[ros-users] [Discourse.ros.org] [Packaging and Release Management] Releasing repositories form "other" people

Geoffrey Biggs ros.discourse at gmail.com
Tue May 9 03:31:58 UTC 2017

[quote="Daniel_Stonier, post:9, topic:1797"]
I also think a QA group is high overhead.

I think this depends on what a QA group has to do. If it's simply maintaining an infrastructure that tracks orphaned and abandoned packages and recruiting new maintainers, then that's a small workload, If, as @k-okada suggests, the work also includes making a release for each new ROS release, then the workload obviously grows, especially if people get lazy and start dumping packages onto the group instead of maintaining their packages themselves, but clear procedures and good management can help tame this. I think that expecting such a group to actually maintain the package by fixing bugs would be going too far.

I agree with @k-okada's experience, and I find it surprising that there are many packages that do not get released into a ROS release despite being apparently commonly used. I've run into the lack of a `usb_cam` release myself. `MoveIt` was a shocker for me; the idea that such a commonly-used set of packages could be absent from a ROS release for so long told me that not enough people really care about or use non-LTS ROS releases. Now, I accept that ROS is volunteer-driven, does not have the resources of a project like Debian, and is possibly not aiming to have the same sort of release as a Debian release. But I think that the problems with getting packages released and making a ROS release equivalent to the previous release _when it's released_ (and not 6 or 9 months later) is going to be an increasing problem and reflects poorly on the impression of ROS as quality software. I think that one of the things we can do to improve the situation is to assist with orphaned and aban
 doned packages so that they remain released and visible until a new maintainer is found. Another is to separate the burden of developing software in a package from the burden of releasing that software into a ROS release - not many Linux distributions ask software developers to build packages for them.

I fully agree with anyone who says that this is difficult because everyone is volunteers, but I don't think that's a good excuse to not try to improve the situation.

Another idea is possibly slowing down releases even more, to once every two years, with minor updates allowed except perhaps for core packages like `roscpp` (similar to how Debian settles on a kernel version and sticks with it until the next release two years later), but that's a separate discussion.

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