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Found a workaround to the problem, but I think there is still some sort of bug in the actionlib_msgs dependencies.

Since my original command, part of the official Debian Indigo installation process, is this:

sudo ./src/catkin/bin/catkin_make_isolated --install -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release --install-space /opt/ros/indigo

The packages that were built successfully up to the point where actionlib_msgs fails, will make it into /opt/ros/indigo. If I source that workspace and try the same command again, then the build will work fine (63/63). Not sure why this is.

Found a workaround to the problem, but I think there is still some sort of bug in the actionlib_msgs dependencies.

Since my original command, part of the official Debian Indigo installation process, is this:

sudo ./src/catkin/bin/catkin_make_isolated --install -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release --install-space /opt/ros/indigo

The packages that were built successfully up to the point where actionlib_msgs fails, will make it into /opt/ros/indigo. If I source that workspace and try the same command again, then the build will work fine (63/63). Not sure why this is.

Update: turned out to be a permissions thing. This answer pointed me in the right direction: http://answers.ros.org/question/59178/catkin_make_isolated-fails-with-install-space-optrosgroovy/?answer=59180#post-id-59180