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What is the purpose of ROS_WORKSPACE

asked 2012-05-26 05:37:52 -0500

Hordur gravatar image

updated 2014-01-28 17:12:28 -0500

ngrennan gravatar image

I recently installed Fuerte and now when I run roscd without arguments it complains that ROS_WORKSPACE is not set. I haven't been able to find much information about this new environment variable. So far, I can only see that roscd uses it.

Is this just used by roscd or are there other tools that use it? And is it something that I need to set?

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answered 2012-07-04 23:44:59 -0500

KruseT gravatar image

updated 2012-07-04 23:45:52 -0500

ROS_WORKSPACE is set by the created by rosinstall or rosws. it points to the path in which the and the .rosinstall are located.

It is used by rosinstall / rosws, and also by roscd. No other tool uses it as far as I know.

If roscd without arguments complains that it is missing, then don't call roscd without arguments.

In electric and earlier, roscd without arguments would go to ROS_ROOT. However, starting with fuerte (and catkin), ROS_ROOT becomes less important (and should eventually go away), so we had the choice of making roscd without arguments do nothing, or do something useful sometimes.

If that were too confusing we could change roscd to not complain if no ROS_WORKSPACE is set and do nothing instead.

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answered 2012-05-26 09:09:58 -0500

Kat gravatar image

ROS_WORKSPACE is the path to the folder where you put all the packages you make yourself. Sometimes also for extra packages you want to install. You should check out the tutorials on

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The tutorial mentions it being used by roscd. There is no other program in /opt/ros/fuerte that uses it. But I saw that rosinstall adds it to the setup script it creates. Another tool that uses it is rosws, which comes with rosinstall.

Hordur gravatar image Hordur  ( 2012-05-26 14:56:20 -0500 )edit

@Hordur I believe it's only used by roscd. It's the default directory you switch to if you run roscd with no parameters.

mkoval gravatar image mkoval  ( 2012-05-26 19:57:30 -0500 )edit

answered 2012-06-06 10:29:54 -0500

sl0w gravatar image

I'm running in to the same issue. HOW do you set ROS_WORKSPACE?

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export ROS_WORKSPACE=what_you_need_it_to_be. But if you made your workspace with rosws you don't need to change it manually.

Kat gravatar image Kat  ( 2012-06-09 02:43:31 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2012-05-26 05:37:52 -0500

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Last updated: Jul 04 '12