[ros-users] [Discourse.ros.org] [General] Proposed changes to the ROS releases

Nikolaus Demmel ros.discourse at gmail.com
Thu May 24 22:59:31 UTC 2018

I know I'm a bit late to the party. In principle the idea of LTS release + rolling release makes a lot of sense to me. However, I have some questions about the proposed release process, test coverage and availability of debian packages. (You mentioned the fat tar of compiled packages for the latest Ubuntu version, but I wounder how much use that would actually be.)

[quote="clalancette, post:1, topic:4736"]
* * The buildfarm would *not* produce any Debian packages for the rolling ROS distro (in order to not require running bloom for future Ubuntu distros).

The justification sounds like a technical limitation of the tooling, rather than a desired limitation in the process. I know too little of the technical details of bloom to judge how and with how much effort it could be realized, but would it not be possible to update bloom to directly support this, meaning that a release in the rolling ROS distro would automatically be "transferred" / "made available" to the latest Ubuntu version, once that is added, such that the build farm could build binaries?

Releasing a package to the rolling distro would probably mean blooming it. How exactly would packages be transferred from the rolling release to the new LTS and the rolling release after that? I.e. would maintainers every two years take the latest version of the package in the rolling release and explicitly release it for the LTS, or would that be automatic based on the current rolling release? Would the new rolling release be based on the now newly created LTS release (after some specific time?) or would the rolling release simply continue like before the LTS? In the latter case, what happens to old / abandoned packages? They would continue to be the rolling release even if they are no longer working / supported?

As mentioned, most users are using Ubuntu LTS. In order to ensure test coverage of the rolling release, would it not make sense to support the last Ubuntu LTS at least for some time (> 6 months)? I guess the issue is that at some point packages once Ubuntu LTS+1 is out, some packages might want to switch to require newer system dependencies. Would it make sense to at least have the guideline that the core packages should try to continue to work on the latest LTS as long as possible, maybe for 12 or 18 months, before braking ties and switching to newer dependencies in preparation for the new Ubuntu / ROS LTS? If there was any way to make binary packages available at least for the compatible subset of packages for the rolling ROS release on the current Ubuntu LTS for as long as possible, that would probably help to increase test coverage as well. However, I understand that this might add quite a bit of complexity to processes and tools.

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