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PC installation system Win11 for ROS?

asked 2022-10-18 02:58:58 -0600

Cassi.D gravatar image

Hi everyone!

Getting started with ROS and looking for the best possible strategy in terms of IT setup.

We have dedicated machines in the lab for the duration of the semester, but I wanted to also have the option to use ROS outside of the lab.

I have an older HP laptop, I recently updated to Windows 11, and it's been nothing but painfully slow and the battery won't last for more than 20 minutes. Being aware that ROS is recommended for Ubuntu / Linux, a fellow grad suggested Linux Subsystem or a virtual machine?

Is that a vital option, or would I be best off to part ways with Windows 11 and use the entire hard drive for Ubuntu and ROS? The laptop has nothing important on it, I’m barely using it, as my Mac-book is my daily computer.

Thank you for any expert insights. *cass~

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answered 2022-10-18 16:25:53 -0600

duck-development gravatar image

If you do not need the battery you may stick with old notebook and install full ubuntu as @gvdhoorn recommended. But you could use ros with you Mac book if you need more portability.

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I would not recommend anyone to use ROS on a Mac. Or at least not with macOS in the mix.

Neither ROS 1 nor ROS 2 (at the moment).

Edit: unless perhaps using Conda/Robostack. But even then.

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2022-10-19 04:36:01 -0600 )edit

Is Mac and Linux vm on top a good choice?

duck-development gravatar image duck-development  ( 2022-10-19 15:37:10 -0600 )edit

I would not recommend anyone to use a VM to run ROS, but if you have no other choice: sure, you could do that.

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2022-10-20 09:39:40 -0600 )edit

depend what you do, you could just use an Pi4 and take a powerbank and you have a poortable device.

duck-development gravatar image duck-development  ( 2022-10-20 17:09:56 -0600 )edit

Thank you for all the advice. Will be in the lab later today and give installing Ubuntu 22.04 and ROS 2 a try.

Running ROS 2 on my Mac is not so much an option, as I need my Macbook daily and don't want to risk running into troubles. Reason in the first place to not use a Windows Laptop, as it needs to be reliable.

Cassi.D gravatar image Cassi.D  ( 2022-10-20 17:34:48 -0600 )edit

Hi everyone, just a quick update on the install. Everything went moderately smooth and I now have ROS 2 and Ubuntu on my old laptop. Performance is sub-optimal, but it will be alrighty for now. for example the >colcon_build command on my laptop took almost 30s, while in the tutorial it showed 5s.


Cassi.D gravatar image Cassi.D  ( 2022-10-29 15:09:24 -0600 )edit

Building software is IO-bound in many cases (lots of small files to read, write, update).

If your laptop doesn't have an SSD, but still a regular HDD, replace the HDD with an SSD. It should help alleviate the IO bottleneck quite a bit.

It won't magically make your CPU or RAM or GPU any faster of course.

Note that this is not ROS-specific: all IO interactions (ie: everything needing to access files) will go faster.

Also make sure to install the correct drivers for any GPU that may be present (nvidia fi).

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2022-10-30 02:53:56 -0600 )edit

answered 2022-10-18 03:21:03 -0600

gvdhoorn gravatar image

updated 2022-10-18 03:21:55 -0600

would I be best off to part ways with Windows 11 and use the entire hard drive for Ubuntu and ROS? The laptop has nothing important on it, I’m barely using it, as my Mac-book is my daily computer.

if that's the case, then my answer would be: yes, install Ubuntu natively.

No guarantees it won't suffer from the same problem with your battery of course. That would depend on what the exact problem is (but that'd also be off-topic here).

But the user experience with ROS will be 100x better than with a VM. And WSL(2) is nice, but still not close to a native installation.

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Asked: 2022-10-18 02:58:58 -0600

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Last updated: Oct 18 '22