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ROS on win32 laptop VM - is it possible?

asked 2017-01-24 08:37:16 -0600

tovas gravatar image

updated 2017-01-25 04:57:37 -0600

gvdhoorn gravatar image

Hi, I have a win32 3G-RAM laptop.

I installed VM for the sake of ROS.

  • Tried ubuntu 16.04, failed to install ROS on it. (unmet dependencies)
  • Tried ubuntu 14.04, it is impossibly slow.
  • Tried ubuntu 13.10, again, unmet dependencies that are not going to be installed.

I am new to ROS. Is it possible to run ROS on a not-so-strong laptop?

What is the best configuration?

Thanks Tova

Edit: I am not worried about performance because this is for just a short project. vs #q188732 answer #1 : The difference is with the step:

wget -O - | sudo apt-key add -

Is this step needed?


sudo apt-get install ros-indigo-desktop-full

Gives me a lot of "unmet dependencies that are not going to be installed." , on all my tries with different configurations.

Are these dependencies supposed to get met automatically?

I have a feeling that the dependencies failure has nothing to do with the performance of the machine. (Am I right?)

Thanks Tova

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Which ROS distribution were you trying to install? I'm asking because different ROS distros are supported on different Ubuntu distros ( )

spmaniato gravatar imagespmaniato ( 2017-01-24 10:52:05 -0600 )edit

On ubuntu 16.04 I tried kinetic. On 13.10 I tried both kinetic and indigo.

tovas gravatar imagetovas ( 2017-01-24 11:11:28 -0600 )edit

On 13.10 I tried both kinetic

Kinetic is only supported on 16.04 at the moment, so that would seem to be impossible?

gvdhoorn gravatar imagegvdhoorn ( 2017-01-24 14:45:42 -0600 )edit

2 Answers

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answered 2017-01-24 14:45:00 -0600

gvdhoorn gravatar image

updated 2017-01-25 02:55:45 -0600

Technically: yes, this is definitely possible. There aren't any special requirements other than that the VM runs a version of Linux that is supported by ROS (and perhaps you could say that somewhat decent 3D accelerated graphics support is also required, but that is only the case if you want to run any kind of visualisation tool, like RViz).

Practically though, for all intents and purposes, I'd venture that, no, on the hw you describe, I wouldn't want to be working with a VM with ROS. As you've already found out, it's just too slow to be of practical use, and you'll just get annoyed by the long waiting times.

You could see whether adding a (cheap) SSD to the laptop improves things (if it doesn't already have one), but even then it's not a recommended solution.

If you can, go for a native (dual-boot) installation.


The VM is not likely the issue. I do nearly all of my ROS development and testing on a 2GB 1 CPU core VM. The difference being I run a 64 bit guest on a 64 bit host.

Without more information on the specific hw the OP is using it's hard to say what the problem is, but running 64bit guests on 32bit hosts is definitely not going to help performance (I'm assuming you mean: 32bit host OS on a 64bit cpu).

And it's definitely possible to run ROS on a VM, but based on the many questions I've seen on this board concerning RViz, Gazebo and performance in general, I'd not recommend it.

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The VM is not likely the issue. I do nearly all of my ROS development and testing on a 2GB 1 CPU core VM. The difference being I run a 64 bit guest on a 64 bit host. It sounds like a few things may be happening with one of them being minimal hardware specs.

suforeman gravatar imagesuforeman ( 2017-01-24 20:36:12 -0600 )edit

I was indicating "being a virtual machine" is not an indictment. I run a 64bit guest on a 64bit host and performance and functionality is good. To be honest, I've never had an issue and didn't realize there was any bad history with ROS on a VM. The OP said 32bit host which is a limiting factor.

suforeman gravatar imagesuforeman ( 2017-01-25 04:12:03 -0600 )edit

For clarification, the term "host" refers to the OS running on the hardware and "guest" refers to the OS running in the virtual machine.

suforeman gravatar imagesuforeman ( 2017-01-25 04:15:24 -0600 )edit

answered 2017-01-24 16:36:01 -0600

duck-development gravatar image

To get RViz and Gazebo in a VM running you need a fast Maschine, with Opengl support. Dual boot is a better solution, key you have an old laptop.

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Asked: 2017-01-24 08:37:16 -0600

Seen: 220 times

Last updated: Jan 25 '17