[ros-users] Uservoice-like Suggestions Page

David Lu!! davidvlu at gmail.com
Fri Jul 20 19:17:04 UTC 2012

Thanks everyone for your feedback to my idea. There's a lot of good
conversation here.

The conversation has strayed a little bit from my original idea of
ways to find common holes in the ROS package coverage. My experience
with Uservoice was on a much smaller project, and I agree it probably
won't scale well. However, in response to Thomas's comment, I think
you and I have both have had experience with spending time on a
personal need for a package (pr2_python), only to discover that other
people needed it and were working on it. I'd love to see a solution to
that problem that got people developing for ROS at different sites
communicating more and theoretically collaborating more.

As for the bigger problem of maintaining the wild ROS packages: I echo
Jonathan's sentiment about contributing to others' stacks being
painful at times. The fact is, for better and for worse, the ROS.org
wiki hierarchy is very flat. This means on the plus side that everyone
is able to contribute on equal standing. The downside is that, beyond
self-created stacks, there is no categorization of packages. That
A) There is no central repository for all arm_navigation packages (for
example) (other than search, which isn't wonderfully functional)
B) There is no way to rate packages/stacks (as has been discussed above)

I think there might be a suitable underused feature from the wiki in
the category feature. Wikipedia allows for easier browsing by looking
up categories of articles
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Robotics_companies). This could
be tied to the answers.ros.org tagging feature in some way as well. It
would be nice to do a search for MappingAlgorithms and Stable.

I also approve of using statistics to differentiate the various
stacks. I was actually thinking about this previous to this
discussion, resulting in my work with manifest_cleaner
(http://ros.org/wiki/manifest_cleaner) and my recent question about
the ROS.org indexer


On Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 11:09 AM, Bill Morris
<bill at iheartengineering.com> wrote:
> On Fri, 2012-07-20 at 09:05 +0200, Jonathan Bohren wrote:
>> On Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 2:00 AM, Geoffrey
>> Biggs <geoffrey.biggs at aist.go.jp> wrote:
> ...
>> ROS is old enough now that there are a lot of packages, even
>> wg-spawned packages, whose owners have moved on to other things. I'm
>> talking from experience on this, since I recently tried to fix what I
>> considered a serious flaw in a wg-hosted package, only to find that
>> the names listed in the package manifest are no longer the maintainers
>> and the person listed in the stack manifest is (understandably) too
>> busy to deal with my  patch. I find myself blocked, and I could fork
>> it, but this package is currently distributed with the debian packages
>> and I think creating a new package with a new name will just lead to
>> confusion and fragmentation.
> I have had similar experiences waiting for patches to land.
> For part of this, I think there needs to be a clearer process for
> gaining commit access or forking for "core" ros packages.
> While it doesn't solve the documentation issue, Debian has an
> interesting approach with the idea of a "Request for adoption"
> http://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp/
> http://wnpp.debian.net/
> Perhaps another approach would be for maintainers to avoid/remove
> namespace conflicts for unmaintained packages. ie. linefollower ->
> mylab_linefollower
> --
> Bill Morris <bill at iheartengineering.com>
> I Heart Engineering
> http://www.iheartengineering.com
> <3
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