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Introducing the ROS 2 Technical Steering Committee

tsc

#1

tl;dr: I’m happy to announce the formation of the ROS 2 Technical Steering Committee! Look for updates to the roadmap, and please let us know if you want to participate.

Since the beginning of ROS, the project has been overseen and prioritized primarily by one organization, first Willow Garage and now Open Robotics. That approach has worked well enough, as evidenced by the widespread adoption of ROS around the world.

But with ROS 2, we want to broaden participation to accelerate ROS 2 delivery, starting with these areas: determining the roadmap, developing core tools and libraries, and establishing working groups to focus on important topics. To that end, we’ve established a Technical Steering Committee (TSC). As described in the charter, the TSC comprises representatives of organizations that are contributing to the development of ROS 2, and it has the responsibility to set the technical direction for the project.

The founding members of the ROS 2 TSC are:

  • Lou Amadio (Microsoft)
  • Matt Deminico (TARDEC)
  • Doug Fulop (Amazon)
  • Matt Hansen (Intel)
  • Seonman Kim (LG Electronics)
  • Karsten Knese (Bosch)
  • Dejan Pangercic (Apex.AI)
  • Matt Spencer (Arm)
  • Allison Thackston (Toyota Research Institute)
  • Dirk Thomas (Open Robotics)
  • Yoonseok Pyo (ROBOTIS)

We’re thrilled to have the support from and participation of such an esteemed group of people representing such a diverse set of organizations!

The TSC’s first order of business is updating the roadmap for the upcoming Crystal Clemmys release in December. Please watch the roadmap; we’re adding new features there regularly as we finalize the priorities and resource commitments. In addition, the TSC has already established two working groups, which are up and running: Navigation Working Group (NWG) and Security Working Group (SWG) (post forthcoming). Please join those discussions to participate.

We’re also working on updates to developer policies, such as enforcement of a Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) on contributions to core ROS 2 repositories.

The establishment of this TSC represents a significant milestone for ROS 2 that will accelerate development on the project, while ensuring focus on the features and use cases that will have the greatest impact.

Call to action:

  • As explained in the charter, the TSC is designed to grow over time with new members. Please contact us publicly via Discourse or privately via info@openrobotics.org if you’re interested in participating.
  • No single group can represent every perspective from across our large community, which means that we need to hear from you. Please use the tsc tag to flags topics for attention by the TSC, including proposing agenda items for the TSC’s monthly meetings.

brian.


#2

It would appear that the TSC founding members are coming almost exclusively from large companies or larg(ish) research organisations.

In addition, the charter states:

The minimum level of effort commitment required to qualify for TSC membership is 1 full-time equivalent (FTE).

Personally, I believe that quite a bit of what made ROS 1 “great” comes from the use by and contributions of individuals, hobbyists and academic users. ROS 2 is not there yet, but it’s difficult to imagine that such users would be able to commit to such levels of effort, which would seem to exclude them from participation.

Is there any provision for getting people from those user groups on the TSC? Is the follow-up sentence (“This level may be changed by the TSC via a standard TSC motion and vote”) meant to make this possible?

It would seem a shame if the direction of technical development of ROS 2 is completely determined by commercial entities.


#3

The TSC doesn’t have its own budget (members don’t pay fees to join), so it relies on the members’ ability to direct their organizations’ resources to follow up on decisions and execute plans. For that reason we chose a contribution threshold that demonstrates a significant investment in the open source platform.

We hope to see the same or greater participation from the broader community in ROS 2 development as we’ve enjoyed with ROS 1. The goal of the TSC is to accelerate ROS 2 development, and it won’t in any way preclude direct involvement in the project from anyone who wants to help.

As you’ve noted, the charter allows for the TSC to mange its membership and membership rules, which could include finding a way to include voices that are missing. But before trying to fix anything, I’d like to get enough experience with the new structure to ensure that we know what’s broken.


#4

Also, the working groups are a great place for all interested folks to get involved.


#5

:+1: to the initiative, so let’s see how this develops.

Perhaps in-kind contributions and a put your money (or FTE) where your mouth is approach can be a successful model for ROS 2.

Sure. Is there a point where an evaluation of the functioning of the TSC will be evaluated?


#6

@peteradams how to join the group ? I am in Beijing , China


#7

The TSC doesn’t have its own budget (members don’t pay fees to join), so it relies on the members’ ability to direct their organizations’ resources to follow up on decisions and execute plans. For that reason we chose a contribution threshold that demonstrates a significant investment in the open source platform.

There are plenty of decisions the TSC can currently take which do not need a lot of resources and can severely hurt the non-commercial user base of ROS. I am not too good at making up examples, but here are some still:

  • Change the license under which ROS is provided
  • Drop support for Linux
  • Drop support for free open-source DDS vendors
  • Drop support of Python
  • Stop publishing drivers for hardware from vendors not on the TSC

Maybe others can up with more realistic examples.

An simple majority alliance of e.g. Microsoft, Intel, Amazon in a single meeting of the TSC can make those decisions. And due to a loophole in the charter, those 3 could also by majority vote in such a meeting kick out all other TSC members.

The charter could afford OSRF something like a right to veto, to have a minimum protection of the interests on non TSC members as represented by OSRF (assuming good faith in OSRF for the sake of the argument).


#8

Even tho @tkruse post may seem a bit extremist on the examples, it does reflect a shared concern by other ROS(1&maybe2) users.