OpenEmbedded Layer for ROS Applications
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This is a layer to provide ROS Indigo Igloo in an OpenEmbedded Linux system. It provides a stable cross-compilation build system for many common ROS packages. Currently, this layer is still under continuous development.


Note: In October 2016, the mailing list at!forum/meta-ros has been discontinued and discussion has moved to However, the mailing list is still a good resource on issues that have been resolved in the past.




We are still working on this development and are interested in other use cases. If you are interested in this project, please contact us via email. The more people are interested, the more we will be pushing this project. If you want to contribute, please contact us and we can discuss open issues and how to join forces.


This layer depends on:

URI: git://
subdirectory: meta
branch: master
revision: HEAD

meta-openembedded (meta-oe)
URI: git://
subdirectory: meta-oe
branch: master
revision: HEAD

meta-python (since a6d7ba92645a112af358efd94ff3aa0c74985a51@meta-openembedded)
URI: git://
subdirectory: meta-python
branch: master
revision: HEAD

meta-multimedia (since fe44ac167a2a76531af3519f3889fce92024567b@meta-openembedded)
URI: git://
subdirectory: meta-multimedia
branch: master
revision: HEAD

meta-intel-realsense (since 4a5ba0f20094dd3d07c0a0c1dede2ba40e9d6abf) URI: branch: master revision: HEAD This layer is required only if you need to build realsense-camera driver.

bitbake > 1.20


Here, we list which parts of this layer depend on recent commits in the bitbake, openembedded-core and meta-openembedded repositories. Using git blame on the lines below, you can find the commits in meta-ros that rely on the remote commits. In case of porting to other versions, you must possibly revert some of those commits.

ament-cmake-core depends on python3-pyparsing which is available in meta-python since pyro 1a373a033f482981eb59ff8d9eb7a9437fa18cd4@meta-openembedded and native version since rocko 06eb9d658e71b6a61f2589d9618ae2ca35eaaf8b@meta-openembedded python3-pyparsing-native depends on python3-datetime-native, python3-debugger-native and python3-stringold-native which were added in oe-core python3-native in pyro: 462ccb35a5de32b52ddb733d1868df6ac5426f20@openembedded-core and 800753069f667cd1664d70b3779150c467e3b3fe@openembedded-core simple bbappend as shown in: is enough to resolve this if you're using old pyro unsupported release.

ros2topic (and few more recipes when ROS_USE_PYTHON3 is set to yes) depends on python3-pyyaml which was added in 1161ab8f8dda272eb5d09917446cc5b971be1335@meta-openembedded.

cv-bridge and dependent recipes, e.g., the image-transport recipes, depend on 7568bfdd114597956a1da68746f207ec7f93a48d@openembedded-core. For native python-numpy support, these recipes also depend on c13c5f40160d289bb62538a16900fed30621cb22@meta-openembedded or on 9bf355cceaec6ebacdcbcc35f9713ff73e1c85da@openembedded-core.

Some recipes that need the Eigen library, e.g., the pcl-ros recipe, depend on 424e3c1b930c0103c2cedfd4df1671e84a5256d5@meta-openembedded.

Using wildcards in bbappend versions part in name depends on 31bc9af9cd56e7b318924869970e850993fafc5f@bitbake and 991cbeedbde8bd25ce08c669b1bfac8b99e33149@bitbake.

octomap-ros and collada-urdf depend on 43073569cb67d98c11aa71211d77b566b64f9145@openembedded-core and 783fb88f476c94d5d4f4b954f7053464d9a6dff5@openembedded-core.

urdfdom-py depends on the meta-python layer since a6d7ba92645a112af358efd94ff3aa0c74985a51@meta-openembedded.

Since 3edf08b38b0af93cef0933b061349264dc86d54c@openembedded-core, recipes relying on opencv need to activate the DISTRO_FEATURE opengl.

rosbridge-library depends on python-six, which is provided in meta-python since a36869c700bed940f7f0aa4b9703ae630dc84eac@meta-openembedded.


The repository contains a layer for ROS that builds on top of the OpenEmbedded Core layer and the meta-oe layer.

We try our best to keep up with the development of the current HEAD of the layers mentioned above. If you notice any problems with the current HEAD, please report this in our issue tracker.

You can use this layer with earlier versions of the layers mentioned above and their release branches, dora and daisy, with a few minor adjustments. The section "dependencies on recent commits" in this file provides a few pointers to adjust this layer for other versions.


Initialize the build environment:

source oe-init-build-env

Add the required layers (see DEPENDENCIES) by modifying ./conf/bblayers.conf (adjust /home/me/devel as necessary):

/home/me/devel/openembedded-core/meta \
/home/me/devel/meta-openembedded/meta-oe \
/home/me/devel/meta-openembedded/meta-python \
/home/me/devel/meta-openembedded/meta-multimedia \
/home/me/devel/meta-ros \

By default meta-ros uses python2 in all its recipes. If you want ROS packages to use python3 then add the following line in your ./conf/local.conf file:


Compile package:

bitbake <package-name>

The recipe core-image-ros-roscore provides a minimal Linux system that runs roscore.

You can compile the minimal Linux system with

bitbake core-image-ros-roscore

Then for example, you start this system in the qemu virtual machine with

runqemu <MACHINE> core-image-ros-roscore

On the Linux system, ensure that the own host's name in resolved by adding	<HOSTNAME>.localdomain		<HOSTNAME>

to the /etc/hosts file, and set up the environment with

export ROS_ROOT=/opt/ros
export ROS_DISTRO=indigo
export ROS_PACKAGE_PATH=/opt/ros/indigo/share
export PATH=$PATH:/opt/ros/indigo/bin
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/ros/indigo/lib
export PYTHONPATH=/opt/ros/indigo/lib/python2.7/site-packages
export ROS_MASTER_URI=http://localhost:11311
export CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/opt/ros/indigo
touch /opt/ros/indigo/.catkin

Finally, you can start roscore with


If you want to use the roswtf utility for diagnostics and experience an exception like

rospkg.os_detect.OsNotDetected: Could not detect OS, tried ['windows', 'ubuntu', 'slackware', 'rhel', 'qnx', 'osx', 'opensuse', 'opensuse', 'mint', 'linaro', 'gentoo', 'funtoo', 'freebsd', 'fedora', 'elementary', 'debian', 'cygwin', 'centos', 'arch']

then you need to set ROS_OS_OVERRIDE to one of the listed OS names, e.g.

export ROS_OS_OVERRIDE=ubuntu

And since Yocto-based distributions are not supported by the rospkg library you have to interpret roswtf's output by translating Ubuntu package names manually to their corresponding package/recipe names that were chosen in the meta-ros layer.


The meta-ros layers only includes a subset of the officially released ROS packages, available from The here provided ROS packages are mainly driven by the current users' needs.

For ROS packages that depend on cv-bridge, the commercial license flag must be whitelisted, as cv-bridge depends on opencv, and opencv by default depends on libav that has special terms and conditions when used commercially. This can be done by adding to the local.conf the line:


Alternatively, the dependency from opencv on libav can be explicit excluded by modifying the PACKAGECONFIG setting.


All metadata is MIT licensed unless otherwise stated. Source code included in tree for individual recipes is under the LICENSE stated in each recipe (.bb file) unless otherwise stated. The descriptions in the recipes of ROS packages have been extracted from the ROS wiki ( and are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( unless otherwise noted.

This README document is Copyright (C) 2012 BMW Car IT GmbH.


The log4cxx recipe originated from the recipe in the OpenEmbedded (Classic) Development (cf. licensed with the MIT License.

The yaml-cpp recipe originated from the recipe in Kartik Mohta's OpenEmbedded layer (cf. licensed with the MIT License.

The python-ecdsa recipe originated from the recipe in the OpenStack Yocto layer (cf. licensed with the MIT License.

The python-pbr recipe originated from the recipe in the meta-python layer (cf. licensed with the MIT License.

The core-image-ros-* recipes originated from the core-image-minimal recipe in OpenEmbedded Core (cf. licensed with the MIT License.

The original or modified files are redistributed here under the same MIT License.