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What ROS distributions is ROS-Debian compatable with?

asked 2017-06-30 11:38:02 -0500

jogama gravatar image


What ROS distributions is ROS Debian compatible with, aside from ROS Debian? Is it compatible with ROS Kinetic, Lunar, or Ubuntu? I am trying to understand the compatibility between ROS installed from the Debian Stretch repositories and ROS Kinetic. More generally, I would like to understand what policy exists (or doesn't exist) for ROS-Debian systems working alongside ROS-Ubuntu or ROS-Kinetic systems.

Typing rosversion -dafter successfully running apt-get install ros-core simply gives me Debian, which does not clarify for me whether it would play nice with Kinetic.

Any clarification is much appreciated. Otherwise, I'll either build from ROS source or fix my MOOS-IvP tree.

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answered 2017-06-30 13:32:23 -0500

gvdhoorn gravatar image

updated 2017-07-04 04:32:09 -0500

Please see REP-003, specifically the sections for Kinetic and Lunar.

The ROS Kinetic and ROS Lunar installation pages also mention which Debian version they are compatible with.


I would like to understand what policy exists (or doesn't exist) for ROS-Debian systems working alongside ROS-Ubuntu or ROS-Kinetic systems.

I only now notice this sentence in your question. I think you are referring to the results of the efforts in Debian Science/Robotics, correct?

I don't know about any policy, but as far as I know the packages in the Debian repositories are not the same as those supplied by the OSRF for Debian. So the ROS versions mentioned in REP-003 are not those that are part of Debian proper (or at least: are not those present in the officical Debian repositories). It is also not recommended to install ROS packages from both the ROS Debian repositories and the OSRF repositories, as binary compatibility is not guaranteed.

Refer to wiki/UpstreamPackages (which is linked to from the Debian install pages on the ROS wiki) for more info on this.

Finally: compatibility between ROS node graphs running across multiple machines with some of these nodes coming from OSRF and others from the upstream Debian pkgs is also not guaranteed, but in practice could work. Exchanging messages and invoking services should work, provided that message and service definitions haven't changed. For most of the core this has been the case for quite some time, so I would expect upstream and OSRF provided ROS pkgs to be compatibility across msg/svc boundaries.

Edit 2:

Ok, so Stretch's repos point to Lunar; thanks

Re-reading your comments - and interpreting them in the context of my first edit: I don't think you can conclude that from REP-003. The only thing that REP documents is the set of supported OS for which packages are being built by the OSRF buildfarm. Those packages are not contributed upstream, and are only available from Those packages are usable on Debian Jessie (Kinetic) and Stretch (Lunar), but are not the same as those provided by upstream Debian.

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Ok, so Stretch's repos point to Lunar; thanks! So does this mean that Debian 9's repositories will switch over from Lunar to the subsequent ROS release when it comes? What confuses me is that Debian 9 will be supported until 2022, while Lunar until 2019.

jogama gravatar image jogama  ( 2017-06-30 15:11:36 -0500 )edit

That is not something I can answer. For the general policy regarding releases and supported platforms, see wiki/Distributions.

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2017-07-02 05:22:33 -0500 )edit

I see; I suppose this will be sorted out as ROS on Debian matures some more. In any case, I've built Kinetic from source and marked your answer as correct.

jogama gravatar image jogama  ( 2017-07-04 04:12:23 -0500 )edit

If you have ideas on how "ROS on Debian [could] mature[s]", then I'd invite you to post on to discuss this a bit.

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2017-07-04 04:14:44 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2017-06-30 11:38:02 -0500

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Last updated: Jul 04 '17