[ros-users] ROS Development Survey

Brian Gerkey gerkey at osrfoundation.org
Wed Sep 24 19:12:30 UTC 2014

To add OSRF's perspective directly:

Indeed, we coordinated with Clearpath on this survey, with the
motivation to figure out what demand there is in the community for
paid support services.  It's something that we've heard about
anecdotally over the years, but on which we don't yet have enough data
for somebody to make an informed business decision.  If there enough
demand, we want companies (among them Clearpath) to offer those
support services to foster further ROS adoption, to provide a better
experience for users, and, ideally, to provide some amount of
financial support to OSRF for our core development efforts.

We have no intention of changing OSRF into a service/support
organization; that's an incredibly useful role for a company to play,
but it's not what we do.  We spend our time doing the core development
that makes ROS and Gazebo fundamentally better.  But to do that, we of
course need to pay salaries.

To date, we've been funded primarily by generous grants and contracts
from US government agencies.  While we don't anticipate any near-term
change in that source of support, we are working to diversify our
funding portfolio.  Part of our belief in creating OSRF was that, as
more companies come to rely on the tools that we create, we'll gain
financial support from industry.  That is beginning to happen, as you
can see from the expanding list of OSRF sponsors:
http://www.osrfoundation.org/sponsors (and ROSCon sponsors:
http://roscon.ros.org/2014/sponsors/).  The outlook is good, but we're
still looking for more and broader support; hence our interest in
exploring the possibility of paid support services.

By the way, OSRF is a non-profit organization, granted tax-exempt
status by the US government as a public charity (under IRS code
501(c)(3)).  We gratefully accept donations, from individuals and
organizations.  If you'd like to directly support our work, please
donate today:



On Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 5:58 AM, Ryan Gariepy
<rgariepy at clearpathrobotics.com> wrote:
> Hi Daniele, all,
> In short, Clearpath shares your feelings and goals, and I believe the OSRF
> does as well.
> In long:
> In our discussions with OSRF leading up to this survey, our primary
> consideration was maintaining and expanding the current ROS community and
> infrastructure much as it is today. The best way to do that is to plan for
> years in advance and assume that the various grants and contracts which
> allowed the OSRF to start up in a sustainable way will at some point stop.
> Thus, it follows that OSRF must find sources of revenue elsewhere, or else
> become a contract software shop itself. Working on contracts is much less in
> service of the OSRF's mission than begin able to work on fully
> community-directed projects.
> In discussions both at OSRF and Clearpath, we came to the conclusion that
> the majority of the major institutions and businesses which are receiving
> value from ROS will nonetheless be unable to simply donate to the OSRF.
> Therefore, we need to provide a way where funding the OSRF makes business
> sense. Support and other similar efforts are beneficial in particular
> because though support efforts may be for specific clients at first, the
> improved documentation, knowledge base, and bugfixes can benefit the entire
> community.
> And, to address another question which will likely be going through a few
> people's minds: Clearpath is taking these first steps because we too heavily
> rely on ROS, we understand the needs of the community, and we already have
> the infrastructure to make this happen (since we already provide support for
> hundreds of ROS users). Though we will no doubt make a profit on this
> endeavour, that is not our primary goal. Our own long term plans depend on
> ROS & the ROS community continuing to grow in the way it already has,
> therefore we must do what we can to make this possible.
> Most importantly, if we go forward with offering services like this
> ourselves, we intend that a share of the profit goes to the OSRF to directly
> support core development efforts. We believe we're the right team to provide
> support to these large companies, but OSRF should continue to be the nucleus
> of the ROS community. A general outline of that arrangement will be made
> available to the ROS community if and when we take those next steps.
> I hope this helps.
> -Ryan
> .
> On Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 7:07 AM, Daniele Calisi <daniele.calisi at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Dear Ryan,
>> it is clear that Clearpath and OSRF wants to be paid in the near future,
>> for their knowledge about ROS. It's fine for me, all work should be paid
>> somehow. What is my concern, anyway, is that this would change the goals of
>> ROS, that so far has been the first Open Source framework widely adopted
>> used in the world.
>> On Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 7:37 PM, Ryan Gariepy
>> <rgariepy at clearpathrobotics.com> wrote:
>>> Hello ROS users!
>>> Clearpath Robotics, an early adopter of ROS, is working with the Open
>>> Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) to determine how the worldwide ROS
>>> development community can best be supported. This may be via support
>>> services, resources, or tools offered by the OSRF or community
>>> members. Now is your opportunity to let us know what you need and how
>>> Clearpath and OSRF can work together to best support you.
>>> Please take a moment to complete this short survey:
>>> http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/clearpathrobotics-B/ros-development-survey-final/
>>> --
>>> Ryan Gariepy | CTO | Clearpath Robotics, Inc.
>>> 1425 Strasburg Road, Unit 2A | Kitchener, Ontario | N2R 1H2 Canada
>>> T:  +1 (800) 301-3863 x802 | F: +1 (888) 374-0091 | E:
>>> rgariepy at clearpathrobotics.com | W: www.clearpathrobotics.com
>>> Your Unmanned Experts TM
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>> --
>> Daniele "MadMage" Calisi
>> "Your limit is always a bit beyond"
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