Running on a laptop
Using your own laptop is the preferred way to work with the simulation. You can debug and rerun your node while the simulation environment is running, start up viewers to see what’s going on, etc.
We advice you to use Ubuntu because this is the only fully supported operating system. Other operating systems can be tried at your own risk.
In the course we will work with the latest stable versions of Ubuntu (16.04 at the time of writing) and ROS (Kinetic Kame). For older/newer versions you should check their interoperability yourself.
Under Mac, you can either try to install native Ubuntu alongside Mac OS (Google is your friend here) or run it in a virtual machine (VM). Keep in mind that: native install is usually the best performing option. Running a VM sometimes has problems with openGL drivers, etc. Parallels has the best performance (sadly, it is not for free), VirtualBox is for free, but it is less stable.
If you’re running Windows, there is a simple way to get Ubuntu running: make the ISO CD according to the Ubuntu instructions, then start it up in Windows, and follow the instructions for a Windows file installation. No repartitioning or other worries.
This is the link for ROS tutorials and installation instructions: http://www.ros.org
You should install the Ros Kinetic Desktop Full configuration, which includes visualization and navigation packages.
Installation of Kinetic on a VM
First download and install latest version of VirtualBox. You would also need to download and install the compatible (usually latest) VirtualBox Extension Pack which should help you to solve most of the possible driver issues.
Then install latest Ubuntu version on the VM. You most likely will be interested to mount Guest Additions .iso to the freshly installed OS. Don’t forget to install the recommended updates before proceeding in a standard way:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade
Once done, install Full ROS Kinetic distribution. Get a cup of coffee…
Reboot the VM.
Setup your catkin workspace. Make sure that the path to you workspace does not contain spaces. Now you should be all set.
Go through tutorials
It is highly advised for you to go through the ROS tutorials at least on the beginner level before starting with your assignments.
If something doesn’t work, check the Frequently Asked Questions.
In the Swarmlab there is a limited number of computers available, if you do not have any other possibility to manage with your assignments, you can ask to work here. The lab staff who need these computers always have a higher priority.