Packages in Debian and Ubuntu Upstream

Thanks to diligent effort from Jochen Sprickerhof and Leopold Avellaneda, there are now ROS packages available upstream in Debian unstable and Ubuntu Xenial that can be installed from the main Debian and Ubuntu repositories. Here’s a short overview from Jochen at ROSCon 2015:

Most of the packages up to desktop-full are available (overview of package status: The original ROS packages have been modified to follow Debian guidelines, which includes splitting packages into multiple pieces, changing names in some cases, installing to /usr according to FHS guidelines, and using soversions on shared libraries. For example, roslib is called python-roslib and roscpp is in the libroscpp-dev and libroscpp0d packages.

Unlike the OSRF-provided ROS packages from, the packages in the upstream repositories are not attached to a specific [Distributions|ROS distribution]. Rather, they represent a rolling release that will be updated periodically within Debian unstable and then periodically latched at various points into downstream Debian and Ubuntu distributions.

Don’t mix the streams

We strongly recommend against mixing ROS packages from upstream Debian/Ubuntu and from on the same system. In some cases such a mixed system will work correctly, but there can be negative interactions between the two sets of packages. We’re working with Jochen and friends to minimize the chance of problems via documentation and package conflict specifications, but we expect some risks to remain, including some fairly subtle issues.

As such, we recommend that you choose to either install packages from upstream or from, but not both. Not only should you not install packages from both at the same time, but if you intend to use the upstream packages (not from then you should not even have the entries in your apt sources (i.e. in any files in /etc/apt/sources*) as this can cause mixing of packages which overlap by name between the two sources, e.g. python-rospkg.

Known Differences

As compared to the ROS packages from, there are some differences in the upstream ROS packages that people should be aware of:

* rosdep does not resolve ROS packages as dependencies

  • When using a rosdistro tools like rosdep can resolve debian packages for your platform using the rosdistro. However in the upstream packaging environment without the rosdistro argument it will not be able to resolve the debian package name. This means that you can’t use rosdep to install the dependencies of your workspace that are ROS packages.

* The package set is incomplete

  • Unsurprisingly, not all packages are yet available upstream. Currently the packages of desktop-full are available and we anticipate that more will become available over time.

Wiki: UpstreamPackages (last edited 2016-05-05 21:44:33 by WilliamWoodall)