the Robot Construction Kit

Using Rock Packages outside of Rock

As we state many times when talking about Rock, most of rock packages are meant to be usable outside of Rock.

The cornerstone to that is to have separated the libraries – which are pure C++ libraries using standard tools (CMake, pkg-config) to build – from the “integration framework”, which is oroGen in our case.

Anyway, this page deals with the steps needed to build CMake packages outside of Rock, which mainly means “without using the Rock build system (autoproj)”


Just to be one the safe side, you will need the following elements to be able to build Rock packages:

  • CMake
  • gcc / g++
  • pkg-config

Additionally, some packages will require autotools / automake to build

The first thing you will need to do is install the base/cmake and base/types package. Check them out

git clone git://
git clone git://

and install them

cd base-cmake
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$HOME/dev/install ..
make install
cd ../../
cd base-types
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$HOME/dev/install ..
make install

The previous step will install everything but the Spline classes, which are needed for instance by the trajectory following / motion planning components. If you need the Spline class, install the {rock_pkg: external/sisl} package beforehand.

Once you have installed this package, you will also need to set a few important environment variables:

export CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=$HOME/dev/install
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$HOME/dev/install/lib/pkgconfig:$HOME/dev/install/share/pkgconfig:$HOME/dev/install/lib64/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$HOME/dev/install/lib:$HOME/dev/install/lib64:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
export PATH=$HOME/dev/install/bin:$PATH

Usually, it is best practice to put this line in an line and source it automatically in e.g. your $HOME/.bashrc:

source $HOME/dev/

How to build the other packages

Since you are trying to build Rock packages without autoproj, you will have to do autoproj’s job, namely:

  • install each package dependency (OS packages and need-to-be-built packages)
  • configure and build each package

The rest of this page will outline these steps for you

To install the package dependencies the best way is to have a look into the standard package sets of rock, e.g., rock.core and rock. The dependencies of each package can be queried with:

autoproj show <package_name>

To configure and build the package, the steps are essentially the same than for base/types, namely:

  • checkout the package. The URL is listed in the package directory page about the package you have to install
  • configure it by doing the following inside the package source:
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$HOME/dev/install ..
  • finally, build and install
make install