A powerful graphical launcher for the FlightGear flight simulator
A powerful graphical launcher for FlightGear
This software is a fork of the excellent FGo! program written by Robert “erobo” Leda, see HISTORY in the docs/README/README_en file for details. It is a graphical launcher for FlightGear, i.e., a program whose purpose is to allow easy assembling and running of an fgfs command line.
Screenshots are available from the FFGo screenshots gallery page.
FFGo’s home page is located at:
(it was on people.via.ecp.fr before April 30, 2016)
FFGo requires the following software:
- works on Unix-like systems (including GNU/Linux);
- works on Windows;
- should also work on MacOS X, but no one has reported about this so far.
Python 3.4 or later;
Tkinter (part of the Python standard library; often known as python3-tk or python-tk in Linux package managers); very old versions that don’t have the Ttk widget set are not supported starting from FFGo 1.8.0 (Tk 8.5 should be recent enough);
In addition to these mandatory dependencies, FFGo will take advantage of the following software if installed:
- Pillow (a PIL fork that supports Python 3); the corresponding Debian package is python3-pil.imagetk;
- GeographicLib's MagneticField program, distributed with the GeographicLib C++ library. In Debian, this program is part of the geographiclib-tools package, but requires specific dataset files to be installed in order to work properly (the geographiclib-get-magnetic script may be helpful to get them installed);
- GeographicLib's implementation for Python 3 (present in Debian testing and unstable under the name python3-geographiclib at the time of this writing).
If some of these optional components are not installed, or if for some reason FFGo can’t find them, some features will be disabled or work in degraded mode. For instance, aircraft thumbnails won’t be displayed if the Pillow library isn’t installed for the Python interpreter used to run FFGo.
The home pages of FFGo’s dependencies indicated here are current at the time of this writing (January 2016), but might change over time.
The best place to download FFGo from is the FFGo page on PyPI. Specifically, tarballs for any version are available in the download area (also packages in wheel format since FFGo 1.12.6). Alternatively, FFGo tarballs and wheel files can be downloaded from Florent Rougon’s home page, but since that site is served over plain http (not https), you should get them from PyPI unless you know what you are doing.
FFGo is maintained in a Git repository that can be cloned with:
git clone https://github.com/frougon/FFGo.git
If you use Debian, the first thing to do is, as usual, to check whether there is an ffgo package in Debian proper. If not (which is the case at the time of this writing), you can still install FFGo and its dependencies with a simple:
apt-get install ffgo
aptitude install ffgo
etc., depending on your package manager of choice. For this to work, you need to:
add the following lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list (given for Debian unstable here):deb http://frougon.net/debian-ffgo unstable main deb-src http://frougon.net/debian-ffgo unstable main
Packages for Debian stable are also available. If this is what you need, just replace unstable with buster, or whatever is the codename of the current Debian stable release, in these sources.list lines.
install Florent Rougon’s OpenPGP key into the apt keyring (be sure to verify that this is the same key as served by Github over https, after adding a trailing newline to the latter). This is necessary to allow apt to authenticate the packages (if you don’t do this, the installation should still be possible, but with warnings and, of course, reduced security).
In order to do this, you should first get the key using the above link, and save it to a file. Let’s assume you have the key in file /tmp/OpenPGP-key.asc. To add it to the apt keyring, you can run the following command as root:apt-key add /tmp/OpenPGP-key.asc
Once this is done, there is no need to keep the OpenPGP-key.asc file around anymore.
After these two steps, don’t forget to run:
(or aptitude update, etc.), otherwise the package manager won’t find the packages available from the newly-added repository.
The ffgo package recommends python3-pil.imagetk. This package is available in Debian. If you don’t install it, FFGo will still work but you won’t be able to see the aircraft thumbnails.
The deb-src line in /etc/apt/sources.list is useful if you want to be able to run:apt-get source ffgo
or similar for its dependencies available from the repository given above (currently and for the foreseeable future, only CondConfigParser). Otherwise, you may safely omit that line.
The detailed installation guide for FFGo is in the docs/INSTALL directory in any release tarball or zip file. In short:
If you are using Debian, please see above.
FFGo may be run without installation, provided that all software requirements are installed.
Otherwise, FFGo can be installed in the standard way for Python packages, i.e. with:pip install FFGo
If you have never used pip before, or if you need more details, read the guide in docs/INSTALL before running this command, and don’t invoke it as the superuser unless you really know what you are doing!
Besides FFGo, you may want to also install Pillow in order to see the aircraft thumbnails in FFGo. The presence of Pillow is detected at run time, therefore it doesn’t matter if Pillow is installed before or after FFGo. Similarly, if you want to see magnetic variation and magnetic headings in addition to true headings, you’ll need to install GeographicLib’s MagneticField program. Finally, GeographicLib's Python implementation is used for some geodetic calculations if installed for the Python interpreter used to run FFGo. Most computations can normally be done without this module, but it may be necessary in some particular cases (computation of distance and bearings for the shortest path between nearly antipodal points).
You may also find the installation instructions from FFGo’s page on the FlightGear wiki helpful. If you have a problem, you can always ask in FFGo’s thread on the FlightGear forum (see below in Getting help, discussing).
If you’ve installed FFGo using a ready-made package (Linux or BSD distribution, etc.), just run ffgo from the command line, or choose FFGo in your desktop menu, etc.
If you chose to run FFGo without installing it:
From your file manager, you may click on the ffgo-launcher.py file in the top-level directory obtained after unpacking a release tarball or zip file. Alternatively, you can run it from a terminal with a command such as ./ffgo-launcher.py or python3 ffgo-launcher.py. Just make sure you are running ffgo-launcher.py with the Python interpreter for which you installed the dependencies.
Otherwise, if you installed FFGo with pip:
pip should have installed an ffgo executable in the directory it normally installs scripts into. This directory may be a Scripts subdirectory of your Python installation, or a bin subdirectory of the virtual environment if you ran pip in a venv, etc. It depends on how you ran pip (inside or outside a venv, etc.). More details are given in docs/INSTALL, and if this is not enough, please refer to the pip documentation.
Note for Windows users:
On Windows, pip will install an ffgo-noconsole.exe executable along with ffgo.exe (typically in C:\PythonXY\Scripts for a Python installation with version X.Y). The difference between these two files is that ffgo.exe opens a Windows terminal (“console”) containing all FFGo messages, while ffgo-noconsole.exe doesn’t.
In any case, it is suggested that you skim through the documentation available from the Help menu after you start FFGo. This will direct you to the important first-time settings, hopefully give you useful tips, etc.
Apart from this text (which corresponds to README.rst in a release tarball or zip file), FFGo’s documentation can be found in the docs top-level directory after unpacking a release tarball or zip file. Once FFGo is installed, users should start by reading docs/README/README_<language code> (the language code is en for English; this text is also accessible from FFGo’s Help menu). In a second time, docs/README.conditional-config (available online) explains how to use the full power of the configuration system used by FFGo.
If you got FFGo from the Git repository instead of a release tarball, part of the documentation is in source form only (written for Sphinx). There is a special section in docs/INSTALL which explains how to build it in this situation . In any case, this documentation (for the latest FFGo release) is always available online.
Basically, it boils down to installing a recent enough Sphinx and running make doc from the top-level directory.
There is also some FFGo documentation on the FlightGear wiki, in particular screenshots illustrating most features, and maybe more practically-oriented installation instructions than those from docs/INSTALL/INSTALL_en (at the time of this writing).
Getting help, discussing
At the time of this writing, there is a thread dedicated to FFGo on the FlightGear forum at the following address:
This is where most discussions about FFGo take place. If you have a question or a problem related to FFGo, this is a good place to ask.
If you think you have found a bug, you can file an issue on GitHub. If you are not sure that what you are seeing is actually a bug, I suggest to discuss it instead in the FFGo forum thread. In either case, be very precise telling:
your operating system;
the versions of FFGo and its dependencies (Python, CondConfigParser, FlightGear… also Pillow and GeographicLib if you have them installed);
how you installed FFGo (with pip, or a distribution package, or…);
the exact contents of the FFGo log file, which is ~/.ffgo/Logs/FFGo.log on every operating system except Windows, and %APPDATA%/FFGo/Logs/FFGo.log on Windows.
Note for Windows users:
Since Windows seems to hide the %APPDATA% folder nowadays, Windows users may have to use their favorite search engine in order to find how to access this folder on their computer (hint: maybe http://www.blogtechnika.com/what-is-application-data-folder-in-windows-7/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa0H8lND9Qs and https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/design/app-settings/store-and-retrieve-app-data can be helpful);
step-by-step instructions describing what you did to trigger the bug.
The FFGo log file normally contains the versions of all major dependencies of FFGo, therefore the second instruction above should be a no-brainer if you carried out the fourth one correctly. These versions should also be available using Help → About in FFGo.
FFGo is distributed under the terms of the WTFPL version 2, dated December 2004.
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