[ros-users] Uservoice-like Suggestions Page

Geoffrey Biggs geoffrey.biggs at aist.go.jp
Fri Jul 20 00:00:04 UTC 2012

On 20 July 2012 04:49, Jonathan Bohren <jonathan.bohren at gmail.com> wrote:
> Does anyone else feel like we need some better way to coordinate these
> things to prevent code death or such fragmentation from happening to the ros
> community? My recent experiences have made me concerned for the future
> health of the ecosystem.

I don't necessarily agree with this. I think the problem described is
the same problem faced by Linux in general (the operating system, not
the kernel). There are thousands of abandoned software packages
available for Linux, a large proportion of which are available through
various distributions' package managers despite being orphaned. I
think the approach to this issue can be decided based on what ROS's
goal actually is:

Is ROS meant to be a single, cohesive software project with
distributed development teams working on various parts of it? In this
case, I think that centralised ticket management makes sense - but it
also requires someone to sit at the centre and maintain that

Is ROS meant to be an operating system style thing with lots of
independent packages developed by independent teams? In this case,
then the current approach should be maintained, and we must accept its
warts, working around them as appropriate.

I personally think ROS is, or at least should be, the second option,
and we should look at how various distros manage these problems. For
example, Gentoo removes unmaintained packages from its repository and
relies on them being provided by overlays managed by the people who
care about those packages. Using a package from an overlay tells you
you're not getting the same level of support. Debian/Ubuntu's
multiverse and PPAs could be seen as doing something similar.

I think that Thibault's idea is the best approach we could take right
now. Giving people the information they need to make an informed
choice of packages is more useful than trying to kickstart back into
development a package that does not necessarily need it. I often use
Wikipedia's "Last release date" information when choosing amongst
alternatives for a piece of software.


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