the Robot Construction Kit

osdeps - Operating System Dependencies

Autoproj offers the possibility to use OS-packaged software instead of building it, to leverage the underlying platform’s software. This page details how it’s done.

Defining dependencies between source packages and OS packages

If a source package depends on an OS package, this dependency should be declared in the same way than between source packages:

  • either by adding the tag in the manifest.xml, or
  • by calling #depends_on(“os_dep_name”) in the autobuild file.

The os_dep_name above being the name of the package as declared in the OS dependencies files defined below.

During the build, autoproj looks first for OS dependencies. If no dependency is available for that particular platform, it will then look for a source package definition and build it. If none of the two exists, an error is returned.

OS packages

The general format of the an OS package definition:

        version1,version2: [package_name1, package_name2]

Where ‘name’ is the name used to declare the dependency (see above), distribution the name of the distribution and version the distribution’s version, and package_name the name of the package in the underlying OS.

Since the osdeps file is a YAML file, it could also be written

            - package_name1
            - package_name2

If only one package needs to be installed, one can use the shortcut

        version1,version2: package_name

Finally, if the package name is version-independent, the version can be omitted:

    distribution1,distribution2: package_name


        9.04,10.04,sid: libruby-dev
        - libboost1.38-dev
        - libboost-program1.38-dev
        9.04,10.04: libboost-dev

At the time of this writing, autoproj is able to install packages on Ubuntu/Debian and Gentoo. Support for other operating systems can be easily added, so contact me if you want to do so.

RubyGems packages

RubyGems packages are OS-independent. In the osdeps files, they can be referred to by replacing the OS distribution name by ‘gem’.



If the OS dep name and the RubyGems name are the same, one can use the shortcut

hoe: gem

Note that it is possible to use a mixture of RubyGems and OS packages. For instance, the following snippet will both install the gnuplot package and the gnuplot RubyGems whenever an osdep on ‘gnuplot’ is declared.

    gem: gnuplot
    debian: gnuplot

In addition to that, RubyGems can be pinned/restricted to certain versions. For example, the following snippet would pin ‘hoe’ to versions below 2.x


Ignoring some dependencies

It is possible that, on some operating systems, a given package should simply be ignored. To do so, simply use the ‘ignore’ keyword. Example:

    gem: gnuplot
    debian: ignore
    ubuntu: gnuplot

Relationship between source packages and osdeps packages

In autoproj, osdeps and source (“normal”) packages are seen the same way.

However, since installing the OS package is less work (and much faster) than building it ourselves, the following prioritization exists:

  • if both a normal autoproj package and an osdeps package exist, the osdeps package takes precedence.
  • on OSes where no osdeps package exist, the autoproj package will be built instead

This default scheme requires the source package and the osdeps package to have the same name. Moreover, one might want on some occasions to build the source package (for instance because it is slightly more up-to-date).

This source package / osdeps package relationship can be fine tuned using Autoproj.add_osdeps_overrides. This is usually done either locally in autoproj/overrides.rb, or on a package set basis in the package set’s overrides.rb.

A different name can be given for the source package that can replace the osdeps. For instance, the following code snippet, when added to overrides.rb, will cause autoproj to look for external/opencv instead of opencv if the opencv osdeps is not available on the current machine.

Autoproj.add_osdeps_overrides 'opencv', :package => 'external/opencv'

One can force the usage of the source package for the local installation (completely ignoring the osdeps package)

Autoproj.add_osdeps_overrides 'opencv', :package => 'external/opencv', :force => true