rostopic list - Displays a list of available topics, Topics are
like channels, through which messages flow.
rostopic echo /topic - Current values from the messages flowing
through this topic
rosparam list - shows variables / settings
rosmake node - Makes a node. A node is like a program, or
more accuratly, a programs folder. You only need to make it if it's not already
rosrun node nodename - Runs a node. The nodename is
the name of the binary. It's normally the same name as the node. E.g.
rosrun rviz rviz
roscd node - cd to the folder of the node. Note that you
don't have to be in the folder to run the binary... rosrun seems to know
where all the nodes are. In the folders, messages will be in the msg folder.
They will be in .msg files and the files contain the types of the data in
The Turtle Tutorial
Open a new terminal window (press Ctrl+Alt+T see Linux notes below) and type
roscore. The core should start and no prompt will be returned. Minimize
the window. On a real robot, this would be started automatically when the
Open another terminal window and type rosrun turtlesim turtlesim_node
you should see the TurtleSim screen with the turtle in the center. You can
minimize the terminal window, but leave the TurtleSim screen up.
Open another terminal window and type rosrun turtlesim turtle_teleop_key
This terminal window will pick up arrow key presses (when you have the
window selecte) and send them to the turtle. Make sure it's visable, but
you can re-size it to make it smaller.
Open another terminal window and type rostopic list you should see
the new turtle topics. For example, you can type rostopic echo
/turtle1/cmd_vel and then switch back to the turtle_teleop_key
window and press the arrow keys to see the changes in velocity of the turtle.
(Note: in Xbuntu, When you minimize a program, it goes to the TOP, not the
Open another terminal window and type:
sudo apt-get install ros-jade-rqt
sudo apt-get install ros--rqt-common-plugins
rosrun rqt_graph rqt_graph
This should creates a dynamic graph of what's going on in the system. If
you place your mouse over /turtle1/command_velocity it will highlight the
ROS nodes (in circles) and topics (on lines). As you can see, the turtlesim_node
and the turtle_teleop_key nodes are communicating on the topic named
rosrun rviz rvis - 3D Robot Visualizer
MoveIt! is state of the art software for mobile manipulation, incorporating
the latest advances in motion planning, manipulation, 3D perception, kinematics,
control and navigation. It provides an easy-to-use platform for developing
advanced robotics applications, evaluating new robot designs and building
integrated robotics products for industrial, commercial, R&D and other
SMACH is a state machine for high level behaviors.
Assuming you have a 64 bit processor running Windows, Macintosh, or Solaris:
Download and install VirtualBox from
Download Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS (Trusty Tahr) 64-bit PC (AMD64) desktop image
(this is 1GB or several hours on a good connection)
Create new VirtualBox VM with 20GB drive (can be dynamic) - for RAM I did
New, give it a name e.g. "Ubuntu" and select the OS type: Linux... the Version
should default to Ubuntu (64-Bit)
Change the memory to 4096 if you have 8GB, or half of your actual RAM.
Next, create a virtual hard dist now, use VDI, Next, Dynamically allocated,
Next, hit the little folder with the green upchuck to change the location
and change the size to 20GB.
Attach iso to storage of new VM (so it will boot from image)
Devices / Optical Drive / browse to the .iso file from above.
Boot VM and install Ubuntu (pick default options for installation questions).
Press the green start arrow. Ubuntu installer should start from the ISO image
in the fake CD drive and start going through the install. Standard stuff...
pick a name, set a password, language, etc...
The scary part is telling Ubuntu to format the hard drive and install. Don't
worry, that's the "fake" hard drive you make for the VM.
When it asks you to restart, you have to force remove the ISO image from
the Virtual CD drive, Devices / Optical Drive / Remove disk... Force... then
Machine / Reset. The restart hangs because it don't let go of the CD.
Reboot into Ubuntu and install VM guest additions
Click Devices / Insert Guest Additions CD Image, and Ubutu will ask you if
you want to run. You can't see the Run button because it's off the tiny screen,
but it's to the right of Cancel. Then you will have to enter the password
you chose and hit enter. That runs for a while, then waits for you to press
enter, which you can't see because it's off the bottom of the tiny screen.
Restart Ubutu with the gear in the upper right corner, Shutdown, Restart.
Now you can change the screen size with View / Virtual Screen 1
Some notes about Linux:
Ctrl + C to get out of stuff.
Hit Ctrl + Alt + T for a terminal window. If you see an instruction to enter
a command, like $ cd somefolder, the $ is the prompt and you don't enter
that. You get to the $ prompt by opening a terminal window.
On standard Ubuntu, there is a list of common programs on the left side of
the screen. Xbuntu does away with that. Under Xbuntu:
The main menu is in the upper right corner. It sort of looks like a dead
white animal on a blue background. You can get to a browser there.
When you minimize a program, it goes to the TOP, not the bottom.
From the VM window, Devices, Shared Clipboard, set to Bidirectional, allows
you to Ctrl + Shift + V paste, or Edit / Paste in the terminal window
Install Xubuntu $ sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop
Hit Ctrl + Alt + T for a terminal window.
sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop
and press enter. It will ask for your password again, and then ask for your
approval to use more disk space (why?) by enterying Y. It works for a LONG
time. Is xubunut really required for this?
Reboot again and install ROS Jade (now the fun really starts)
(P.S. Devices, Shared Clipboard, Bidirectional, allows you to Ctrl + Shift
+ V paste, or Edit / Paste in the terminal window)
Ctrl + Alt +T again for a terminal window. Just stay in it after this.
Enter (or paste)
sudo sh -c 'echo "deb http://packages.ros.org/ros/ubuntu $(lsb_release
-sc) main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ros-latest.list'
it will ask for your password again, but as long as you keep the same terminal
open, that's it.
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp://pool.sks-keyservers.net --recv-key
bunch of junk with imported: 1 at the end.
sudo apt-get update
That takes a while.
I'm assuming the FULL is what what want.
sudo apt-get install ros-jade-desktop-full
Confirm the extra space with Y. That takes a LONG time.
sudo rosdep init
echo "source /opt/ros/jade/setup.bash" >> ~/.bashrc
sudo apt-get install python-rosinstall
Y to continue. Takes a bit.
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