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Installation (Linux)

Gazebo relies on a number of third-party libraries that make installation a little bit tricky. If things go wrong, please check the Problem-solving section and the archives of the Gazebo mailing list. Please read the instructions below carefully before reporting posting to the mailing list.

These are the Linux installation instructions, OS X users should go here.

Preparing your system

The the GUI component of Gazebo requires two third-party packages that may not be installed on your system; if you plan to use the GUI, install these packages before proceeding:

The default install path for many source packages (Gazebo included) is:


In some Linux distributions, however, these paths are not searched by default, leading to problems when compiling and linking some packages. We therefore recommend that you configure your system with some additional paths (added to your .bashrc script, for example):

export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH
export CPATH=/usr/local/include:$CPATH
export LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib:$LIBRARY_PATH

The first line sets the executable path; the second sets the path for C and C++ header files; the third line sets the library search path. You will also need to set two more paths:

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH
export PYTHONPATH=/usr/local/lib/python2.3/site-packages:$PYTHONPATH

The first line sets the pkg-config path (a neat utility for mananging source dependencies); the second line is for Python extensions (the version number must match the version of Python you have installed; type "python -V" if in doubt).

Selecting an installation method

First-time users should read the section on minimal installations to get a basic version of Gazebo up and running. More advanced users may wish to consult one of the following:

Minimal installation

The minimal Gazebo build requires the OpenDynamicsEngine (ODE), which is very probably not installed on your system (or not installed correctly).

Gazebo is now ready to run; try:

$ gazebo /usr/local/share/gazebo/worlds/

This will start the server in console mode (no GUI). Assuming you have all the GUI dependencies installed, you can run in graphical mode using:

$ wxgazebo /usr/local/share/gazebo/worlds/

Full installation (with OPCODE support)

Some models (e.g., terrains and roads) require the OPCODE collision detection library (now part of the ODE distribution). The following steps are required to build ODE with OPCODE support.

To test the terrain model, try:

$ gazebo /usr/local/share/gazebo/worlds/

GDAL installation (Terrain Builder)

The builder "terrain builder utility" included in the Gazebo package uses the Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (GDAL) for loading images, digital elevation maps, and so on. If you plan to use this utility, you will need to install GDAL first.

The GDAL package is available in many Linux distros (including Gentoo), and can be installed in the standard fashion. If the package is not available, it must be built from source, as follows.

Local installation (does not require root access)

Some developers prefer to install Gazebo in our home directory (e.g., /home/[username]/local) rather than in a system directory. This is useful if you are working on shared machines and/or lack root access. Naturally, local installs can make it a bit tricky for Gazebo (and other packages) to find the right headers, libs and so on. Here, then, is the recommended way to do it:

Everything should now work seamlessly, and your locally installed packages will be used in preference to any system-wide defaults.


GDAL installation (Terrain Builder)

If you are getting a linker error "cannot find -lgdal", check you settings as described above.

Missing dependencies

Occasionally, you may find that certain third-party libraries are not installed on you system; the configure script will let you know what libraries are missing, from which you can figure out what additional packages need to be installed.

All of the packages below should be available with your distribution (this includes OS X, either from Apple, or via Fink).

Last updated 12 September 2005 21:38:45