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VxWorks® 7 ROS 2 Build

vxworks ros2 build workflow

VxWorks SDK and ROS 2 support

Wind River provides VxWorks ROS 2 build for selected SDKs and ROS 2 releases, see the following table for more details. The latest ROS 2 release is iron and the latest VxWorks SDK is 24.03.

24.03 SDK 23.09 SDK 23.09 SDK
humble QEMU x86_64 QEMU x86_64 Raspberry Pi 4
iron QEMU x86_64 Raspberry Pi 4
rolling QEMU x86_64 Raspberry Pi 4

Prebuilt image

The VxWorks ROS 2 humble, iron, and rolling images are prebuilt and can be tested by downloading them from here.


The VxWorks 7 ROS 2 Build project provides a build environment to automate building ROS 2 with a VxWorks SDK.

The Robot Operating System 2 is a set of software libraries and tools that aid in building robot applications. ROS 2 is a re-architecture of the framework to include support for new use cases.

These new use cases include:

  • Teams of multiple robots
  • Small embedded platforms
  • Real-time systems
  • Non-ideal networks
  • Production environment
  • Design patterns for building and structuring systems

The default configuration build configuration will build a minimal set of ROS 2 packages are necessary for running the Turtlebot 3 and example Python and C++ applications.

This configuration is suited for prototyping and personal use. Please refer to the details of each ROS 2 package for details on what requirements and terms of use they may have.

NOTE: ROS 2 is not part of any VxWorks® product. If you need help, use the resources available or contact your Wind River sales representative to arrange for consulting services.

Project License

The source code for this project is provided under the Apache 2.0 license. Text for the ROS 2 dependencies and other applicable license notices can be found in the LICENSE file in the project top level directory. Different files may be under different licenses. Each source file should include a license notice that designates the licensing terms for the respective file.

NOTE: Your use of the VxWorks SDK is subject to the non-commercial use license agreement that accompanies the software (the "License"). To review the License, please read the file NCLA.txt which can be viewed from a browser here: Non-Commercial License Agreement.

By downloading, installing or using the software, you acknowledge that you have read, understand, and are agreeing to the terms of the License. Subject to the License, you can proceed to download the VxWorks SDK.


  • Download a VxWorks Software Development Kit from Wind River Labs

  • The build system will need to download source code from and A working Internet connection with access to both sites is required.

For the standard build, you must also have:


The following branches are active

  • master - builds ROS2 humble, iron, and rolling against VxWorks 24.03 SDK depending on what VxWorks SDK and what Docker image are used

Directory Structure

The project uses Makefile to invoke a ros2 and turtlebot3 colcon-based build and also builds some dependencies.

├── pkg
│   ├── asio        - Fast-RTPS dependency
│   ├── colcon      - build dependency
│   ├── eigen       - Eigen library
│   ├── netifaces   - ROS 2 dependency   
│   ├── python      - Python build
│   ├── pyyaml      - ROS 2 dependency
│   ├── ros2        - ROS 2 middleware
│   ├── sdk         - various SDK improvements necessary to build ROS 2
│   ├── tinyxml2    - Fast-RTPS dependency
│   ├── turtlebot3  - Turtlebot3 packages
│   └── unixextra   - extra Unix functions necessary to build ROS 2

After the build following artifacts will be created under the output directory:

├── build
│   ├── asio        - pkg build artifacts
│   ├── eigen
│   ├── pyyaml
│   ├── ros2
│   │   ├── patches
│   │   └── ros2_ws - ROS 2 workspace
│   ├── tinyxml2
│   └── unixextra
├── downloads
└── export
    ├── deploy      - a ready-to-deploy filesystem with ROS 2 libraries and binaries
    └── root        - development artifacts with ROS 2 libraries and headers

ROS 2 VxWorks patches

Patches are necessary to build ROS 2 for VxWorks and are located in the separate layer repository The repository is cloned during the build to the patches dir.

├── build
│   ├── ros2
│   │   ├── patches

A corresponding branch is selected automatically based on the VxWorks and ROS 2 releases.

Build ROS 2 and its dependencies

Clone this repository using the master branch

git clone
cd vxworks7-ros2-build

Build Docker image

A Docker (Ubuntu 22.04) based build is recommended to avoid the necessity of installing build dependencies.

docker build --no-cache -t vxbuild:22.04 Docker/22.04/vxbuild/.
docker build --no-cache -t vxros2build:humble Docker/22.04/vxros2build/.

docker build --no-cache --build-arg ROS_DISTRO=iron -t vxros2build:iron Docker/22.04/vxros2build/.
docker build --no-cache --build-arg ROS_DISTRO=rolling -t vxros2build:rolling Docker/22.04/vxros2build/.

Download and extract the VxWorks SDK

The 24.03 SDK for IA - QEMU x86_64 shall be used from

cd ~/Downloads 
mkdir ~/Downloads/wrsdk && cd ~/Downloads/wrsdk
tar -jxvf ~/Downloads/wrsdk-vxworks7-qemu-1.14.tar.bz2 --strip 1

The 24.03 SDK for Raspberry Pi 4 shall be used from

cd ~/Downloads 
mkdir ~/Downloads/wrsdk && cd ~/Downloads/wrsdk
tar -jxvf ~/Downloads//wrsdk-vxworks7-raspberrypi4b-1.6.tar.bz2 --strip 1

Run Docker image

cd vxworks7-ros2-build
docker run -ti -h vxros2 -v ~/Downloads/wrsdk:/wrsdk -v $PWD:/work vxros2build:humble

By default it runs as a user wruser with uid=1000(wruser) gid=1000(wruser), if you have different ids, run it as

$ docker run -ti -h vxros2 -e UID=`id -u` -e GID=`id -g` -v ~/Downloads/wrsdk:/wrsdk -v $PWD:/work vxros2build:humble

See Dockerfile for the complete list of environment variables

Start build

Inside the Docker container: check the ROS_DISTRO version, source the development environment, and start build

wruser@vxros2:/work source /wrsdk/

# check environment
wruser@vxros2:/work$ make info
DEFAULT_BUILD:      sdk unixextra asio tinyxml2 eigen libxml2 libxslt ros2 pyyaml netifaces lxml
WIND RELEASE:       24.03
ROS DISTRO:         humble
TARGET ARCH:        x86_64
TARGET PYTHON:      Python3.9
HOST PYTHON:        /wrsdk/vxsdk/host/x86_64-linux/bin/python3
CMAKE:              /wrsdk/vxsdk/host/x86_64-linux/bin/cmake
CURDIR:             /work
DOWNLOADS_DIR:      /work/output/downloads
PACKAGE_DIR:        /work/pkg
BUILD_DIR:          /work/output/build
EXPORT_DIR:         /work/output/export
ROOT_DIR:           /work/output/export/root
DEPLOY_DIR:         /work/output/export/deploy
WIND_CC_SYSROOT:    /wrsdk/vxsdk/sysroot
3PP_DEPLOY_DIR:     /wrsdk/vxsdk/sysroot/usr/3pp/deploy
3PP_DEVELOP_DIR:    /wrsdk/vxsdk/sysroot/usr/3pp/develop

wruser@vxros2:/work make
wruser@vxros2:/work exit

Build artifacts are in the export directory

wruser@vxros2:/work ls output/export/deploy/
bin  lib  share  vxscript

Rebuild from scratch

wruser@vxros2:/work make distclean
wruser@vxros2:/work make
wruser@vxros2:/work exit

It could be that the build fails if it runs behind the firewall, see #22. In this case, rerun it without a certificate check as

wruser@vxros2:/work WGET_OPT="--no-check-certificate -O" CURL="" make

Run ROS 2 examples

QEMU is used to boot VxWorks and run Python and C++ ROS 2 examples, for that tap0 interface shall be configured.

sudo apt-get install uml-utilities
sudo tunctl -u $USER -t tap0
sudo ifconfig tap0 up

The VxWorks ROS 2 build is tested with

$ sudo apt-get install qemu-system
$ qemu-system-x86_64 --version
QEMU emulator version 6.2.0 (Debian 1:6.2+dfsg-2ubuntu6.2)
Copyright (c) 2003-2021 Fabrice Bellard and the QEMU Project developers

A filesystem with ROS 2 artifacts needs to be prepared to boot with VxWorks.

Create an HDD image

Run x86_64 QEMU with a prebuilt VxWorks kernel and a created HDD image.

# create a disk 2048MB
$ dd if=/dev/zero of=./output/ros2.img count=2048 bs=1M
# format it as a FAT32
$ mkfs.vfat -F 32 ./output/ros2.img

# mount, copy, unmount, you need to be `sudo`
$ mkdir -p ~/tmp/mount
$ sudo mount -o loop -t vfat ./output/ros2.img ~/tmp/mount
$ sudo cp -r -L ./output/export/deploy/* ~/tmp/mount/.
$ sudo umount ~/tmp/mount
sudo qemu-system-x86_64 -m 2G -kernel ~/Downloads/wrsdk/vxsdk/bsps/*/vxWorks \
-net nic -net tap,ifname=tap0,script=no,downscript=no -display none -serial mon:stdio \
-append "bootline:fs(0,0)host:/vxWorks h= e= g= u=ftp pw=ftp123 o=gei0 s=/ata4/vxscript" \
-device ich9-ahci,id=ahci -drive file=./output/ros2.img,if=none,id=ros2disk,format=raw -device ide-hd,drive=ros2disk,bus=ahci.0

The HDD image will be mounted inside VxWorks under the /usr directory

-> ls "/usr"

Telnet to the VxWorks QEMU target


Raspberry Pi 4

Follow README to deploy VxWorks on the SDCard. Copy the content of the deploy directory to the '/usr' directory of the SDCard

$ sudo cp -r -L ./output/export/deploy/* /usr/.

Run ROS 2 C++ examples

It is possible to run examples by directly invoking binaries

-> cmd
[vxWorks *]# /usr/lib/examples_rclcpp_minimal_timer/timer_lambda
Launching process 'timer_lambda' ...
Process 'timer_lambda' (process Id = 0xffff80000046f070) launched.
[INFO] [minimal_timer]: Hello, world!
[INFO] [minimal_timer]: Hello, world!

Or by using the ros2cli interface

-> cmd
[vxWorks *]# python3 ros2 run examples_rclcpp_minimal_timer timer_lambda
Launching process 'python3' ...
Process 'python3' (process Id = 0xffff800008268ac0) launched.
[INFO] [minimal_timer]: Hello, world!
[INFO] [minimal_timer]: Hello, world!

Run ROS 2 Python examples

It is possible to run examples by directly invoking Python scripts. First, figure out the full path.

[vxWorks *]# python3 ros2 pkg executables --full-path demo_nodes_py
 Launching process 'python3' ...
 Process 'python3' (process Id = 0xffff80000046f070) launched.

Then invoke the Python interpreter and pass the script as a parameter

[vxWorks *]# python3 /usr/lib/demo_nodes_py/talker
[INFO] [talker]: Publishing: "Hello World: 0"
[INFO] [talker]: Publishing: "Hello World: 1"

Or by using the ros2cli interface

[vxWorks *]# python3 ros2 run demo_nodes_py talker
Launching process 'python3' ...
Process 'python3' (process Id = 0xffff800008269c00) launched.

[INFO] [talker]: Publishing: "Hello World: 0"
[INFO] [talker]: Publishing: "Hello World: 1"

Run dummy_robot, see this tutorial for more details

On the VxWorks side

[vxWorks *]# python3 ros2 launch dummy_robot_bringup
Launching process 'python3' ...

Start RViz on your Linux machine to see a robot arm moving, or run

~/ros2_native_ws$ ros2 topic list

Build a simple CMake-based OSS project

$ cd vxworks7-ros2-build
$ docker run -ti -h vxros2 -v ~/Downloads/wrsdk:/wrsdk -v $PWD:/work vxros2build:humble
wruser@vxros2:/work$ source /wrsdk/

wruser@vxros2:/work$ git clone
wruser@vxros2:/work$ cd cmake-examples/01-basic/A-hello-cmake; mkdir vxworks-build; cd vxworks-build
wruser@vxros2:/work/cmake-examples/01-basic/A-hello-cmake/vxworks-build$ cmake .. -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=/work/buildspecs/cmake/toolchain.cmake
-- The C compiler identification is Clang 9.0.1
-- The CXX compiler identification is Clang 9.0.1
-- Check for working C compiler: /wrsdk/toolkit/host_tools/x86_64-linux/bin/wr-cc
-- Check for working C compiler: /wrsdk/toolkit/host_tools/x86_64-linux/bin/wr-cc -- works
-- Detecting C compiler ABI info
-- Detecting C compiler ABI info - done
-- Detecting C compile features
-- Detecting C compile features - done
-- Check for working CXX compiler: /wrsdk/toolkit/host_tools/x86_64-linux/bin/wr-c++
-- Check for working CXX compiler: /wrsdk/toolkit/host_tools/x86_64-linux/bin/wr-c++ -- works
-- Detecting CXX compiler ABI info
-- Detecting CXX compiler ABI info - done
-- Detecting CXX compile features
-- Detecting CXX compile features - done
-- Configuring done
-- Generating done
-- Build files have been written to: /work/cmake-examples/01-basic/A-hello-cmake/vxworks-build

wruser@vxros2:/work/cmake-examples/01-basic/A-hello-cmake/vxworks-build$ make
Scanning dependencies of target hello_cmake
[ 50%] Building CXX object CMakeFiles/hello_cmake.dir/main.cpp.o
[100%] Linking CXX executable hello_cmake
[100%] Built target hello_cmake

Native ROS 2 compilation

Native ROS 2 is used mostly for fast prototyping during ROS 2 development. Use the same docker image for that.

$ cd vxworks7-ros2-build
$ docker run -ti -h ros2native -v $PWD:/work vxros2build:humble
wruser@ros2native:/work$ mkdir -p ros2_native/src && cd ros2_native
wruser@ros2native:/work/ros2_native$ vcs import src < /work/output/build/ros2/ros2_ws/ros2.repos
wruser@ros2native:/work/ros2_native$ colcon build --merge-install --cmake-force-configure --packages-up-to-regex \
   examples_rclcpp_minimal_timer \
   examples_rclcpp_minimal_client \
   examples_rclcpp_minimal_service \
   examples_rclcpp_minimal_publisher \
   examples_rclpy_* \
   demo_nodes_cpp \
   demo_nodes_py \
   dummy_robot \
   ros2action ros2cli ros2component ros2doctor \
   ros2interface ros2lifecycle ros2multicast ros2node ros2param ros2pkg \
   ros2run ros2service ros2topic sros2 \

wruser@ros2native:/work/ros2_native/install$ source setup.bash
wruser@ros2native:/work/ros2_native/install$ ros2 run demo_nodes_py talker
[INFO] [talker]: Publishing: "Hello World: 0"
[INFO] [talker]: Publishing: "Hello World: 1"

VxWorks ROS 2 development

The following example shows how to develop and run ROS 2 package called my_package under VxWorks. It is recommended to prototype it first under the native ROS 2 build environment that contains the same ROS 2 version as a VxWorks one. After the package is developed and tested, it can be copied and compiled under VxWorks ROS 2 build environment.

Step 1: create and test a new ROS 2 package under the native ROS 2 build environment

  1. Follow the procedure of how to prepare native ROS 2 build environment.
  2. Create a new ROS 2 package
wruser@ros2native:/work$ cd ros2_native/src
wruser@ros2native:/work/ros2_native/src$ source ../install/setup.bash
wruser@ros2native:/work/ros2_native/src$ ros2 pkg create --build-type ament_cmake my_package
going to create a new package
package name: my_package
destination directory: /work/ros2_ws/src
package format: 3
version: 0.0.0
description: TODO: Package description
maintainer: ['wruser <wruser@todo.todo>']
licenses: ['TODO: License declaration']
build type: ament_cmake
dependencies: []
creating folder ./my_package
creating ./my_package/package.xml
creating source and include folder
creating folder ./my_package/src
creating folder ./my_package/include/my_package
creating ./my_package/CMakeLists.txt
  1. Create my_package.cpp file
wruser@ros2native:/work/ros2_native/src$ cd my_package/src
wruser@ros2native:/work/ros2_native/src/my_package/src$ cat > my_package.cpp <<EOF
#include <iostream>

using namespace std;

int main(int argc, char * argv[])
  cout << "Hello World!" << endl;
  return 0;
  1. Modify CMakeLists.txt to build my_package

Add the following lines to the CMakeLists.txt before if(BUILD_TESTING)

add_executable(my_package src/my_package.cpp)


You can use sed for it.

wruser@ros2native:/work/ros2_native/src/my_package$ sed -i '/find_package(<depen/aadd_executable(my_package src/my_package.cpp)\ninstall(TARGETS\n  my_package\n  DESTINATION lib/\${PROJECT_NAME}\n)' CMakeLists.txt
  1. Build my_package
wruser@ros2native:/work/ros2_native/src/my_package$ cd ../..
wruser@ros2native:/work/ros2_native$ colcon build --merge-install --packages-up-to my_package
  1. Run my_package
wruser@ros2native:/work/ros2_native$ source install/setup.bash
wruser@ros2native:/work/ros2_native/install$ ros2 run my_package my_package
Hello World!

Step 2: Build and run a new ROS 2 package under VxWorks ROS 2 build environment

  1. Start docker and copy my_package to the VxWorks ros2_ws workspace
$ docker run -ti -h vxros2 -v ~/Downloads/wrsdk:/wrsdk -v $PWD:/work vxros2build:humble
wruser@vxros2:/work$ cp -r ros2_native/src/my_package build/ros2/ros2_ws/src/.
  1. Rebuild ROS 2 with my_package
wruser@vxros2:/work$ source /wrsdk/
wruser@vxros2:/work$ rm /work/build/.stamp/
wruser@vxros2:/work$ PKG_PKGS_UP_TO=my_package DEFAULT_BUILD=ros2 make
wruser@vxros2:/work$ exit
  1. Create ros2.img as described here and start QEMU
$ sudo qemu-system-x86_64 -m 2G -kernel ~/Downloads/wrsdk/vxsdk/bsps/*/vxWorks \
-net nic -net tap,ifname=tap0,script=no,downscript=no -display none -serial mon:stdio \
-append "bootline:fs(0,0)host:/vxWorks h= e= g= u=ftp pw=ftp123 o=gei0 s=/ata4/vxscript" \
-device ich9-ahci,id=ahci -drive file=./output/ros2.img,if=none,id=ros2disk,format=raw -device ide-hd,drive=ros2disk,bus=ahci.0
  1. Setup environment variables and run my_package
-> cmd
[vxWorks *]# python3 ros2 run my_package my_package
Launching process 'python3' ...
Process 'python3' (process Id = 0xffff80000036cb10) launched.
Hello World!

Legal Notices

All product names, logos, and brands are property of their respective owners. All company, product and service names used in this software are for identification purposes only. Wind River and VxWorks are registered trademarks of Wind River Systems, Inc. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group.

Disclaimer of Warranty / No Support: Wind River does not provide support and maintenance services for this software, under Wind River’s standard Software Support and Maintenance Agreement or otherwise. Unless required by applicable law, Wind River provides the software (and each contributor provides its contribution) on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, either express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties of TITLE, NONINFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. You are solely responsible for determining the appropriateness of using or redistributing the software and assume any risks associated with your exercise of permissions under the license.