[ros-users] ROS Release Timeline

Benjamin Cohen bencohen2 at gmail.com
Fri May 31 02:20:05 UTC 2013

+1 to slowing down the release cycle. I think I can also say that on behalf
of 4-5 of my lab mates as well.

-- ben

On Thu, May 30, 2013 at 10:06 PM, Ryan Gariepy <
rgariepy at clearpathrobotics.com> wrote:

> Hi Tully,
> Just wanted to note a +1 to slowing the release cycle down.
> -R
> On Thu, May 30, 2013 at 7:46 PM, Tully Foote <tfoote at osrfoundation.org>wrote:
>> *
>> Hi Everyone,
>> As a follow up to the survey we circulated last month I'd like to start a
>> discussion of what the best timeline for ROS releases would be.
>> As a reminder of the survey results see:
>> https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzNmzxy4pVGMZHd2b1BSWVlHVHM/edit
>> We've had many discussions here at OSRF about these results and have come
>> up with a few candidates which seem reasonable.  I'll outline the logic
>> behind how we got to them and would like to hear what you think.
>> Starting out based on the survey.  We had a majority of respondants
>> prefering a 12 month release cycle and a plurality of respondants
>> preferring a 24 month support period.  These two number nicely allign with
>> our current practice of having two supported ROS distributions at a time
>> with one ROS distribution in development, however just with a longer
>> release cycle.  This amount of parallel development is about all that we
>> think we can support as a community.  So based on this I think there's a
>> relatively clear mandate to change the ROS release cycle to every 12 months
>> with 24 months of support, allowing 12 months of overlap between releases
>> for transition.
>> We've put together a nice graphic see ros.svg
>> Unfortunately the problem is not quite as simple as the above graphic
>> shows as we need to build on top of other platforms.  Ubuntu has recently
>> updated their planned release cycle to support LTS for 5 years, but non-LTS
>> releases for only 9 months while maintaining their 6 month release cycle.
>>  See: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Releases
>> This can be seen in ubuntu.svg
>> This change for Ubuntu unfortunately makes our nice clean plan above much
>> harder as it is impossible to support a release for anywhere near close to
>> 24 months on non-LTS Ubuntu distros.
>> We started out be assuming we'd release ROS in the spring to coincide
>> with the LTS Ubuntu Release.  If we're planning a 1 year release cycle, the
>> quick answer is that for the intervening 6 month Ubuntu Release the last
>> ROS release is ported forward.  This can be done with a minimal effort by
>> following the Ubuntu by about 1 month, enabling a ROS release to be built
>> against the current release and the upcoming pre-release Ubuntu. (Based on
>> past experiences prebuilds of Ubuntu releases are available shortly after
>> the previous release has come out.) With this basic outline we can release
>> ROS each spring and support two Ubuntu distros each.
>> In recognition of the fact that many users only use LTS on their robots
>> we then thought to add a backport of the ROS release with LTS+2 to build on
>> the LTS.  However the fact that the LTS+2 release will also be built on the
>> LTS+3 makes supporting this spanning set very hard because LTS+3 is usually
>> the staging grounds for large changes to get into the next LTS release.
>> To see this see graphic ubuntu_ros.svg
>> To resolve this there are many options.  We could consider dropping
>> support for LTS+3 to resolve the large spanning set.  Another option is to
>> simply support the LTS Ubuntu Releases since the non LTS release cycles are
>> now so short, making our 24 month support cycle much easier.
>> You will note in this process that we have decreased the matrix of ROS vs
>> Ubuntu packages.  This is purposeful as we've identified supporting the
>> large matrix of ROS vs Ubuntu distros as a significant burden on the
>> community.  Our sketch is laid out to support two major use cases, a stable
>> developer who wants to stick to the LTS Ubuntu release and the cutting edge
>> user who wants the latest version of ROS on the latest Ubuntu distro.
>> Besides the provided Debian package it is always easily possible to build
>> a ROS distribution from source. It only requires running a handful of
>> commands.  A complete build of desktop-full takes about 3-4 hours of
>> compilation time on a recent Intel i7 machine. This is the workflow that
>> every non-Ubuntu user uses which has been continuously improved as we have
>> upgraded the core tools.
>> And the last consideration is when should we release Hydro, we have close
>> to half the packages for Hydro released and I know many of the remaining
>> packages which were in the initial groovy release are preparing for the
>> hydro release at the moment.  From the considerations of synchronizing with
>> Ubuntu LTS it seems like a good target for Indigo Igloo will be April/May
>> 2014 leaving us 11 months from now.  As a straw man for Hydro I'd propose
>> July giving the Indigo cycle 9 months following Hydro 7 months to ease us
>> into the 12 month cycle.
>> Please let us know your thoughts?
>> Tully
>> *
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