[ros-users] answers.ros.org is the hell

Jack O'Quin jack.oquin at gmail.com
Tue Feb 19 03:15:13 UTC 2013

On Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 12:10 PM, Yamokoski, JD (JSC-ER)[OCEANEERING SPACE
SYSTEMS] <john.d.yamokoski at nasa.gov> wrote:

Software as complex and as large as ROS will have some bumps and bruises at
> a major release - but from the outside looking in, it appears as though too
> much was changed in this release (as evidenced by the above plus the longer
> than normal release cycle). Sweeping changes are obviously needed to keep
> up with new use cases or changing requirements. But more care needs to be
> taken by those in the driver seat. With the size of the ROS community and
> its popularity, more weight should be given to minimizing disruption rather
> than favoring the hot new shiny stuff. Disruption breeds discontent -
> discontent leads to searching for alternatives. And the only way projects
> like ROS work is with a strong community involvement. For once, one of
> these component-based approaches to robotics has finally taken off (and
> history is full of failed previous attempts). I don't want to see it happen
> again.

Thanks for your perspective, John. I share your high hopes for ROS.

You are not the only one unhappy with the disruption caused by the catkin
build system migration in Fuerte and Groovy. But, some perspective may help
guide our frustrations into more-productive channels.

First, let me say that I applaud the hard work done by the small core group
of ROS developers who continue working very hard on this transition. I
suspect there are significantly fewer of them than most people here realize.

With the OSRF picking up responsibility for ROS from Willow Garage, there
may be additional disruptions, but there is also an opportunity to move
forward. I hope they will hire some more full-time developers to help those
who are working so hard already. Even more importantly, OSRF may be able to
mobilize the large contingent of competent, committed ROS community members
so we can contribute more effectively.

What can we do to help? The Hydro release is coming soon. It looks like
mostly a bug fix and stabilization distribution, which makes a lot of sense
at this point.  We can all contribute by opening issues to document every
single problem we encounter, providing patches to fix them whenever

As mentioned earlier in this thread, the ros.org/wiki and
answers.ros.orgsites are experiencing difficulties, too. Maybe they
have outgrown some of
their original design limitations. They clearly need lots of tender loving
care. This is one area in which more community involvement can certainly
help. We can fix many of those problems ourselves. Other problems may
require specialized access, but can be reported by whoever finds them:


I am not giving up on ROS, just because we've had a rough patch, lately.
And, I hope you won't, either.
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