[ros-users] [Discourse.ros.org] [Packaging and Release Management] Time for reviewing ROS distro release cycle?

Isaac I. Y. Saito ros.discourse at gmail.com
Mon Sep 25 07:05:01 UTC 2017

Is/was there any discussion regarding ROS distro release cycle, particularly about non-LTS?

Thanks to the [2017 metrics report](https://discourse.ros.org/t/the-2017-ros-metrics-report/2659) we can tell that 80+% of downloads are for LTS (Indigo, Kinetic) while less than 6% non-LTS packages are fetched:

- Indigo: 32.43 % (Long Term Support Release)
- Jade: 2.22 %
- Kinetic: 50.08 % (Long Term Support Release)
- Lunar: 3.41 %

While I do not know what these figures exactly mean, I think it's safe to say the great majority of users are using LTS.

Are we going to stick to the current release cycle? I.e. non-LTS releases on odd numbered years?

[This wiki](http://wiki.ros.org/Distributions/ReleasePolicy) summarizes the huge discussion last time we had where we decided the current release cycle as a result. Almost 4? years passed since then, with the metrics result above, it's worth reviewing the release cycle IMO.

Personally I support simply dropping the non-LTS and only focusing on LTS every 2 year. That way ROS core team will have more time on other important work, so do non-core package maintainers and developers. We would have less test bed opportunities for new features, but I don't know how much we have to prioritize it now that we saw the metrics.
Maintenance effort for non-core packages that are missing in newer distros has been always an issue; we've recently seen topics like [1](https://discourse.ros.org/t/releasing-repositories-form-other-people/1797/18), [2](https://discourse.ros.org/t/lack-of-a-velodyne-release/2734/1). Dropping non-LTS could help.

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