Recommended Applications To Install

Original Author: Chien-Liang Fok


This page contains recommended applications to install that will help you use ControlIt! They are also useful for programming in Ubuntu Linix in general.

Comparison Tool

Meld is the recommended tool for comparing differences between text files and/or directories.

$ sudo apt-get install meld

Text Editor

Sublime Text is the recommended text editor. To install it:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/sublime-text-3
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install sublime-text-installer

To automatically format the c++ code to adhere to our style conventions, follow the instructions here.

To automatically hard-wrap text (useful for LaTeX writing), install plugin Wrap Plus. With this plugin installed, a paragraph can be automatically wrapped by typing alt+q.

To quickly detect and delete trailing spaces, install plugin Trailing Spaces. If you setup the recommended key bindings, you can delete all trailing spaces by typing ctrl+shift+t.

To make Sublime the text editor used by rosed, add the following lines to your ~/.bashrc file:

#rosed using sublime to edit file
export EDITOR='subl'

In addition, we recommend that you install vim:

$ sudo apt-get install vim


Terminator is recommended. To install it:

 $ sudo apt-get install terminator

You can configure Terminator to launch with a default layout by:

  1. Create your desired layout
  2. Right-click on any terminal and select “Preferences”
  3. Under tab “Layouts”, click on “add”, then give your current layout a name.  In the example below, the name is “ros-gazebo-devel”.

  4. Close the Terminator Preferences window.
  5. Install and run alacarte (a.k.a. “Main Menu”). You can install it through the Ubuntu Software Center.
  6. Within the “Main Menu” application, click on “New Item”.
  7. Enter the settings shown below (change the layout name to match yours)

  8. You can now start Terminator with your custom layout by starting “TerminatorROS” instead of “Terminator”.

We also recommend that you add the following bash aliases to ~/.bashrc:

# bash aliases
alias sb='source ~/.bashrc'
alias eb='subl ~/.bashrc'


Graphically Viewing and Committing Changes

To visually work with Git, install git-gui:

$ sudo apt-get install git-gui

Once installed, you can bring up a GUI by executing the following from within a git repository:

$ git gui

Switching Branches

To switch branches:

$ git checkout -b  [name of branch] origin/[name of branch]

View Branches

To view all branches:

$ git branch -a

Comparing Two Branches

To compare two branches, first setup git-diffall:

$ git clone ~/tools/git-diffall 
$ sudo ln -s ~/tools/git-diffall/git-diffall /usr/bin/git-diffall 
$ git config --global diff.tool "meld" 
$ git config --global diff.external "meld"

To use git-diffall:

$ cd /path/to/git/repo
$ git diffall [branch to compare local HEAD with]

Bash Prompt Configuration

A handy way to keep track of which git branch you are on is to modify your prompt to indicate this information. Open ~/.bashrc and add the following lines to the bottom:

# git prompt
export PS1='\[\033[01;32m\]\u@\h\[\033[00m\]
\[\033[01;34m\]\w\[\033[00m\]$(git branch &>/dev/null; if [ $? -eq 0 ];
then echo "\[\033[01;33m\]($(git branch | grep ^*|sed s/\*\
//))\[\033[00m\]"; fi)$ '

Using gitk to Visualize Commit Log

A useful way to visualize past commits is to use 'gitk'. Install it as follows:

$ sudo apt-get install gitk

You can then browse the history of a repository by executing:

$ cd path/to/git/repository
$ gitk --all


Install pyqtgraph so you can use it in rtq_plot. Go to, download the .deb file, then double-click on it to install it via the Ubuntu Software Center.


We recommend that you add the following aliases to your ~/.bashrc. They will enable you to re-source or edit your ~/.bashrc file using two-letter commands.

# bash aliases
alias sb='source ~/.bashrc'
alias eb='subl ~/.bashrc'