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Which Linux distribution?

asked 2016-11-15 00:56:05 -0500

chrisalbertson gravatar image

I want to set up ROS on a Raspberry Pi 3 and I want to do it in a way that others with perhaps less experience with Linux can replicate. So I found some instructions to put ROS on Ubuntu MATE. But I ended up with a full blown desktop OS complete with X11, an Office suite and web browser. It works fine but there is an order of magnitude to much stuff on the SD card. Yes I know how to remove packages but I'd have to document this

This Pi3 will be physically mounted inside the robot and I doubt anyone will connect a monitor and keyboard and want to run rviz on the robot. But I will ssh in and build packages and do normal debugging

My question is: What is the most appropriate Linux distribution to start with if the goal is a headless embedded Pi3 based ROS/Linux system?

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answered 2016-11-15 01:56:45 -0500

tfoote gravatar image

I don't think that you really want a different distro. The main development platform for ROS is Ubuntu and also well supported is Debian. There are lots of variations on a theme for derivatives, but what you really want are alternative installers that have a smaller default set of packages instead of a different distribution

As a first pass you can use the Ubuntu Server installers for an install optimized for headless operations. And if you want more control you can use the network installer. See

And of course since it's linux you can do way more such as create your own custom image to install. or here:

Or use the Debian variant:

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answered 2016-11-15 07:17:52 -0500

I am using Raspberry Pi 3 and I have experience of installing NOOBS and ROS Kinetic & Indigo Debian Package. They are OK but not good. Also, it fails multiple times and it takes a whole day to install. Luckily, I got a chance to attend ROSCON 2016 and in there I met one guy who used Raspberry Pi 2. He told me that I should use Ubuntu mate 16.06 and in it I should use ROS-Kinetic. I did and it works better. So, I would suggest you to not to install any operating system from NOOBS. Just install Ubuntu mate 16.06 and after installing it, install ROS Kinetic.

I have used my Raspberry Pi 3 system to run Pioneer 3Dx robot and I have written down its whole detail here. So, I am quite confident.

Write me if you need further assistance. All the best.

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Asked: 2016-11-15 00:56:05 -0500

Seen: 3,775 times

Last updated: Nov 15 '16