a second parameter UPDATE that allows you to just update your installation. i.e.: This will only update FGFS


Compiling last stable versions (Experimental)

Even if the script fetches data and sources from bleeding edge developers repositories (which sometimes do not compile), you can still force the script to download latest known versions of the software that were compiling successfully by adding the -s option.

./ -s

How does it work? Inside the script there is a small list with latest known versions of successfully compiling revisions, it will download from svn/git those specific revisions, which have been found able to compile together.
Warning: If you run this option inside a folder where you previously compiled fgfs, it will probably fail to compile, you better run the script with this option inside an empty folder or a folder whith the same fgfs version compiled previously.

Advanced options

  • Skip download of packages using -p n option
  • Skip compilation of programs using -c n option
  • Skip retrieving software updates using -d n option
  • Skip reconfigure (make clean) using -r n option

For example, if you are a developer and wish to quickly recompile and reinstall only your own modifications for FlightGear do this:

./ -p n -d n -r n  FGFS

this will only recompile modifications and reinstall them.

Multicore Acceleration

Using the option -j x (where x is the number of your CPU-Cores you wish to assign to the job) will speed up the whole compilation process considerably.

Disk usage

Having both compiled program, source code, and data from git requires some hard disk space: It will take something like 13 GB of space. If you don't have a fast machine, it will require several hours of compilation time.