NOTE: the X-Plane 9 final DVDs are mastered as ISO9660/Joliet and work correctly on Linux (Linux finds the Joliet final system). Since they do not have (or require) a UDF file system, the UDF warning is being phased out for X-Plane 9.

This note explains some of the problems Linux users can have trying to use X-Plane DVDs.

As a general guideline for all users, you should use a DVD that is labeled for the operating system you are using. Some DVDs work on multiple operating systems, but if a DVD is marked Windows-only, it may not work on Mac or Linux, etc.

With that in mind, the Linux situation is more complex because Linux can be configured to process the DVD in a number of ways.

A DVD will have one or more file systems defining the contents of the DVD. Typically the file systems will share the same data on the DVD – the file systems just provide ways for different computers to access the disk’s contents.

The four file systems you might encounter on an X-Plane DVD are:

  • ISO9660 (the old Windows format)
  • Joliet (like ISO but with long file names)
  • UDF (Universal Disk Format, a newer DVD format)
  • HFS (Hierarchial File System, the standard format for Macs)

Now here’s where things get complicated:

  • Any given DVD may have only some of these file systems; which they have will depend on who mastered the DVD and for which operating systems it was intended.
  • Normally ISO9660 doesn’t support long file names, deep directories, or a bunch of other things that X-Plane must have to function.
  • Some ISO9660 images are burned with long file names anyway.

With the DVD in the drive, type

mount -l

to view all mounted volumes and their file systems – you’ll see that the DVD is mounted as either UDF or ISO9660.

How Do You Know If You Have a Problem?

If when you look at your DVD in Linux (either via the shell and ls or via file browser window) all capitalization is the same (either all upper or all lower case), then the DVD is not mounted properly – it is mounted as ISO and the DVD doesn’t have long names in the ISO file system. In this configuration you will not be able to install and X-Plane will not enable itself based on this disk. (The fundamental problem is that the file names are all changed in the ISO partition.)

If you hit this situation, Linux Option 1 may work for you, but option 2 will not.

Regarding X-Plane 9

Check that all DVDs feature mixed-case filenames, especially disc 2.

If not, your Linux does not recognize the Joliet Filesystem extension. Disc 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 seem to have mixed case filenames even without the Joliet extension, but disc 2 does not work without Joliet.

If you’re missing the mixed case file names, then check your kernel configuration if you enabled CONFIG_JOLIET.

If you’re using a distro like Ubuntu or Redhat, it’s likely that this is already enabled (me think) but if you compile your own kernel, you could have missed that one.

Linux Option 1: Use UDF

DVDs intended for use with Linux should have the UDF file system; you can encourage Linux to use the disk as UDF and not ISO by editing the file /etc/fstab. Note that you’ll need sudo or root access to edit this file. With the disk not in the drive, edit the file; typically you’ll find a line like this

/dev/cdrom /media/cdrom0 iso9660,udf user,noauto 0 0

Linux will try to find file systems in the order they are listed; change the line like this (swap udf and iso9660) to prefer mounting as UDF.

/dev/cdrom /media/cdrom0 udf,iso9660 user,noauto 0 0

If your DVD has a UDF partition, insert the DVD and run

mount -l

to confirm that the disk is being used via UDF. At this point you should see case-sensitive file names on the DVD.

Linux Option 2: Use ISO

There are some X-Plane DVDs that are mastered with ISO9660 but not UDF, where the ISO partition has long file names. If you have a DVD like this, you may still use it. You will see the following symptoms:

  • File names are case sensitive.
  • mount -l shows the file system as iso9660.
  • The installer and sim complain that the disk is not UDF each time it is inserted.
  • The installer appears to work normally despite this warning.

In this case, don’t worry about it – use your DVD!

Note: Some distributions like Ubuntu automount dvd’s at places like /media/XPLANE9. If, after installation, the X-Plane program complains about not finding your DVD #1 at these locations and leaves you in demo mode, try remounting at /mnt/dvd.

do this as root:
mkdir /mnt/dvd
umount /media/XPLANE9
mount /dev/dvd /mnt/dvd

If you still cannot mount the DVDs

If you have tried both option 1 and option 2, and still cannot mount the DVDs, then there is a good chance that you have a hardware issue.

Symptoms of hardware problems

  • The X-Plane DVD cannot be mounted and all attempts to mount the DVD manually returns an error “No media found”.
  • The DVD can be mounted, but it is mounted incorrectly as iso9660. You appear to be able to read the contents of the DVD, but files are missing when you try to install (or copy) from the DVD.

In both cases, it is highly unlikely that the DVDs are defective.

Specific DVD players known to have problems

  • NEC ND-3550A (Firmware 1.05):
    The latest firmware for this drive is 1.07, but it is unknown if upgrading to the newer firmware will fix the problem.

Solutions

  • Use a different DVD player to do the install.
  • Install on another computer and copy the installed data across.
  • Install over a network.
  • Try changing the IDE cable for the DVD drive to an Ultra IDE cable if it’s not already.

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X-Plane

Landing this holiday season.