rosdep is a powerful bootstrapping tool and is the foundation of the ROS and Catkin package dependency system. One of the big challenges preventing ROS from being used on more operating systems is satisfying the broad spectrum of open source software programs and libraries, and rosdep is the Rosetta Stone of these system dependencies.

For example, if a package has a dependency on the key libogre-dev then the libogre-dev rosdep page will show not only on which versions of which operating systems libogre-dev can be found, but also which versions of libogre-dev would be installed in each case.

ROS Index now lists all known rosdep keys and their supported platforms in the System Dependencies index, and soon packages which depend on a given rosdep key will link directly to their respective pages.

To contribute missing rosdep rules see the official rosdep documentation.