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Is it possible to install multiple instanes of FG in Win7?

Installing FlightGear, scenery, aircraft etc. on Windows.

Is it possible to install multiple instanes of FG in Win7?

Postby jharris1993 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:11 pm

Greetings!

System:
Win7 64 bit current as of this instant date. (except that I have IE-10 installed instead of IE-11)
Assume sufficient memory and disk space for everything described below.

Question:
Assume I define multiple installation paths - call them P1 through Pn - where the paths are entirely separate paths under a common directory point.
Ex:
Path 1 = C:\Users\Me\FG_Install_1
Path 2 = C:\Users\Me\FG_Install_2
. . .
. . .
. . .

Path n = C:\Users\Me\FG_Install_n

Install Scenario #1:
Scenery, aircraft, and other common files installed after the main install are common between them.
Ex: FG_Scenery, FG_Aircraft, etc. are a single set of directories used by ALL these installations. (i.e. I only install the scenery and aircraft once.)

Install Scenario #2:
Scenery, aircraft, and other common files installed after the main install are installed in entirely separate directories, (i.e. I create a separate scenery, aircraft, etc., install for each install of FG.

Case #1: Assume either Installation Scenario 1 or 2 above, where the FG installs are different versions.
Case #2: Assume either Installation Scenario 1 or 2 above, where the FG installs are the exact same version.

Has this been done before? With what results?
Will there be any interaction between them?
What "gotcha's" do I have to be aware of?

Jim (JR)
What say ye?

Jim (JR)

Some see things as they are, and ask "Why?"
I dream things that never were, and ask "Why Not".

Robert F. Kennedy

“Impossible” is only found in the dictionary of a fool.
Old Chinese Proverb
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Re: Is it possible to install multiple instanes of FG in Win

Postby elgaton » Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:09 pm

If you use the Setup program to install FlightGear, it is only possible to install a nightly build and a standard build of FlightGear at the same time (irrespective of the versions at play): if you try to install another version of FlightGear on a system which has it already installed, the Setup program will perform an upgrade/downgrade (I haven't tested what the installer does if you install the software and then perform a reinstallation of the same version in another directory).

An alternative could be:
  • installing one version of FlightGear;
  • copying the installation directory to C:\Users\Me\FG_Install_1;
  • uninstalling FlightGear;
  • repeating this procedure for all versions you would like to keep.

Even if you do this trick, however, the folder used by FlightGear to store its settings (including the scenery/aircraft paths to use) is the same (%APPDATA%\flightgear.org). In recent versions, the simulator has started to use different file names within that path to prevent possible interactions between settings saved using different versions of the software (e.g. navdata_X_Y.cache for the navdata cache, where X and Y are the major and minor version numbers), but that's not the case for older ones. To be on the safe side, I would recommend you to launch FlightGear using a batch file to pass the scenery/aircraft paths on the command line and to delete the navdata cache before switching between older FG versions not using versioned file names.

There's also a second problem in Scenario #1, namely, aircraft designed on an older version of FlightGear might present some glitches while running on a newer one (if my memory serves me correctly, I encountered some while running the B787 from Omega's hangar, such as the autopilot not engaging from time to time).
NIATCA 2nd admin, regular ATC at LIPX and creator of the LIPX custom scenery
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Re: Is it possible to install multiple instanes of FG in Win

Postby jharris1993 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:35 pm

Interesting!

Thanks. I am thinking of experimenting with this and I will report results.

The why of this wherefore is that there were issues with FG that I had run into in previous installations, and I wanted to determine if it was an artifact of the installation or of the software itself.

The potential interactions have been noted and there may be workarounds - like defining the FG_Run directory to be different.

Jim (JR)
What say ye?

Jim (JR)

Some see things as they are, and ask "Why?"
I dream things that never were, and ask "Why Not".

Robert F. Kennedy

“Impossible” is only found in the dictionary of a fool.
Old Chinese Proverb
jharris1993
 
Posts: 139
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Location: Worcester, MA. / Moscow, Russia
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Re: Is it possible to install multiple instanes of FG in Win

Postby Richard » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:25 am

I've had many different versions installed simultaneously; including older versions. This is where the unix heritage helps as FG doesn't use (much) in the registry. So it's a case of finding the install directory (c:\program files\flightgear) after installation and copying it somewhere else with the appropriate name and then install another version.

To launch the other versions I just use the \flightgear\versionID\bin\fgfs e.g.

I:\flightgear\2016.1\bin\fgfs.exe "--fg-root=I:\flightgear\2016.1\fgdata" --fg-aircraft=I:\flightgear\aircraft

you can change paths in the launcher; or FGRUN; but that's a little more tedious once you've got the hang of the command line parameters.
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Re: Is it possible to install multiple instanes of FG in Win

Postby zakalawe » Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:21 pm

Note you can also override FG_HOME in the environment, to have totally distinct installs - this would be my recommend approach to running multiple versions in parallel.

(The installers will always replace the stable / dev version as other commenters pointed out, so you can't use those so easily, you need to copy files around - I'm nota Windows expert so I don't know if there something that could be changed or improved here)

If you start multiple instances (the same version or different) of FGFS using the same value of FG_HOME (whether that be the default or a custom one), we use a lock file to ensure only one (the first) has write access. The rest will go into read-only mode, and as you can maybe guess, treat FG_HOME as read-only.

Sharing of aircraft / scenery is entirely about which paths are configured, BTW. However, one final caveat is that having multiple instances both running TerraSync, using the same terrasync dir, would likely act a bit funny. It ought to actually work, but it might download some things twice, and it's not a tested or supported configuration for the moment.
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Re: Is it possible to install multiple instanes of FG in Win

Postby jharris1993 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:08 pm

Zakalawe, (et. al.

All of this information is excellent - thanks!

To clarify my original intention, what I want to do is to - as much as possible - have the installations encapsulated into distinct environments.
Viz.
FG's home directory, the binary repository, location of aircraft files, etc., encapsulated within a particular sub-tree. It might even be possible to "encapsulate" the Terrasync URL's by using aliases within the system's HOSTS file.

Likewise, my original intent was to run only one instance at a time. Perhaps running more than one is possible, but that would be a completely different experiment and a different question.

With regard to multiple downloads of the same Terrasync information - well, that's the price you pay for multiple, simultaneous installs, 'eh? :wink:

Note that I would expect and desire independent downloads of Terrasync data as part of the process of testing how well Terrasync works, since using the same local data would possibly mask issues with the Terrasync process.

Thanks!

Jim (JR)
What say ye?

Jim (JR)

Some see things as they are, and ask "Why?"
I dream things that never were, and ask "Why Not".

Robert F. Kennedy

“Impossible” is only found in the dictionary of a fool.
Old Chinese Proverb
jharris1993
 
Posts: 139
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:20 pm
Location: Worcester, MA. / Moscow, Russia
Callsign: $%^&ing Idiot!
Version: Whatever..
OS: Win-7 / Linux


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