Each ROS distribution supports only a select number of platforms, and for all supported platforms, readily available Debian packages are available which can be easily installed using package managers such as APT. However, there often arise situations where you need to install and use a ROS distribution on a platform that is not supported for the distribution. This issue is a common occurrence when attempting to run specific ROS distributions on Single Board Computers (SBCs). The problem often arises due to the SBC’s published images being either too outdated or too recent to support the required ROS distribution. This article will describe how to install and run ROS distributions in such cases.
1. Running ROS2 Humble in a docker container on Ubuntu 20.04
- Easy Setup
- Isolated Environment
- Limited control
- Performance Overheads
2. Installing ROS2 Humble from source on Ubuntu 20.04
- More Control
- Better Performance
- Difficult to maintain
1. Running ROS2 Humble via a docker container on Ubuntu 20.04
Follow instructions given here to install docker - https://roboticsknowledgebase.com/wiki/tools/docker/
Running ROS2 Humble docker container
Running the command below will pull the latest ROS2 Humble Docker Image, start a container and attach a shell to it
docker run -it --name ros2_humble ros:humble bash
By running the following commands, you should see the talker saying that it’s publishing messages and the listener saying I heard those messages. This verifies both the C++ and Python APIs are working properly.
Run this command in the same terminal window as the above command.
ros2 run demo_nodes_cpp talker
Create a new terminal window and run the following commands in it -
docker exec -it ros2_humble bash
ros2 run demo_nodes_py listener
Creating a custom docker image using ROS2 Humble
We can also create a custom docker image from ROS2 Humble base image by adding the following snippet to the Dockerfile:
FROM ros:humble # Add your code here
After modifying the Dockerfile, run the command below to build the image from the Dockerfile
docker build -t my/ros:app .
Useful docker flags for running ROS in docker
docker run -it --rm \ --privileged \ --network host \ -v /tmp/.X11-unix:/tmp/.X11-unix \ -v $HOME/.Xauthority:/home/admin/.Xauthority:rw \ -e DISPLAY \ -e NVIDIA_VISIBLE_DEVICES=all \ -e NVIDIA_DRIVER_CAPABILITIES=all \ -v $ROS2_WS:/workspaces/ros_ws \ -v /dev/:/dev/ \ --name "ros2_humble" \ --runtime nvidia \ --user="admin" \ --workdir /workspaces/ros2_ws \ ros:humble \ /bin/bash
--privilegedflag gives the container full access to the host system’s devices and capabilities including all devices on host, USB devices, cameras, etc.
- The following flags are related to running graphical applications inside a Docker container and they are used to allow the container to connect to the host system’s X server, which is responsible for displaying graphical user interfaces.
-v /tmp/.X11-unix:/tmp/.X11-unix \ -v $HOME/.Xauthority:/home/admin/.Xauthority:rw \ -e DISPLAY \
- The following flags are required to enable the container to use the Nvidia GPUs for computation tasks.
-e NVIDIA_VISIBLE_DEVICES=all \ -e NVIDIA_DRIVER_CAPABILITIES=all \
-v /dev/:/dev/helps the container access hardware devices, such as USB devices, cameras, or serial ports.
-v $ROS2_WS:/workspaces/ros_wshelps mount ROS2 workspace on to the container
--runtime nvidiais used to enable Nvidia container runtime which gives the container access to Nvidia runtime components and libraries
2. Installing ROS2 Humble from source on Ubuntu 20.04
```sh locale # check for UTF-8
sudo apt update && sudo apt install locales sudo locale-gen en_US en_US.UTF-8 sudo update-locale LC_ALL=en_US.UTF-8 LANG=en_US.UTF-8 export LANG=en_US.UTF-8
locale # verify settings
#### Add the ROS 2 APT repository ```sh sudo apt install software-properties-common sudo add-apt-repository universe sudo apt update && sudo apt install curl -y sudo curl -sSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ros/rosdistro/master/ros.key -o /usr/share/keyrings/ros-archive-keyring.gpg echo "deb [arch=$(dpkg --print-architecture) signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/ros-archive-keyring.gpg] http://packages.ros.org/ros2/ubuntu $(. /etc/os-release && echo $UBUNTU_CODENAME) main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ros2.list > /dev/null
Install development tools and ROS tools
sudo apt update && sudo apt install -y \ python3-flake8-docstrings \ python3-pip \ python3-pytest-cov \ ros-dev-tools
python3 -m pip install -U \ flake8-blind-except \ flake8-builtins \ flake8-class-newline \ flake8-comprehensions \ flake8-deprecated \ flake8-import-order \ flake8-quotes \ "pytest>=5.3" \ pytest-repeat \ pytest-rerunfailures
Create a workspace and clone all repos
mkdir -p ~/ros2_humble/src cd ~/ros2_humble vcs import --input https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ros2/ros2/humble/ros2.repos src
Install dependencies using rosdep
sudo apt upgrade sudo rosdep init rosdep update rosdep install --from-paths src --ignore-src -y --skip-keys "fastcdr rti-connext-dds-6.0.1 urdfdom_headers"
Build the code in the workspace
cd ~/ros2_humble/ colcon build --symlink-install
Set up your environment by sourcing the following file
By running the following commands in separate terminals, you should see the talker saying that it’s Publishing messages and the listener saying I heard those messages. This verifies both the C++ and Python APIs are working properly.
. ~/ros2_humble/install/local_setup.bash ros2 run demo_nodes_cpp talker
. ~/ros2_humble/install/local_setup.bash ros2 run demo_nodes_py listener
In this article, we discussed how to run a ROS distribution on an unsupported OS. Specifically we looked at the process of running ROS2 Humble on Ubuntu 20.04. However, the methods presented in the article can be easily adapted to accommodate other scenarios.