[ros-users] ROS Release Timeline

Bill Smart smartw at engr.orst.edu
Fri May 31 19:14:26 UTC 2013

>  I just wanted to add a +1 to both Tully and all the folks at OSRF for
> polling the community on this issue and working to find a well-balanced
> solution.  It just confirms my belief that ROS is here to stay and will
> continue to take over the world. :-)

+1 to that +1

As for my thoughts, as an academic who runs a lab in a university with a

+1 on LTS support, also +1 on supporting for as much of the Ubuntu LTS
cycle as possible for a given ROS release
+1 on lengthening the ROS release cycle
Rationale: I don't like upgrading, since it takes away time from doing
research.  Stability is (generally) what I care about most.

-1 for supporting every Ubuntu release
Rationale: We have to draw the line somewhere, since there are limited
resources.  I'm personally fine with having to install a particular version
of Ubuntu for ROS, as long as I don't have to do it often.  I realize that
this means some people will have to change their Ubuntu versions, and that
this will cause some pain.  However, for me, this pain is outweighed by the
simplicity and better use of resources.

+1 for an LTS version of ROS
Rationale: Maybe this is outside of the regular release cycle, and perhaps
it's maintained by a subset of the community.  For a lot of things that I
do, I don't care what version of ROS I use.  My students often work on a
small part of the ecosystem, on a particular problem.  Having that be
stable is very valuable.  Having them be able to work on the same version
of ROS for their entire PhD has some value (for some suitable definition of
"the same version").  Yes, I'm talking about a 5-year support tied to the
Ubuntu LTS schedule.

+1 to thinking about other approaches
Rationale: Thibault's commend about thinking about a variable-length
release cycle is something we should think about.  Perhaps we should
release a new version when we're ready.  Of course, this means that we need
to think about what "ready" means (which robots are supported, etc).  I
haven't upgraded to groovy yet, because PR2 support wasn't in place until
recently.  I'll probably do the change next week, and would probably ignore
Hydro (on the old release schedule) until PR2 support was in place.
 Austin's doing great work with the PR2 support, but he's rate-limited.
I'd probably be happy if one of the release criteria were: works on {set of
robots including PR2 and Turtlebot}.

+10 for stability
Rationale: I want (my students) to spend time doing science, not installing
new versions of stuff and migrating code.  Even a week doing this every 6
months is (about) 5% of their time, which, over the course of a 5-year PhD
amounts to 3 months of upgrading.  That's another paper that they could
have written.

-- Bill
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