Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does Build Fail With Missing or Stray Character Error in

Symptom: When building Drake using cmake and make or ninja, the following error occurs:

drake-distro/drake/automotive/maliput/utility/test/ error: missing terminating " character
   EXPECT_EQ(R"R(<?xml version="1.0" ?>
drake-distro/drake/automotive/maliput/utility/test/ error: stray ‘\’ in program
 <robot name="dut">
drake-distro/drake/automotive/maliput/utility/test/ error: missing terminating " character
drake-distro/drake/automotive/maliput/utility/test/ error: stray ‘\’ in program
   <link name="world"/>

Solution: One known cause of this problem is employing ccache without the environment variable CCACHE_CPP2=yes. Try adding the following line to your ~/.bashrc:

export CCACHE_CPP2=yes

Alternatively, update to ccache 3.3 or newer since it by default sets CCACHE_CPP2=yes.

Why Does CMake Fail With An Error Indicating No Compatible VTK Found?

Symptom: When running cmake .. in drake-distro/build, the following error is reported:

CMake Error at cmake/options.cmake:172 (find_package):
  Could not find a configuration file for package "VTK" that is compatible
  with requested version "5.10".

  The following configuration files were considered but not accepted:

    /usr/lib/cmake/vtk-6.2/VTKConfig.cmake, version: 6.2.0

Call Stack (most recent call first):
  cmake/options.cmake:249 (drake_system_dependency)
  CMakeLists.txt:17 (drake_setup_options)

-- Configuring incomplete, errors occurred!

Solution: This error is typically caused by your system having a newer version of VTK installed than the version required by Drake. As indicated by the error message, Drake needs VTK 5.10 whereas the system has VTK 6.2. To get around this error, add -DUSE_SYSTEM_VTK=OFF -DWITH_VTK=ON to the cmake command:

cd drake-distro/build

Alternatively, if you have a compatible version of VTK5 installed, you can tell CMake to use it by specifying VTK_DIR as follows:

cd drake-distro/build
cmake .. -DVTK_DIR=path/to/vtk5

Why doesn’t Drake Visualizer work in VMWare Fusion or Workstation?

Symptom: The simulation runs and the visualization window appears, but no objects are actually drawn. This appeared to be due to display drivers and/or non support of hardware-accelerated rendering. To address this, go to Virtual Machine Settings, and check the Accelerate 3D Graphics box under Display settings; now the simulations draw properly.

Why does Drake Visualizer crash with a “No module named vtkCommonCorePython” Error?

Symptom: When you start drake-visualizer, it crashes with the following error:

File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/vtk/", line 39, in <module>
  from vtkCommonCore import *
File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/vtk/", line 1, in <module>
  from vtkCommonCorePython import *
ImportError: No module named vtkCommonCorePython

Solution: This is a known problem when you have python-vtk6 installed. The workaround depends on whether you’re building Drake within a ROS Catkin workspace. Please jump to the appropriate subsection below.

Non-ROS Users

To workaround the problem, configure Drake’s build system to build VTK5 from source (drake-visualizer is built on Director, which is built on VTK5):

cd drake-distro/build
cd drake-distro/build
make (or ninja)

Next, modify two environment variables before starting drake-visualizer (note that this has only been tested when there are no spaces in the path to the present working directory):

cd drake-distro
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=`pwd`/build/install/lib/vtk-5.10:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
export PYTHONPATH=`pwd`/build/externals/vtk/Wrapping/Python:`pwd`/build/externals/vtk/bin:$PYTHONPATH

You should now be able to start drake-visualizer.

ROS Indigo Users

To workaround the problem, configure Director’s build system to build VTK5 from source (drake-visualizer is built on Director, which is built on VTK5):

cd ~/dev/drake_catkin_workspace/build/drake
cd ~/dev/drake_catkin_workspace
catkin build

Next, modify two environment variables before starting drake-visualizer:

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$HOME/dev/drake_catkin_workspace/install/lib/vtk-5.10:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
export PYTHONPATH=$HOME/dev/drake_catkin_workspace/build/drake/externals/vtk/Wrapping/Python:$HOME/dev/drake_catkin_workspace/build/drake/externals/vtk/bin:$PYTHONPATH

You should now be able to start drake-visualizer.

ROS Kinetic Users

Since ROS Kinetic requires VTK6, the setup instructions already contain the workaround to this error. See in particular step 5 and step 6.

Why don’t my Java classes to work in Drake (e.g., after running make)?

This could be an issue with the version of the Java compiler (javac) installed on your system. MATLAB currently cannot run classes that were compiled with the Java 1.7 (or free alternative compilers that are version 1.7 compliant). You should retarget your compiling for version 1.6. This can be done by passing javac the --source=1.6 --target=1.6 flags.

Error building Drake w/ MATLAB R2013a after switching to Mavericks

Symptoms: When running make in Drake, you get the following error messages:

xcodebuild: error: SDK "macosx10.7" cannot be located.
xcrun: error: unable to find utility "clang", not a developer tool or in PATH
-- compiler1 version string:
-- compiler2 version string: 4.2.1
CMake Error at cmake/mex.cmake:203 (message):
        Your cmake C compiler is: /usr/bin/cc but your mex options use: xcrun -sdk
        macosx10.7 clang .  Consider rerunning 'mex -setup' in Matlab.

Cause: Matlab’s in the bin folder of your MATLAB installation statically refers to the 10.7 sdk, which was removed in Mavericks .

Fix: Replace all occurrences of 10.7 in by 10.9. After this, run mex -setup in Matlab and select the option that mentions (option 1 in my case).

Can’t compile mex after upgrading XCode to 5.1 on Mac.

The error message looks like:

/Applications/ error: unknown type name 'char16_t'
typedef char16_t CHAR16_T;

MATLAB’s types are not compatible with the newest version of clang. Hopefully they will get in sync soon, but for now I’ve decided the best fix is to edit the twmtypes.h file:

/*typedef char16_t CHAR16_T;*/
typedef UINT16_T CHAR16_T;

Undefined symbol “___sincos_stret” on Mac.

This is an optimization in the XCode 5. Update your to make sure your MACOSX_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET is set to 10.9. (It’s best to just search and replace 10.8 for 10.9)

Problems Installing Drake on Ubuntu After Installing NVidia Drivers

I’m having trouble trying to install drake on Ubuntu after installing NVidia drivers. I get the error:

make[5]: *** No rule to make target `/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/', needed by `lib/'.  Stop.

You may need to follow these steps:

Can’t find jpeglib.h when compiling bot2-vis on Mac

Make sure you’ve installed the xcode command line tools with xcode-select --install, then make clean and make again.

MATLAB SocketException error when calling LCM

In MATLAB on OSX Yosemite, you may see the following error when calling LCM:

"LC singleton fail: Can't assign requested address"

Apply the resolution described here:

Could not find MEX_CC using mex -v on Mac after updating XCode.

Open Matlab. Run:

edit ([matlabroot '/bin/maci64/mexopts/clang_maci64.xml'])

Search for MacOSX10.10. Toward the bottom, you will find four hits.

Two of these hits (one on line 121, one on line 133 of the unmodified file) look like:

<dirExists name="$$/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.10.sdk" />

In both locations, copy this line, paste it on the next line and change the second one to “10.11”, like this:

<dirExists name="$$/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.10.sdk" />
<dirExists name="$$/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.11.sdk" />

The other two hits (one on line 123, one on line 135 of the unmodified file) look like:

<cmdReturns name="find $$ -name MacOSX10.10.sdk" />

Repeat the copy/paste/modify 10.10 to 10.11 process for these lines.

Repeat this whole process for clang++_maci64.xml, gfortran.xml, and intel_fortran.xml.

(note: this is a slightly more thorough version of the resolution described here: ).