See Also:

  1. ROS/Installation

  2. Distributions (this page)

  3. Installation

What is a Distribution?

A ROS distribution is a versioned set of ROS packages. These are akin to Linux distributions (e.g. Ubuntu). The purpose of the ROS distributions is to let developers work against a relatively stable codebase until they are ready to roll everything forward. Therefore once a distribution is released, we try to limit changes to bug fixes and non-breaking improvements for the core packages (every thing under ros-desktop-full). And generally that applies to the whole community, but for "higher" level packages, the rules are less strict, and so it falls to the maintainers of a given package to avoid breaking changes.

We capture the components that make up a distribution in our rosdistro format and it allows for multiple distributions. There are many different types of robots with different needs, and we anticipate that parts of the community may put together their own distributions in the future to better target these platforms.

List of Distributions


Release date


Tuturtle, turtle in tutorial

EOL date

ROS Noetic Ninjemys

May 23rd, 2020

Noetic Ninjemys

May, 2025
(Focal EOL)

ROS Melodic Morenia

May 23rd, 2018

Melodic Morenia

Melodic Morenia

June 27, 2023
(Bionic EOL)

ROS Lunar Loggerhead

May 23rd, 2017

Lunar Loggerhead

Lunar Loggerhead

May, 2019

ROS Kinetic Kame

May 23rd, 2016

Kinetic Kame

Kinetic Kame

April, 2021
(Xenial EOL)

ROS Jade Turtle

May 23rd, 2015

Jade Turtle

Jade Turtle

May, 2017

ROS Indigo Igloo

July 22nd, 2014



April, 2019
(Trusty EOL)

ROS Hydro Medusa

September 4th, 2013



May, 2015

ROS Groovy Galapagos

December 31, 2012



July, 2014

ROS Fuerte Turtle

April 23, 2012




ROS Electric Emys

August 30, 2011




ROS Diamondback

March 2, 2011




ROS C Turtle

August 2, 2010




ROS Box Turtle

March 2, 2010





  • light yellow: future release
  • green: supported release
  • grey: unsupported release (End of Life)

Distribution Details

The details on the distributions and versions of common dependencies and other considerations, see the official Target Platforms REP:

Release Schedule

Release rules

  • ROS release timing is based on need and available resources
  • All future ROS 1 releases are LTS, supported for five years
  • ROS releases will drop support for EOL Ubuntu distributions, even if the ROS release is still supported.

Side effects of the release policy:

  • Every ROS release will be supported on exactly one Ubuntu LTS.
  • LTS releases will not share a common Ubuntu release with any previous releases.
  • ROS releases will not add support for new Ubuntu distributions after their release date.

These simplified rules and side effects are subject to change with changes to the underlying Ubuntu release policy.

For more details see the official Release Policy.

Upcoming releases

Noeitc Ninjemys is the final release of ROS 1 by Open Robotics. Future ROS releases will all be based on ROS 2, and are described on the Releases page.

Which distribution to use

A rather arbitrary list of usecase driven recommendations. Updated on May 2020.

New Capability

Major Update Frequency

Recommended distro

Preferred but not required

Not preferred

Previous LTS (Melodic)

Much preferred


Latest (Noetic)

Much preferred

Not preferred

Switch to the latest LTS every 2 year

Specific platform is required

See REP-3 for supported platform

Newer Gazebo is needed

Use Noetic for Gazebo 11

I want to use OpenCV3

Kinetic, Melodic or Noetic

I want to use OpenCV4


Wiki: Distributions (last edited 2023-06-27 13:33:52 by ChrisLalancette)