Using the Boot CD

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Using the Paparazzi Boot-CD step by step

This howto will get you through the essential steps so you see something moving on the screen and experience the look and feel of the Paparazzi software. For the time being, we use the simulator. When you have the hadware ready, you will need some configuration and adaptation which is not covered in this step-by-step. Real flying can be done with the Live CD as well and should be very similar to the simulation, but again, not covered here.

The Live CD is not updated as frequently, so you may not see the latest changes.

The following applies to the version 3.2_RC1 from 01-Feb-2008. with an update to paparazziX_Mas2008.iso

Personal remark: I keep the 3.2 here in place because it is based on Knoppix and I like to have a Knoppix CD with me wherever I go. Just in case.... Knoppix is known to be your life saving device when your Windows has crashed, or got infested by a virus, you want to re-partition your disk, or in any other situation. Yes, of course, there's people who would just miss my famous remark on the "knoppix nopcmcia" option.

  • 1) Make sure you have this page ready, e.g. by printing it. You may also save it to your harddisk and later open it under Linx.
On the Paparazzi website, go to the Paparazzi Center section and be sure to have its contents at hand later, eg. by printing it.
The same applies to the Ground Control Station
Another excellent source of information is the Paparazzi User's Manual.

If you are familiar with Ubuntu or Knoppix (or with Linux in general) download and start the Boot CD and then continue with step 9.

XMAS 2008 Version

Obviously, I have been good last year, so Christkind brought me an XMAS-Version of Paparazzi (must have been Christkind, we don't believe in Santa). As Paparazzi runs on Ubuntu, it only makes sense to have the Live CD on Ubuntu as well.

and save the iso-file paparazziX_Mas2008.iso to disk (The filename will be different for future versions). Roughly 700MB in size.
The file called paparazziX_Mas2008.iso.md5sum is used to verify that the download has worked correctly. Find out how to do it by googling for md5sum, or just have confidence that it is OK. In doubt, you can do it later.
  • 3) With your favorite CD burning program, write the iso image to a blank CD. Do not create a data CD with the iso file on it, but find out how to create a CD from an iso image.


  • 4) When you insert the CD and open its contents in a file manager (e.g. Windows Explorer) you should see a directory tree. You shouldn't see the the iso file.
  • 5ff) Insert and boot the CD, maybe you have to set the BIOS accordingly.
The start menu appears.
When you are not using an English keyboard, it is a good time to press F3 and assign your keyboard map.
Press Enter for evaluating Ubuntu.

Now we have Ubuntu up and running and are ready for starting the Paparazzi software. Continue with step 9).

Knoppix newbies

If you are new to Knoppix and using the version 3.2_RC1 from 01-Feb-2008, continue here

and save the iso-file paparazzix_3.2_RC1.iso to disk (The filename will be different for future versions). Roughly 700MB in size.
The file called "paparazzix_3.2_RC1.iso.md5sum" is used to verify that the download has worked correctly. Find out how to do it by googling for md5sum, or just have confidence that it is OK. In doubt, you can test the CD later, using the tescd option (see step 6).
  • 3) With your favorite CD burning program, write the iso image to a blank CD. Do not create a data CD with the iso file on it, but find out how to create a CD from an iso image.
  • 4) See if it has worked so far by inserting the CD in the CD drive. When "auto run" is enabled, your browser opens a page called "KNOPPIX INFO".
  • 5) Boot from the new CD. Maybe you have to set the BIOS to make your PC boot from CD.
You should get a screen with a Knoppix logo and a prompt to hit the Enter key.
  • 6) Probably, you can start just by hitting the "Enter" key.
On some laptops, you have to enter "knoppix nopcmcia", otherwise it hangs. There is help available by pressing F3. This explains boot options which you might find useful.
The option toram makes Knoppix take longer on startup but run a lot faster (if you have enough RAM to accomodate the whole CD).
Options can be combined.
  • 7) Now the system starts up. This takes a while. Even when Knoppix is up and running, Knoppix needs to access the CD and this takes longer, unless you used the toram option. Wait until the CD drive is silent.
  • 8) A Window with "KNOPPIX INFO" (same as in step 4) shows up. You can click it away, ignore it, look at it later, we do not need it. You find icons for your hard disk partitions. We do not need them either, but maybe you like to play around with Knoppix on your own. It is interesting to know that Knoppix opens all your hard disk drives and flash drives as read-only, so you cannot do any harm to your system or your data.
Btw, there are ways to save a file on disk, but you don't need that yet. One of them is described in the LiveCd section of the Paparazzi Installation, one more can be found in the KNOPPIX INFO (see step 4), another one is to right-click on a drive icon and change the read-write-mode.

Now we have Knoppix up and running and are ready for starting the Paparazzi software.

Linux running

  • 9) Ubuntu: In the menu (on the top of the screen), select "Applications -> Other -> Paparazzi".
Knoppix: In the panel at the bottom of the screen there is a Paparazzi icon (the penguin with an umbrella and a telescope). :Click on it. Do not double-click, Linux uses a single click (in most cases).
Two windows pop up, one called "paparazzi - Konsole" (there is nothing to do here) and the other is called "Configuring Paparazzi". In the configuring window, click on "Forward" and then on "Apply". The "Paparazzi Center" opens up.
  • 10) In the Paparazzi Center, open the drop-down-menu for selecting an A/C (top left). Select "MJ5" which is a Micro Jet. You have to click and hold the mouse button, select and release.
When you select MJ5, you will notice that the configuration file names for Airframe, Flightplan etc are filled in. Do not change them. The target is pre-selected as "sim" (simulator) and the session is simulator. For now, we leave it as it is.
  • 11) Click on "Build" (top middle). The CD drive starts to rattle, many messages appear in the white box below, hopefully you get a "DONE".
  • 12) Click on Execute.
Two windows pop up, a small one called "MJ5" and a big one called GCS (ground control station).
Refer to the description of the Ground Station you have prepared (printed) in step 1.
  • 13) The 2D map shows an aircraft symbol and some named waypoints.
In the "strips" section, click on "Takeoff". This will highlight the "takeoff"-section in the flight plan.
  • 14) Click on the "launch" icon in the strips section. The aircraft symbol on the map will start to move. A green circle is drawn around the "STBY" waypoint and the aircraft flies along this circle until you tell it to do something else.
  • 15) Click on "Figure 8" or "Oval" or any other flight pattern and see the aircraft do as requested. Note the "carrot" which attracts the airplane. Watch the PFD, play with the settings.
If you decide to close the GCS, do not use the closer button but use "Stop/Remove All Processes" in the Paparazzi Center.

This is as far as I got with trial and error. The examples above are carefully selected. Trying anything else, like the other A/Cs, different flight plans, may result in errors. Closing and restarting the GCS may yield unpredictable results. These things should work better in the current version.


  • 10a) You experienced some sense of achievement? Ready for more? Go back to step 10. Select different airframes, flight plans, etc. Edit a flight plan,...
Probably you will encounter errors and other difficulties. When you found something interesting, feel free to update this instruction.
  • 10b) XMAS 2008 or newer: If you have managed to get Internet access (it is maybe a bit of fiddling around and depends upon your country and ISP, therefore it is not described here) try to get the simulator to operate on your favorite airfield.

In the Paparazzi Center, click on Edit Flightplan and choose "Text editor". Near the beginning of the file, there is a line like

<flight_plan alt="75" ground_alt="0" lat0="47.8234134" lon0="16.8859005" max_dist_from_home="1500" name="Basic" security_height="25">

Change the lat and lon to your destination (as I did in this example. When you take these coordinates, you see our airfield and a farm north-east, where I spend most of my weekends). Save the file (to RAM disk), clean and build the project and start the simulator. In the simulator, click on the globe symbol labeled "Google maps fill" and see your house appear on the screen. You can use the menu "Maps -> Google maps fill" or Ctrl-G instead.

  • Two remarks:
    • The syntax of the access to Google Maps has been changed, so it does no longer work with 3.2.
    • Google doesn't like it when other people exploit their data. When you get too many map tiles, they kick you out for the next 24 hours. When you manage to save the map permanently (e.g.memory stick), Paparazzi will only fetch the new tiles. So you can build up your map gradually.
  • 16) Enough played. We could just turn off the computer's power supply as there is nothing written to any disk, no harm done. Linux will not yet let you eject the CD because it is still in use. You might remove it on the next startup, or, better, decide to close Linux properly.
Ubuntu: From the main menu (top of the screen) select "System -> quit" and then "Shutdown".
Knoppix: To do this, click on the K-menu in the bottom left corner of the screen, select "Log Out" and then "Turn Off Computer". Knoppix will close all applications, shut down properly, eject the CD and ask for another "Return" before turning off your PC.

Using the Boot CD without a boot CD

  • Oops, I am out of blank CD's.
  • Yes I would like to play around but I need my PC for other things at the same time.
  • No, I don't want to print the documentation, I'll look at it when I need it.
  • Looks nice, I'd like to do some screenshots.

Can't I run the thing in a window under my usual operating system?

Yes, you can. If you have a somewhat modern computer, you can use an emulator like vmware or the free qemu. It is probably slow but you can jump to your usual work and back to Paparazzi at any time.

Example: Let's assume that you are running Windows and have unzipped qemu to c:\programs. The Paparazzi iso is on c:\download. In a DOS box, type (or copy&paste):

C:\programs\qemu-0.9.1-windows\qemu -cdrom c:\download\paparazzix_3.2_RC1.iso -L "C:\programs\qemu-0.9.1-windows" 

The -L parameter tells qemu where to find the simulated BIOS.


If you have already burned a CD, you can use it with qemu. The command is

C:\programs\qemu-0.9.1-windows\qemu -cdrom /dev/cdrom -L "C:\programs\qemu-0.9.1-windows" 
  • note the "/" instead of "\" in /dev/cdrom
  • In this example you don't need the quotes, but when your path contains something like "program files" (with a blank in it), you do need them.
  • Linux runs in a window, from now on everything works as described above.
  • When you click in this window, the mouse is confined to this window. Hit Ctrl-Alt to free it and move around on your desktop.
  • There's a lot more parameters. Saving a file permanently is not as easy as with the boot CD.

All this went smooth and simple? You like the look and feel? Linux is great, many people love it and never have any problems. At least they have fewer problems than with other operating systems.

But as stated in the Disclaimers, Linux can be quite a hassle, first-hand experience. People like myself try to help you by writing howto's like this one. Solutions have worked under certain circumstances, but since Linux is extremely customizable, a solution may not be applicable in your specific situation.

Good luck! martinpi