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Francisco Suárez-Ruiz

I'm from Bogotá, Colombia. Currently in Singapore. Passionate about robotics, technology and football.

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Last update: August 1st, 2017

These instructions are for setting up your robotics workstation in Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial).

After this, you will have installed the following tools:

For the official documentation, please refer to the website of the corresponding tool.

ROS Kinetic

For up-to-date instructions to install ROS Kinetic, please refer to:

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb $(lsb_release -sc) main"      \
> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ros-latest.list'
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp:// --recv-key 0xB01FA116
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ros-kinetic-ros-base

Initialize rosdep

Before you can use ROS, you will need to initialize rosdep. rosdep enables you to easily install system dependencies for source you want to compile and is required to run some core components in ROS.

sudo rosdep init
rosdep update

Create a ROS Workspace

Let’s create a catkin workspace:

source /opt/ros/kinetic/setup.bash
mkdir -p ~/catkin_ws/src
cd ~/catkin_ws/src

Even though the workspace is empty (there are no packages in the src folder, just a single CMakeLists.txt link) you can still build the workspace:

cd ~/catkin_ws/

Before continuing, source your new setup.bash file:

source ~/catkin_ws/devel/setup.bash

To make sure your workspace is properly overlayed by the setup script, make sure ROS_PACKAGE_PATH environment variable includes the directory you’re in:


This is the expected output: /home/username/catkin_ws/src:/opt/ros/kinetic/share:/opt/ros/kinetic/stacks


At this point OpenRAVE has a considerable number of dependencies that have to be installed manually. For the sake of simplicity, this instructions will show you how to get working OpenRAVE 0.9.0 with enought features.


You need to install the following programs:

sudo apt-get install build-essential cmake doxygen g++ git ipython octave python-dev  \
python-h5py python-numpy python-pip python-scipy python-sympy qt5-default minizip

Next, you will need to install the following libraries, which are available from the Ubuntu package repositories:

sudo apt-get install ann-tools cmake libann-dev libassimp-dev libavcodec-dev          \
libavformat-dev libboost-python-dev libboost-all-dev libccd-dev                       \
libcollada-dom2.4-dp-dev libeigen3-dev libflann-dev liblapack-dev liblog4cxx-dev      \
libminizip-dev liboctave-dev libode-dev libpcre3-dev libqhull-dev libsoqt-dev-common  \
libsoqt4-dev libswscale-dev libtinyxml-dev libxml2-dev octomap-tools


The version available at the Ubuntu repositories is 3.2, but OpenRAVE requires 3.4, so we have to build it from source:

cd ~/git
git clone --branch OpenSceneGraph-3.4
cd OpenSceneGraph
mkdir build; cd build
make -j `nproc`
sudo make install

FCL - The Flexible Collision Library

Build and install fcl version 0.5.0:

cd ~/git
git clone
cd fcl; git checkout 0.5.0
mkdir build; cd build
cmake ..
make -j `nproc`
sudo make install

sympy Version

Downgrade sympy so that IKFast works properly:

pip install --upgrade --user sympy==0.7.1

Build and Install

Now you can build and install OpenRAVE (Tested with commit 9350ebc):

cd ~/git
git clone --branch master
cd openrave; git reset --hard 9350ebc
mkdir build; cd build
cmake -DODE_USE_MULTITHREAD=ON -DOSG_DIR=/usr/local/lib64/ ..
make -j `nproc`
sudo make install

Testing the Installation

You can check that your installation works by running one of the default examples: --example graspplanning

It should start the graspplanning example:

OpenRAVE example

You may see some messages printed in yellow on your terminal but they are just warnings that won’t prevent your installation from working.