Meta-ros BoF at ROSCon2022

Hi all,

For those interested in discussing meta-ros,
meta-ros is Yocto Linux based ROS/ROS2 layers that were maintained until mid-2022 by LG (kudos). We want to talk about further steps in supporting meta-ros by the community.

Please join a Birds of a Feather session at ROSCon 2022 happening on Day 1 during Break 2 (1510-1540 JST). We’ll meet at “Humble” which is 1F near the Main Hall, see ROSCon 2022 for the map and ROSCon2022BOFs schedule.

See you at ROSCon 2022!

We held a meta-ros BoF during ROSCon 2022 and managed to make some progress and get community consensus among the interested parties. This post summarizes that discussion and attempts to push things forward.

Context

meta-ros packs together Yocto/OpenEmbedded layers for ROS 1 and ROS 2. Rationale is that instead of relying on common development-oriented Linux distros (such as Debian or Ubuntu), Yocto allows you to build a customized Linux system for your use case. This helps provide additional capabilities at the OS-level, including security and real-time.

Many companies looking to use ROS in production-grade robotic systems rely on meta-ros however there’re very few contributing back actively (read more about the relevance of meta-ros here).

Summary of the discussion:

  • Overall lack of awareness about Yocto in the ROS community (discussion about why hinted various reasons including performance improvements, security or real-time needs, among others).
  • Debian-based distros (including Ubuntu) remain the most demanded ones by the general ROS and ROS 2 public. Open Robotics has no current plans to extend the buildfarm to produce Yocto/OE binaries.
    • future extensions of tooling may create recipes automatically within the release packages that Open Robotics mantains. This however is a not a group/community ask since Yocto builds are often tied to a particular vendor/use case and require relevant engineering to meet requirements.
  • superflore doing a good job at generating recipes however producing a new release requires a significant engineering effort to polish all recipes so that builds happen without too many hurdles (see effort at ROS 2 Humble Hawksbill - honister branch by vmayoral · Pull Request #1003 · ros/meta-ros · GitHub).
  • Maintaining recipes is currently a community effort. No individual group/company has commited to take over this at the moment.
  • Pending PRs that need to move forward:
  • Future work to be evaluated:
  • There’re currently no active maintainers in the meta-ros package with privileges. We need to unblock this situation. The ROS infrastructure team could help.
  • There’s currently no funded secured nor commitment for enabling future ROS 2 releases. The group however agrees that I’d be nice to maintain at least ROS 2 LTS releases (for now, Humble).

Action items

  • Push notes of the meeting to discourse
  • Ask for additional community input/feedback (please share your views below)
  • Address the lack of active maintainers and give privileges to individuals who committed to address existing work. Namely:
    • Víctor Mayoral-Vilches (GitHub: vmayoral)
    • Andrei Kholodnyi (GitHub: razr)

There doesn’t seem to be additional community input. Ping ROS infrastructure maintainers.

Any chance we can get a reaction in here?