[ros-users] [Discourse.ros.org] [General] Why don't we use ROS?

Lennart Nachtigall ros.discourse at gmail.com
Sun Nov 12 15:39:27 UTC 2017

That's a really interesting article with some well-founded arguments against ROS. I had this kind of discussion (a little bit different because we are targeting modular robots) just on last friday. 
When I started to take a deeper look into robotics I was strictly against ROS in the beginning, because my experience was: It is hard to learn, hard to integrate into an existing non-ROS software stack (custom build system makes it difficult to integrate, you need to start a roscore), and I couldn't get it working on a system other than ubuntu. Furthermore (this is an issue I still see today) most software that is written for a ROS software integrates ROS in a way that you can't use it without ROS even if it is just a hardware driver. For example we have a Sick TIM5xx laser scanner. The driver is quite well written, but it took a lot of work to use it without ROS. 

In case of an system that comes from an single vendor, where you've got the control about all parts like in your case I think it is totaly valid to say, we don't need to use ROS. Also we all might agree that there are a lot of problems ROS introduces. (Some I mentioned before) 

But the whole point of using ROS is, that you want modularity, agility and you can rely on a whole lot of ready to use components (Let's take for example the very powerful TF2 components). Furthermore (as stated in your article) it introduces standard messages for certain kinds of data. That means I can simply replace a Sick Laserscanner with a Hokoyu, start the fitting driver and the system still works. 

I don't know what kind of robot system you build, but in case other people want to integrate it into their own environment ROS might be a huge advantage.

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