Although not commonly thought about, except when something breaks, the infrastructure provided by the OSRF for the developer and user communities is an integral part of all our other projects. It provides the build farm used to compile and prepare the binary packages, the computing power for continuous integration (both the manual kind and the
Rpr automatic kind), and the management of many of the websites that help the community to collaborate.
Until the end of last year, this infrastructure was managed and payed for almost exclusively by the Open Source Robotics Corporation, funded by its engineering consulting activities. That all changed when OSRC was acquired by Intrinsic, leaving the OSRF behind. In the few months since then the OSRF has been working with former OSRC engineers to transition the infrastructure management into a core OSRF activity, as well as hiring two dedicated engineers to work on buildfarm maintenance activities. Although those engineers are amazing, it’s a cut from the amount of on-staff engineering time OSRC had dedicated to infrastructure-related activities. The OSRF has been relying on volunteers (primarily former OSRC engineers now at Intrinsic, for which we are very grateful to Intrinsic for providing their time) to fill in the gaps in staffing and keep the infrastructure ticking over.
Obviously this is not a satisfactory long-term situation, and for that reason the OSRF would like to have more community involvement in maintaining and improving the infrastructure we all depend on. As part of achieving this, the OSRF is starting a new Project Committee for Infrastructure.
The PC for Infrastructure’s initial responsibilities will primarily be:
- management of the OSRF Infrastructure;
- management of committer access rights to infrastructure-related repositories;
- setting and managing project policies (requirements for pull requests, etc.);
- identifying how to improve the infrastructure and managing the implementation of those improvements; and
- Helping respond to incidents, in conjunction with OSRF staff.
The PC will be comprised of:
- OSRF CTO or their designated representative, for oversight;
- committee chair, appointed by OSRF;
- project committers; and
- representatives of other OSRF projects.
The Chair is responsible for running the project, organising the Project Committee meetings, and making regular activity reports (including to the wider ROS community). Project committers are those people who have earned the right to merge changes into the code used by the infrastructure and make changes to the infrastructure itself. They contribute to discussion on design and implementation decisions, and in general help to maintain and develop the infrastructure day-to-day. Project Committers are the decision-makers of the project. New Project Committers are appointed by the Chair at the recommendation of existing Project Committers. Project Committers are required to demonstrate continued participation in the project.
The PC for Infrastructure will be chaired by Steven! Ragnarök, formerly at OSRC, where he lead the Infrastructure team, and now at Intrinsic. The following additional people have agreed to be on the PC.
- Jose Rivero, project committer
- Scott Logan, project committer
- Cristobal Arroyo, project committer
- Jorge Perez, project committer
- Clara Berendsen, project committer
- Chris Lalancette, ROS representative
- Addisu Taddese, Gazebo representative
- Michael X Grey, Open-RMF representative
We look forward to the PC for Infrastructure getting to work making the lives of ROS, Gazebo and Open-RMF users and developers easier.
If you are interested in helping out with the OSRF Infrastructure, please get in touch with myself or with Steven!. In addition to technical contributions, we will also have additional ways for the community to help out with the infrastructure in the near future.
CTO, Open Source Robotics Foundation