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Building ROS 2 on OS X

System requirements

We support OS X 10.12.x.

However, some new versions like 10.13.x and some older versions like 10.11.x and 10.10.x are known to work as well.

Install prerequisites

You need the following things installed to build ROS 2:

  1. Xcode

    • If you don’t already have it installed, install Xcode and the Command Line Tools:

      xcode-select --install
  2. brew (needed to install more stuff; you probably already have this):

    • Follow installation instructions at http://brew.sh/

    • Optional: Check that brew is happy with your system configuration by running:

      brew doctor

      Fix any problems that it identifies.

  3. Use brew to install more stuff:

    brew install cmake cppcheck eigen pcre poco python3 tinyxml wget
    # install dependencies for Fast-RTPS if you are using it
    brew install asio tinyxml2
    brew install opencv
    # install dependencies for rcl_logging_log4cxx
    brew install log4cxx
  4. Install rviz dependencies

    # install dependencies for Rviz
    brew install qt freetype assimp
    # Add the Qt directory to the PATH and CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH
    export CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=$CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH:/usr/local/opt/qt
    export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/opt/qt/bin
  5. Use python3 -m pip (just pip may install Python3 or Python2) to install more stuff:

    python3 -m pip install argcomplete catkin_pkg colcon-common-extensions coverage empy flake8 flake8-blind-except flake8-builtins flake8-class-newline flake8-comprehensions flake8-deprecated flake8-docstrings flake8-import-order flake8-quotes lark-parser mock nose pep8 pydocstyle pyparsing setuptools vcstool
  6. Optional: if you want to build the ROS 1<->2 bridge, then you must also install ROS 1:

    • Start with the normal install instructions: http://wiki.ros.org/kinetic/Installation/OSX/Homebrew/Source

    • When you get to the step where you call rosinstall_generator to get the source code, here’s an alternate invocation that brings in just the minimum required to produce a useful bridge:

      rosinstall_generator catkin common_msgs roscpp rosmsg --rosdistro kinetic --deps --wet-only --tar > kinetic-ros2-bridge-deps.rosinstall
      wstool init -j8 src kinetic-ros2-bridge-deps.rosinstall

      Otherwise, just follow the normal instructions, then source the resulting install_isolated/setup.bash before proceeding here to build ROS 2.

Disable System Integrity Protection (SIP)

OS X versions >=10.11 have System Integrity Protection enabled by default. So that SIP doesn’t prevent processes from inheriting dynamic linker environment variables, such as DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH, you’ll need to disable it following these instructions.

Get the ROS 2 code

Create a workspace and clone all repos:

mkdir -p ~/ros2_ws/src
cd ~/ros2_ws
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ros2/ros2/release-latest/ros2.repos
vcs import src < ros2.repos


If you want to get all of the latest bug fixes then you can try the “tip” of development by replacing release-latest in the url above with master. The release-latest is preferred by default because it goes through more rigorous testing on release than changes to master do. See also Maintaining a Source Checkout.

Install additional DDS vendors (optional)

ROS 2 builds on top of DDS. It is compatible with multiple DDS or RTPS (the DDS wire protocol) vendors. The repositories you downloaded for ROS 2 includes eProsima’s Fast RTPS, which is the only bundled vendor. If you would like to use one of the other vendors you will need to install their software separately before building. The ROS 2 build will automatically build support for vendors that have been installed and sourced correctly.

By default we include eProsima’s FastRTPS in the workspace and it is the default middleware. Detailed instructions for installing other DDS vendors are provided in the “Alternative DDS sources” section below.

Build the ROS 2 code

Note: if you are trying to build the ROS 1 <-> ROS 2 bridge, follow instead these modified instructions.

Run the colcon tool to build everything (more on using colcon in this tutorial):

cd ~/ros2_ws/
colcon build --symlink-install

Try some examples

In a clean new terminal, source the setup file (this will automatically set up the environment for any DDS vendors that support was built for) and then run a talker:

. ~/ros2_ws/install/setup.bash
ros2 run demo_nodes_cpp talker

In another terminal source the setup file and then run a listener:

. ~/ros2_ws/install/setup.bash
ros2 run demo_nodes_cpp listener

You should see the talker saying that it’s Publishing messages and the listener saying I heard those messages. Hooray!

Alternative DDS sources

The demos will attempt to build against any detected DDS vendor. The only bundled vendor is eProsima’s Fast RTPS, which is included in the default set of sources for ROS 2. If you would like to switch out the vendor below are the instructions. When you run the build make sure that your chosen DDS vendor(s) are exposed in your environment.

When multiple vendors are present, you can choose the used RMW implementation by setting the the environment variable RMW_IMPLEMENTATION to the package providing the RMW implementation. See Working with multiple RMW implementations for more details.

RTI Connext (5.3)

To use RTI Connext you will need to have obtained a license from RTI.

You can install the OS X package of Connext version 5.3 provided by RTI from their downloads page.

You also need a Java runtime installed to run the RTI code generator, which you can get here.

After installing, run RTI launcher and point it to your license file.

Source the setup file to set the NDDSHOME environment variable before building your workspace.

The setup file and path will depend on your macOS version.

# macOS 10.12 Sierra
source /Applications/rti_connext_dds-5.3.1/resource/scripts/rtisetenv_x64Darwin16clang8.0.bash
# macOS 10.13 High Sierra
source /Applications/rti_connext_dds-5.3.1/resource/scripts/rtisetenv_x64Darwin17clang9.0.bash

You may need to increase shared memory resources following https://community.rti.com/kb/osx510.

If you want to install the Connext DDS-Security plugins please refer to this page.


Segmentation Fault when using pyenv

pyenv seems to default to building Python with .a files, but that causes issues with rclpy, so it’s recommended to build Python with Frameworks enabled on macOS when using pyenv:


Library not loaded; image not found

If you are seeing library loading issues at runtime (either running tests or running nodes), such as the following:

ImportError: dlopen(.../ros2_install/ros2-osx/lib/python3.7/site-packages/rclpy/_rclpy.cpython-37m-darwin.so, 2): Library not loaded: @rpath/librcl_interfaces__rosidl_typesupport_c.dylib
  Referenced from: .../ros2_install/ros2-osx/lib/python3.7/site-packages/rclpy/_rclpy.cpython-37m-darwin.so
  Reason: image not found

then you probably have System Integrity Protection enabled. See “Disable System Integrity Protection (SIP)” above for how instructions on how to disable it.

Qt build errors

  1. unknown type name 'Q_ENUM'

    If you see build errors like:

    In file included from /usr/local/opt/qt/lib/QtGui.framework/Headers/qguiapplication.h:46:
    /usr/local/opt/qt/lib/QtGui.framework/Headers/qinputmethod.h:87:5: error:
          unknown type name 'Q_ENUM'

    you may be using qt4 instead of qt5: see https://github.com/ros2/ros2/issues/441

  2. "mkspecs/macx-clang" but this file does not exist

    To fix this error:

    CMake Error at /usr/local/lib/cmake/Qt5Core/Qt5CoreConfig.cmake:15 (message):
      The imported target "Qt5::Core" references the file
      but this file does not exist. Possible reasons include:
      * The file was deleted, renamed, or moved to another location.
      * An install or uninstall procedure did not complete successfully.
      * The installation package was faulty and contained
      but not all the files it references.

    link mkspecs and plugins folders to /usr/local/:

    export HOMEBREW_QT5_VERSION=5.12.3 # Specify appropriate Qt5 version here
    sudo ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/qt/$HOMEBREW_QT5_VERSION/mkspecs /usr/local/mkspecs
    sudo ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/qt/$HOMEBREW_QT5_VERSION/plugins /usr/local/plugins

    If you are on a previous version of Homebrew, the qt formula could still be called qt5, so make corresponding changes to the paths above.

Missing symbol when opencv (and therefore libjpeg, libtiff, and libpng) are installed with Homebrew

If you have opencv installed you might get this:

dyld: Symbol not found: __cg_jpeg_resync_to_restart
  Referenced from: /System/Library/Frameworks/ImageIO.framework/Versions/A/ImageIO
  Expected in: /usr/local/lib/libJPEG.dylib
 in /System/Library/Frameworks/ImageIO.framework/Versions/A/ImageIO
/bin/sh: line 1: 25274 Trace/BPT trap: 5       /usr/local/bin/cmake

If so, to build you’ll have to do this:

$ brew unlink libpng libtiff libjpeg

But this will break opencv, so you’ll also need to update it to continue working:

$ sudo install_name_tool -change /usr/local/lib/libjpeg.8.dylib /usr/local/opt/jpeg/lib/libjpeg.8.dylib /usr/local/lib/libopencv_highgui.2.4.dylib
$ sudo install_name_tool -change /usr/local/lib/libpng16.16.dylib /usr/local/opt/libpng/lib/libpng16.16.dylib /usr/local/lib/libopencv_highgui.2.4.dylib
$ sudo install_name_tool -change /usr/local/lib/libtiff.5.dylib /usr/local/opt/libtiff/lib/libtiff.5.dylib /usr/local/lib/libopencv_highgui.2.4.dylib
$ sudo install_name_tool -change /usr/local/lib/libjpeg.8.dylib /usr/local/opt/jpeg/lib/libjpeg.8.dylib /usr/local/Cellar/libtiff/4.0.4/lib/libtiff.5.dylib

The first command is necessary to avoid things built against the system libjpeg (etc.) from getting the version in /usr/local/lib. The others are updating things built by Homebrew so that they can find the version of libjpeg (etc.) without having them in /usr/local/lib.