[ros-users] Multiple packages with similar functionalities (ueye camera)

Tully Foote tfoote at osrfoundation.org
Thu Dec 5 19:41:21 UTC 2013

On Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 9:00 AM, Isaac Isao Saito <130s at lateeye.net> wrote:

> # Apologies if multiple posts come in; looks like I'm having trouble
> in posting to ros-users with my other email account.
> Following Kevin Hallenbeck's offering, I suggest to borrow his
> repository to continue further discussion about unifying features that
> are distributed over multiple ROS packages.
> https://bitbucket.org/kmhallen/ueye/issue/7/merge-features-from-other-ueye-related-ros
> Please note, with a risk of sounding contradictory, that I'm not
> forcing to merge multiple packages with similar features into a single
> package (if I was doing so, that would be a very good counter example
> of opensource advocate).

It's actually a good thing to consolidate efforts and work together to
merge implementations if they are compatible. This allows greater
productivity through collaboration and deduplicates efforts of maintaining
multiple copies in parallel.  The beauty of open source is that if you feel
that you need a different direction you can again fork the development. But
most of the time for things like this driver it is in everyone's interest
to have a single good driver than have many mostly functional drivers.  An
example very close to this that went very well was the effort to
consolidate the various firewire camera drivers.  After a long discussion
on the mailing list Jack O'Quin took the lead and offered to consolidate
the drivers.  The first thread was here:
the results you can find in the camera1394 review pages:

> If there's any good practice/mechanism in ROS or in opensource in
> general to avoid package-collision like this, I think more than a few
> of us would get interested in it (surprisingly Googling is sometimes
> not just enough).

The most important thing to do is to communicate effectively.  Publicly
releasing and indexing software is the most critical element of this.
Usually if there is an open source implementation with a compatible license
people will use it if they find it. If it is not feature complete for their
use cases they then have the choice to extend the existing capabilities or
to develop the whole thing again from scratch.  Most will usually extend
the capability, and if it's easy enough contribute it back.

So the most important thing to do is to make sure to add your packages to
the documentation index with appropriate keywords. If a package is not
adaquately documented it is as almost as good as not released. Users won't
take the time to dig into a package which might do what they want and might
not. The other important thing to keep in mind is that people will extend
packages to fit their use cases.  It is important to make it easy to
contribute back. If it is hard to contribute back the user extending the
package both has to do the work to extend it as well as the extra work to
contribute back.  In the long run they need to believe they will save
time/energy by contributing back to the project.


> Thanks,
> Isaac
> On Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 12:21 AM, Kevin Hallenbeck <kmhallen at oakland.edu>
> wrote:
> > I develop the 'ueye' package, but I haven't touched it in about six
> months.
> > It looks like each package has some strengths and weaknesses. I am
> willing
> > to work on a unified package for uEye cameras that would include all of
> the
> > features from these packages.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Kevin
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Nov 28, 2013 at 9:54 AM, Isaac Isao Saito
> > <iisaito at opensource-robotics.tokyo.jp> wrote:
> >>
> >> ros-thusiasts,
> >>
> >> for a camera called Ueye, I've seen at least 4 wiki pages for separate
> >> ROS packages that provides interface with the device.
> >>
> >> http://wiki.ros.org/iri_ueye_camera
> >> http://wiki.ros.org/ueye
> >> http://wiki.ros.org/ueye_cam
> >> http://wiki.ros.org/ueyecamera
> >>
> >> All of these are the result of great work of each developer. But
> >> wouldn't it be even more useful if we only have one?
> >>
> >> # It'd be so for us, since one of the robots that our software
> >> (rtmros_nextage) supports comes with Ueye.
> >>
> >> Thanks,
> >>
> >> Isaac
> >> _______________________________________________
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> >> ros-users at code.ros.org
> >> http://lists.ros.org/mailman/listinfo/ros-users
> >
> >
> >
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