How to Install ROS on Windows 10 – Ubuntu bash [2018]

ROS (robotics operation system) is a famous open-source robotics framework for robotics developers. It’s not hard to see many cool applications out there running on ROS (such as self driving car, autonomous robots). Knowing ROS would unlock much potential on robotics practices.

Linux has been the official support for ROS. How do we use ROS if we have a Windows OS?

Option 1: Dual Boot Windows and Linux. If you have any windows version older than Windows 10, this is likely the only option you have.

Option 2: Utilize Ubuntu bash/Ubuntu App on Windows 10. As the title suggests, this article is to focus on this option.

Option 3: Use native ROS on Windows. They have been pushing this pretty hard, but I think (updated 06/01/2019). This choice was not quite there when I wrote this blog.

Back up

Exploration is great, but before we enter the “unknown”. It’s probably not less a great idea to have some safety option in case things may go wrong. I would suggest to create a restore point on your windows before installation. Personally, I only realized I should have done this prior but lucky for me, my pc did not crash after installation. But, I created a restore point anyways as it’s a fresh start. To know how to create a restore point. You can follow this article or this short one from Microsoft.

The real process

Install Ubuntu Bash/ Ubuntu Linux

Windows has already provided a great detail guide to follow in this process. So I wouldn’t attempt to make a better article than them. Here goes:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wsl/install-win10

I recommend to follow the steps there. You may attempt to go to Windows Store and download the app anyways, but there are a few other steps to successfully install Ubuntu which the article mentioned.

Which Ubuntu version?

At the moment of this blog, I recommend Ubuntu 16.04 to go with ROS Kinetic Fame version. 

Ubuntu 18.04 actually has been released, and it’s compatible with ROS Melodic Morenia. However, the news has it that some updating work is required to merge existing libraries and packages into the brand-new ROS version. So personally, for my usage, I wouldn’t be so hurry to rush into the new ROS.

After Ubuntu Installation

Make sure you update your Ubuntu by typing these commands on your terminal to get everything up-to-date

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Then, we can head over ROS installation, which can be followed by ROS official guide (once again, I won’t attempt to do any better job than them):

http://wiki.ros.org/kinetic/Installation/Ubuntu

But for completeness, here are the main command lines to run (all taken from the guide)

# Set up source and keys

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb http://packages.ros.org/ros/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ros-latest.list'

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp://ha.pool.sks-keyservers.net:80 --recv-key 421C365BD9FF1F717815A3895523BAEEB01FA116

# Installation

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install ros-kinetic-desktop-full # You can use other option than this

# After installation, run rosdep and update

sudo rosdep init

rosdep update

# Source ROS into bashrc file

echo "source /opt/ros/kinetic/setup.bash" >> ~/.bashrc

source ~/.bashrc

# Install neccessary python packages

sudo apt-get install python-rosinstall python-rosinstall-generator python-wstool build-essential

Then there you have it, a complete ROS installation on Subsystem Linux on Windows.

To start implementing ROS, I recommend the series of ROS tutorials on ROS website.

http://wiki.ros.org/ROS/Tutorials

 

 

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