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

Geoffrey Biggs ros.discourse at gmail.com
Mon Nov 13 03:23:54 UTC 2017

I think that the author has missed an important benefit of ROS for developers of robot applications: the tools.

The author is building a robot with only concern for the hardware and the low-level embedded software that drives it. This is a use case that ROS is not particularly well suited for. They can be considered correct in arguing that ROS is not for them. (ROS 2 is, or perhaps will be, a different story.)

But for someone building an application on top of a robot platform, ROS offers something very important: an integrated tool chain with many different tools that can help you design, introspect and debug your software. This may not be relevant when building the hardware-driving embedded software (or it might be, depending on how you work), but it is very relevant when you are dealing with complex data flows and data-processing or planning algorithms that need debugging but aren't easy to debug when the output is a wall of numbers. Having tools like rosbag and rviz and rqt_* available can massively reduce the difficulty in developing robot software.

I'm not with a company, but a comment I have heard several times from people who are is that this is the value they get from ROS. They don't use it because there are lots of existing nodes available (another comment is often that they don't want those nodes because they are not reliable enough to go into a product). For them, the value is in the improvements in the robot development process provided by having an integration framework with a wide range of tools available that already work. I would be interested in hearing from the company people here what the most important value proposition of ROS is for them.

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