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Can I run ROS from a USB Drive?

asked 2016-11-05 23:45:24 -0600

icepaka89 gravatar image

Hey guys, I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to using Ubuntu and ROS. I have a computer that does not have a lot of storage on it (128 GB SSD), a virtual machine runs a bit too slow to simulate things in gazebo so i want to do a dual boot. However I want to know if there's a way to install ROS and Gazebo to a USB stick so I can make a smaller partition for Ubuntu. Does anyone know if this can be done? Thanks.


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answered 2016-11-06 00:05:15 -0600

ahendrix gravatar image

Most of ROS and gazebo install into /opt. While it's possible to mount /opt on a different disk, apt (the package manager) and other tools will assume that the disk is available every time you boot your computer, so using a removable drive is likely to cause unusual problems.

It's probably easier to install a second disk if your SSD is getting too small, or install Ubuntu and ROS together on the USB drive, so that everything stays on the same disk. (get a fast USB drive if you can; running your OS from a slow hard drive can really suck)

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In principle I agree with @ahendrix: doing what the OP suggests is certainly possible in Linux, but if you're just starting out, I'm not sure I'd recommend it. Getting mounting order, permissions and things like fstab correct is certainly doable, but will require some research. ..

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2016-11-06 03:32:44 -0600 )edit

.. If you do wish to go through with this, search Google for pages that explain how to move the /opt directory to a new partition (or how to mount/opt on another partition). Your USB drive would be the new partition in this case. If you mount just/opt/ros, you should even be able ..

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2016-11-06 03:34:34 -0600 )edit

.. to get away with not always having the USB drive inserted into your laptop (provided you don't have things like source /opt/ros/.. in your .bashrc, or check for the existence of files before executing commands). If doing this, I'd recommend just putting /opt/ros on the external drive.

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2016-11-06 03:36:24 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2016-11-05 23:45:24 -0600

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Last updated: Nov 06 '16