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Start ::  Pilot's Lobby ::  Pilots' Pub ::  X-Plane and XACARS
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X-Plane and XACARS

bbuske Posted: 10.09.2018, 16:41



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Once I get my new machine, I might give P3D a try to see how it is doing with V4. Though, getting used to X-Plane, it is quite cool as well.. just the performance. But there my computer is at fault.  

Speaking of, is it possible to use XACARS, which does run on Linux with SPA? I think all it asks for is Pilot ID, Passwort and the server URLs for ACARS, PIREPS and FLIGHT INFORMATION.  

Oh, and speaking of Aircraft.. is there any good Airbus or Boing one to recommend? I have been looking at Aersosoft website, but there are so many, I did not know where to start.. lol 

Cheers, 

Ben
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jer029 Posted: 10.09.2018, 16:56

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Ben,

As I mentioned in an email to you, FSX and P3d, and most likely X-Plane use FSUIPC to connect to the simulator through Simconnect - or directly through simconnect to interact with 3rd-party addons like ACARS programs.  FlightGear communicates via Http Udp protocol with 3rd party addons.

So...if XACARS can configure their program to work with FlightGear, I can see about making it available as an ACARS program here at SPA.  However, it is unlikely that it would work for our Econ-2018 module, because of the required flight data necessary for that module that SPAACARS was tailored for.

I have no experience with X-Plane, as I tried it a while back and it was too different from FSX and P3d for me to bother learning.  I'm told by other pilots that SPAACARS used to work with X-Plane except for a few things (like the autoload of flight plan I think).  Those issues could possibly be addressed if an X-Plane user wants to work with me on adjusting SPAACARS for X-Plane.

As always, we will try to accommodate all pilots here at SPA to the best of our abilities, regardless of system capabilities and simulators used.

When you get a new computer, you may then have additional options that we can explore to expand your enjoyment of SPA's offerings.

John

jer029
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bbuske Posted: 10.09.2018, 17:26



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Hey, 

I am aware of that. However, X-Plane is not using FSIUPC. At least not on Linux. It just works as a plugin, that integrates into the X-Plane interface and works from there. Without any additional software required. However, XACARS can also be downloaded as a third-party software and ran separately. 

However, my reasoning for asking was not to make XACARS work with FlightGear, but to use XACARS on X-Plane to make a flight there once in a while for SPA, using XACARS.. but to make it work, I need the three URLs of ACARS, PIREP and FLIGHT INFORMATION... I don't know if you use that.. I just did some investigation and I found out, that Qantas Virtual for example uses both ACARS and XACARS... so I thought it might be possible to connect with XACARS... if not, that's completely fine. I am happy to just fly... :) Just an idea I got... 

Ben
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jer029 Posted: 10.09.2018, 18:07

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Ben,

No worries,  I just wanted to make clear the communication issues with FlightGear and XACARS on the forum, since you brought it up (although please, next time start a new thread and not hijack this one regarding p3dv4 flight models, which I tried to start to get pilots to share their experiences with P3dv4 flight models). 

Upon doing some quick internet searching, it appears that X-Plane, like FlightGear, can communicate via UDP.  Therefore, It's very possible to make SPAACARS-FG communicate for X-plane simulator as well.  Unfortunately, XACARS was designed for PHPVMS CMS that many virtual airlines use - including Qantas Virtual.  I think I looked at XACARS before developing SPAACARs as a possible alternative ACARS system, but it relied so heavily on the modules in PHPVMS that we don't use here at SPA, that it appeared impractical to modify for SPA use.

As much as I'd really like to make all things available to all pilots in all cases with all computer operating system and all simulators, it exceeds my limited computer knowledge.  I don't foresee a Linux version of SPAACARS in the near future, but if you find another standalone ACARS program you think would work - one that can we can identify and tailor the raw data feed via http communication from the pilot's computer to the Internet, then let me know because I can certainly configure SPA on the server-side to accept that data.

John

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bbuske Posted: 10.09.2018, 18:37



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OK, I will keep looking. 

I saw there is an ACARS specifically for FlightGear, based on Java. It is called Berry's BlackBox.. However I could not get it to work yet.. Not sure if it is a Linux issue, though I doubt that, since Java usually is cross platform. The issue also is, that it has not been developed since 2017.

However, the code is open source and is completely found on GitHub. I might have a look at it to see if this can be of any good. 

Cheers, and sorry about the hijacking. I was just going to ask about some good aircraft recommendation either Boeing or Airbus and this got into my mind.. lol 


Ben
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jer029 Posted: 10.09.2018, 19:22

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No problem Ben,

Yes...Barry's Black Box was very helpful for me to understand and replicate the communication with FG necessary for me to make SPAACARS work with FG.  So, if you can make Barry's Black Box work with your computer, I might be able to work with it to upload to SPA.

John

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bbuske Posted: 11.09.2018, 22:03



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Hey, 

sounds good to me.. Once I get a chance, I will have a look. It is probably just a small thing, since Java should work on all platforms. I was just too lazy to look at it closer, because I had quite some stuff to do still well and you know how it is once you get into these things... 

I will let you know how it worked. 

Ben
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TribalBob Posted: 12.09.2018, 08:45

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I will take a look at Barry's Black Box and see if I can get it running on Debian once I get back to my computer but in the meantime I did find this:

[quote]Q1: How to install this on Linux (ubuntu).
A1: ll you need is a actual Java  8 on your server. I already tested Barry's BlackBox on my netbook, running Xubuntu. If done, start Barry's blackbox from your command line shell: using "java -jar blackbox-xxx.jar"

 

Q2: "Unable to load the protocol configuration file"

A2: probably you forgot to copy the blackbox.xml file to your Flightgear Data/Protocol directory?" [/quote]
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bbuske Posted: 12.09.2018, 14:16



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Hey, 

I have Java installed. I am Software Developer (main job). The error I get when starting up the blackbox is that the class blackbox.avionics I think it was, cannot be found. However, I downloaded the Java Package (uncompiled) from GitHub and took a look at it. The classes are there as they should. 

I thought at first, that the issue might be because of case-sensitivity / file structure inconsistencies between Windows and Linux. However, since this is a Java Application, which is running inside the JVM, which is cross-platform, this can't be the issue. The JVM is supposed to be the same on Windows, Linux, MacOS, etc. Also I did notice that most people seem to have no issue. One guy reported the same issue as I got, but he never got a response nor a solution... 

Cheers

Ben
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jer029 Posted: 12.09.2018, 17:46

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Sound like progress being made there you guys.  It sounds like you're close to getting Barry's to work with FG in Linux.  If you do, it should be easy for you to figure out how to get any missing data from the same http and udp connections that Barry's also uses and push them through to upload (I think).   Then I will just have to set up the server side to accept from that ACARS program.  With the code being open source, I might have to implement some additional security server side.

John

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bbuske Posted: 12.09.2018, 21:03



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Hey, 

yeah that would be cool. It would probably help others with FG as well. There have been some requests about an ACARS for it. As for security...I think you would need the same security as for the regular SPAACARS. You would want to make sure, that only those clients could connect, that are authorized to do so (username / pilot ID and Password). 

Let's see how it goes. This weekend I will have some time to spare, to look into that and to do some flying here.. I have been somewhat busy this week, with some projects going on and a RL flight I had to take care off. Now I think Friday or at Saturday at latest, I will be able to catch up on all that. 

Cheers 

Ben
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jer029 Posted: 13.09.2018, 08:34

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Of course SPAACARS currently works for FlightGear pilots - it's just a Windows-based application and not Unix/Linux operating system compatible.  Thus far you are the only Linux pilot here at SPA that I'm aware of, but it must be a more popular operating system for FG users, as the servers all seem to be Linux-based.

jer029
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bbuske Posted: 13.09.2018, 10:24



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Hey John, 

good morning.  

I think that Linux is a great operating system. Way better and stable than Windows and with a way better performance. Now with more and more software being available for Linux as well, it is also quite comfortable to use. There are just a few exceptions, where you might run into some problems. However, most of them can be fixed easily by the user himself and with Wine it is possible to run a decent amount of Windows Software right integrated into your Linux OS.  

FlightGear is an OpenSource project and it is free. This alone is quite a good reason for Linux users to stick with it. In addition, there is active development and great progress being made... Plus all aircraft, helis, etc. are free and there is even an option to intercept aircraft, get involved in air to air combat. However, I think there is another reason to: Flight Simulators that can run native on Linux are rare. There is X-Plane now, that is available since version 10 or 11 for Linux and FlightGear. There is probably some more, but not really good in points of realism and graphics. 

As for using Linux servers: That is quite common. Most servers are running Linux these days, unless you need specific MS functionality, such as Exchange, etc. Linux for a server does not only get to better performance, but also is more secure. For Linux still pretty much no virus exists with some very few exceptions and by the way Linux is being built, it is highly adaptable, configurable and offers a lot of functionality such as professional user management, firewall- and traffic-management, etc. right out of the box. 

Clients I have using Windows as a server are usually big businesses, who need to run Exchange, Office Communicator (now Skype for business) or any other software. In most cases, the server OS also doesn't interfere with the client. So you can have a web server using Linux and still connect to it from a Windows machine. 

Cheers

Ben
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jer029 Posted: 13.09.2018, 14:45

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Thanks Ben,

I was speaking specifically about the FlightGear servers for multiplayer flight, which apparently doesn't have a windows version, whereas the other Multiplayer Servers, ie JoinFS and FSHost, have windows versions of their servers.  I'm aware the many larger systems use Unix or Linux operating systems and that those servers can interact with clients on Windows systems.  Most simmers I've encountered use Windows operating system - at least from my experience here at SPA.  I cannot attest to what the ratio of Windows vs Linux is for FlightGear pilots.

John



edited by: jer029, Sep 13, 2018 - 02:47 PM

jer029
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bbuske Posted: 13.09.2018, 14:48



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Ah well, OK John. 
About this you know more than I do. :)  

I have not really been looking into FG MP Servers. As you know, I work with computers and software development all day. I try to stay away from it as far as I can when doing things for pleasure, such as flying for a VA. It doesn't mean I don't help out with pleasure where I can, just that I try to to dig too much into those things. 

Ben
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jer029 Posted: 13.09.2018, 15:06

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No worries Ben,

Your computer knowledge certainly exceeds my limited capacity, as it was not my primary career field.  The only point I was making in the earlier post was that I could not set up a FG server on my systems because all of mine use Windows and it appears that FG server software is designed for Linux systems. 

The fact that there are a number of those servers scattered about the world means that there has to be at least a handful of FG enthusiasts who use Linux on their home computers, as I'm guessing that's where most of them are set up on (at least that's were many of the FSHost and TeamSpeak servers are I believe - although I could be wrong there as well).  That's what had me suggesting that Linux was likely more popular with FlightGear pilots than pilots on other simulators.  Still, it would be interesting to know what the ratio of FG users on Windows and Linux systems - especially when considering what's worth offering here at SPA for FG-Linux pilots.

jer029
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bbuske Posted: 13.09.2018, 15:10



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Ah OK, yes, that would be true. Not surprising though.
 
However, it is probably just a matter of time until someone comes up with a Windows solution for it. I have never really flown FG-MP, with the exception of our flight we did... :) I am finally able to connect to VATSIM though... Which is really cool.

Ben
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TribalBob Posted: 14.09.2018, 08:15

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Hey guys, just wanted to let you know I am going to try and get into both of these this weekend. I was going to work on the Black Box the other day but ended up not having time. I have been doing some research and I should have plenty of time over the next few days though, so hopefully by Monday we will have a working SPAACARS for Linux and a working FlightGear Multiplayer Server for Windows.
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bbuske Posted: 14.09.2018, 09:25



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Awesome man! 
Let me know if you need anything!!! 

Ben
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TribalBob Posted: 17.09.2018, 20:04

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Well, I've given this my best shot and I'm afraid I have to admit defeat.

I got Barry's black box working on my Windows machine but Linux is giving me the same error as you Ben.

I tried a bunch of things including specifying the class_path manually as all my research leads me to suspect this to be some kind of a library linking error.

When i gave up on Barry's black box, I also tried to see if i could get SPAACARS-FG working through Wine, Wine-Mono and Mono, none of which worked.
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