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Choosing between rosbuild and catkin

asked 2013-06-02 08:29:53 -0500

asriraman93 gravatar image

updated 2014-01-28 17:16:44 -0500

ngrennan gravatar image

I am very interested in installing ROS and starting to work on some cool projects (probably starting of with Lego NXT stuff).

I am a little confused on which distribution I should go with; I wanted to make sure that even if I go with Groovy and learn the 'catkin' build system, I will be able to walk through all the tutorials (even the ones without a catkin-specific section). I also want to make sure that all the packages (for lego NXT for example) can easily be used with catkin as well.

I'm also open to hearing any other advice you guys might have on trying to pick this up from scratch!

*I'm planning on installing Ubuntu on a partition of a Macbook Pro


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answered 2013-06-02 14:20:02 -0500

joq gravatar image

updated 2013-07-03 13:32:54 -0500

For a new project I recommend starting out with Groovy. It supports more recent OS releases, and you'll be able to run it with Ubuntu Precise LTS for quite a long time.

Even though much of the Groovy base was converted to catkin, nothing keeps you from using rosbuild on top of that. Catkin is harder to learn than rosbuild, but worthwhile in the long run. The catkin documentation is getting better, and still evolving. Here is the current Groovy ctakin how-to doc. You might find it helpful.

If your dependencies have all been catkinized, use catkin yourself. If not, you'll need to stick with rosbuild until catkin versions are available. Many more packages are being converted for Hydro, something to consider when making that decision.

Also, there is a new catkin_simple package which promises to provide most of the simplicity of rosbuild in a form that is compatible with catkin workspaces. It is still experimental and not fully documented, but you are welcome to give it a try.

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Asked: 2013-06-02 08:29:53 -0500

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Last updated: Jul 03 '13