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The open source flight simulator FlightGear has come a long way since first being showcased at LinuxWorld in San Jose.

In April 1996, David Murr proposed a new flight simulator developed by volunteers over the Internet. This flight simulator was to be distributed free of charge via the Internet and similar networks. Curt Olson made a multi-platform release of FlightGear[1] in July 1997.

Since then, it has expanded beyond flight aerodynamics by improving graphics, adding a shaded sky with sun, moon and stars correctly drawn, automatically generated worldwide scenery, clouds and fog, head up display and instrument panel, electronic navigation systems, airports and runways, network play, and much more.

Recent changes to the simulator have simplified the customization of those features by the user, as discussed in more detail below. Instead of being in the source code, the configuration data is now specified on the command line and/or accessible using menu items and/or loaded from simple files.