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Simulator Execution

FlightGear is packaged by all major distributions and most others too, so that installation of pre-built binaries can usually be completed in a few minutes. Almost all customization, including adding new aircraft and scenery, occurs through XML and through a structured directory tree. Most users can now simply use the prepackaged distributed binaries and no longer need to recompile the simulator to add new features.

However, this is a rapidly changing project and new functionality is added to the source code on an continuing basis. If a user wishes to take advantage of a new capability or function, when customizing the simulation for their individual needs, that source version does of course need to be compiled.

Installing and running FlightGear is relatively easy under Linux, especially compared to other operating systems with weak tool automation.

  1. Install Linux normally and test Internet access.
  2. Add video card support, using a maximum of 25% of memory for the 2D display, as 3D uses the remainder.
  3. Enable hardware accelerated OpenGL support and test for speed, using glTron[5] for example.
  4. Install[2] PLIB 1.8 or above, which is already in many distributions, and test with all the supplied examples to ensure all the API features are working.
  5. Verify that headers for zlib and similar are present.
  6. Download[6], compile and install SimGear.
  7. While that compiles, download the FlightGear source.
  8. With SimGear installed, compile and install FlightGear
  9. While compiling, download FlightGear's base package. This contains data files that are required at runtime.
  10. Type runfgfs and enjoy.

Starting from a blank hard drive with no operating system, FlightGear can be running in less than an hour.