Installing on Ubuntu from source

Install from source requires that you download and compile the source code on your own. Starting in ROS Fuerte, installation is in two phases:

  1. Download and install the core ROS libraries and tools using CMake

  2. Download and build remaining ROS libraries/apps using rosmake

This is different from previous ROS distributions, so please take note.



Install bootstrap dependencies:

  • sudo apt-get install build-essential python-yaml cmake subversion wget python-setuptools mercurial git-core python-rosdep python-rospkg python-rosinstall

Install core library dependencies (aka, 'ROS Base'):

  • sudo apt-get install python-yaml libapr1-dev libaprutil1-dev libbz2-dev python-dev python-empy python-nose libgtest-dev python-paramiko libboost-all-dev liblog4cxx10-dev pkg-config

Install graphical library dependencies (if you plan on using ROS graphical tools, aka 'ROS Full'):

  • sudo apt-get install python-wxgtk2.8 python-gtk2 python-matplotlib libwxgtk2.8-dev python-imaging libqt4-dev graphviz qt4-qmake python-numpy ros-fuerte-swig-wx

TODO: ros-fuerte-swig-wx: Depending on your hardware, you may have to build from source if you wish to use the graphical tools in ROS. You will need to make sure you have 'automake' installed before attempting to run '' and the rest of the swig-wx build scripts.

sudo apt-get install bison++ automake
git clone
cd swig-wx
./ && ./configure && make && sudo make install


The following steps requires two separate installation steps and will compile ROS-related code into two separate places/layers:

  1. Download and install the underlying core ROS libraries and tools into /opt/ros/fuerte.

  2. Download and build some higher-level ROS libraries using rosmake in ~/ros.

The compiled code from (1) is installed into /opt/ros/fuerte. While it is possible to install elsewhere (e.g. /usr), this is not well tested and you will encounter various problems along the way (e.g. having to change rosinstall files, having to manually install system dependencies, etc...). Please see REP 122: Filesystem Hiearchy Layout for more detailed documentation on how the installed files are placed.

The compiled code from (2) is simply built using rosmake, which is familiar to users of previous versions of ROS. The higher-level ROS stacks are download and build in subdirectories inside the ~/ros directory.

First install rosinstall, rospkg and rosdep as described in their instructions:

If you have trouble using rosws/rosinstall, you can manually download the projects by investigating the respective rosinstall file.

Layer 1: Install core libraries

The following instructions will create a system install of the core ROS libraries and tools. The installation is done using standard CMake/make tools, so experts can adjust to their liking.

  • ROS-Full: ROS package, build, communication, tutorials and graphical tools.

    • rosinstall --catkin ~/ros-underlay

    ROS-Base: (Bare Bones) ROS package, build, and communication libraries.

    • rosinstall --catkin ~/ros-underlay

For people having trouble with rosinstall or catkin on their particular OS: If you have downloaded the source files in a different way, you need to run catkin_init_workspace ~/ros-underlay. This script is part of catkin, which should by now also at least be in your workspace, you can use the script without installing catkin. It should create a suitable global CMakeLists.txt to use in the next step.

If you do not want to use catkin, follow standard cmake procedure for building cmake packages, and install the packages in the dependency order by manually checking the package.xml declarations.

Build and install the underlay into /opt/ros/fuerte:

  • cd ~/ros-underlay
    mkdir build
    cd build

Now, run cmake. The invocation depends on the platform you are on:

  • Debian-based platforms (e.g. Ubuntu, Mint) use:
    cmake .. -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/ros/fuerte
    Other platforms use:

Finally, build + install the code:

  • make -j8
    sudo make install

Useful TIP: If you encounter problems with the make command due to "Unable to find 'swig.swg'" and "Unable to find 'python.swg'" errors then it probably due to the installation script having placed /swig at the toplevel/root directory.

To get around this problem do the following (and then restart make process as above)

cd /
sudo cp -r /swig /usr/local/share
cd ~/ros-underlay/build

Useful TIP: If you are having trouble with the make install command due to lib64 and lib problems, a work around is

cd /opt/ros/fuerte/
sudo mv lib/* lib64/
sudo rmdir lib
sudo ln -s lib64 lib

This makes the lib and the lib64 directory linked together and the make install command should work now.

Verify the installed environment:

  • . /opt/ros/fuerte/
    which roscore

You should see:

  • /opt/ros/fuerte/bin/roscore

You can delete ~/ros-underlay now, if you wish. The ROS core libraries are now installed onto your system.

Layer 2: Higher-level robotics libraries and tools

Now it's time to create the second layer, which contains your main robotics libraries (e.g. navigation) as well as visualization tools like rviz. You will build this layer using rosmake, but it is not installed.

There are many different libraries and tools in ROS. We provided four default configurations to get you started.

NOTE: The rosinstall installation files below assume that you've installed into /opt/ros/fuerte, so you will need to change them manually if you have a different install path.

  • Desktop-Full Install: (Recommended): ROS Full, rviz, robot-generic libraries, 2D/3D simulators, navigation and 2D/3D perception

    • rosinstall ~/ros ""

    Desktop Install: : ROS Full, rviz, and robot-generic libraries

    • rosinstall ~/ros ""

NOTE: the instructions above download all stacks inside the ~/ros folder. If you prefer a different location, simply change the ~/ros in the commands above.

Please reference REP 113 for description of other available configurations.

Environment Setup

Shell language:   Bash     Zsh    

You'll now need to update your environment. You can do this by typing:

source ~/ros/setup.bash

It's convenient if the ROS environment variables are automatically added to your bash session every time a new shell is launched, which you can do with the command below:

echo "source ~/ros/setup.bash" >> ~/.bashrc
. ~/.bashrc

You'll now need to update your environment. You can do this by typing:

source ~/ros/setup.zsh

It's convenient if the ROS environment variables are automatically added to your bash session every time a new shell is launched, which you can do with the command below:

echo "source ~/ros/setup.zsh" >> ~/.zshrc
. ~/.zshrc

Build Higher-level/tools (Layer 2)

First, initialize your rosdep. ROS Fuerte comes with rosdep 2. If you get a message that your default sources list exists, then don't worry as it means you've done this before.

  • sudo rosdep init
    rosdep update

Now, use rosdep 2 to install system dependencies. Many of the system dependencies will install into /opt/ros/fuerte and will not be usable if you have changed the installation prefix.

  • rosdep install -a

Useful TIP: to get rid of constant prompts of being sure with proceeding, you can use -y switch to tell the package manager to default 'Yes' while installing.

  • rosdep install -ay

Finally, build the ROS stacks using rosmake.

  • rosmake -a

Configure your Ubuntu repositories

Configure your Ubuntu repositories to allow "restricted," "universe," and "multiverse." You can follow the Ubuntu guide for instructions on doing this.

Setup your sources.list

Setup your computer to accept software from ROS Fuerte does not support Maverick, Natty, or Quantal.

  • Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid)

    • sudo sh -c 'echo "deb lucid main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ros-latest.list'

    Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric)

    • sudo sh -c 'echo "deb oneiric main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ros-latest.list'

    Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise)

    • sudo sh -c 'echo "deb precise main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ros-latest.list'

Set up your keys

  • wget -O - | sudo apt-key add -


Now, to test your installation, please proceed to the ROS Tutorials.

Wiki: fuerte/Installation/Ubuntu/Source (last edited 2013-02-26 15:58:32 by DanePowell)