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Canonical built ROS packages?


I just noticed:

These packages from from Canonical it seems. Does anyone know anything about these and are they usable?


These are from Debian, see

As one can see important packages like navigation are missing.


DebianScience/Robotics/ROS (last modified 2016-03-24 12:13:03)

Looks rather old…


I am not sure, in Bionic, rosmaster is called python-rosmaster and it is labeled as version 1.13.5+ds1-2 which is newer than the proper ros-kinetic version 1.12.13.


Yeah, lots of missing packages I guess. When I noticed this I thought maybe OSRF was going to move all the packages over to Debian for building and distribution and Ubuntu would benefit.

However this will probably cause problems if you start mixing packages from Debian/Ubuntu and OSRF.


These packages are ports, maintained by the Debian Science team of which Jochen Sprickerhof (@jspricke) and Leopold Avellaneda (@lepalom) are members.

They are released by Debian, which then get imported by Ubuntu (as is also noted on the page you link to).

Yes, that will lead to problems. See wiki/UpstreamPackages.


The goal is to have a rolling release of the newest upstream version of the individual packages in Debian unstable and then have a real static release. First milestone was to include everything up to rviz, but I’m currently lacking time to add more packages. Also, we added some patches and chose different packages names and splittings to be in line with the Debian policy (spoiler: no need for a setup.bash :wink: ). Some of this could be automated into a debhelper extension which would be my next milestone at some point.
You can find a more up to date list of packages and version on my QA page:
And a video of the announcement:
Comments, bugs, help very welcome :).


Jochen: +1 for this effort, but I’m curious: what is your perspective on how to reconcile the (relatively) fast paced development of ROS and its packages with the tendency of Debian (and by extension, Ubuntu to some measure) to favour stable releases over tracking bleeding edge?

Packages released two weeks ago could already be significantly behind current development in some cases, and that would put any stable release into something like Debian at a disadvantage.

I’ve the impression that PPAs are typically used to bridge the gaps (at least in Ubuntu). Would that be a way to deal with this (perceived) mismatch here as well? Or would you say that workspaces and building packages from source (overlaying the upstream packages) should be enough?


The usual distinction is to use Debian stable if you want to stick to a released distribution, testing if you want to have a rolling release distribution with some safety net and unstable if you want bleeding edge. To get newer software on top of the stable version, there is as well.

For my private computers I use unstable, so I get all the benefits of the new version and see compatibility problems or broken updates really early.

At the beginning we had a PPA to test the lastest versions as well, but I don’t have an Ubuntu to test it… If someone want’s to help with it, that would be an easy task to get into packing.


I am sure a lot of work was put into this, my self I have spent enough time creating debian packages for a few source code projects that didn’t fit the mold exactly to know what it takes.

To make this useful enough to catch on I would say that we really need a lot more packages, especially robot side packages like navigation, and many of the sensors like common lidar packages and imu packages, even cameras and vision support, and catkin. I didn’t research everything there as this caught me by surprise that it showed up in Ubuntu.

Perhaps OSRF could take some of the changes you made to make the packages follow more Debian standards as a good thing to do in the first place.

One huge advantage would be the number of sites that would mirror these packages now that Debian and Ubuntu distributions picked this up.


I use it regularly to connect to my robots from home using rviz or to play a bag file. More packages would be awesome, ping me if you want to help with it :).

I started sending patches upstream, but it takes quite some discussion how to serve both needs.