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ROS 1 and Python 2.7 End of Life

With Python 2.7 imminently nearing its official end of life in about 5 months, how does the ROS 1 community plan to address Python going forward? Many major projects are dropping support for Python 2.7 and this is starting to affect development, especially in the python-heavy deep learning area. Is the only official solution to transition to ROS2 and use Python3 or is there any effort to officially accommodate Python 3 in ROS 1?

My colleagues can offer more details, but we’ve committed to Python 3 support in ROS 1 Noetic in May 2020: Planning future ROS 1 distribution(s).

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Is there a timeframe for the Noetic buildfarm?

In order to setup the buildfarm the target platform Ubuntu 20.04 needs to be available. Usually the first version is available a couple of weeks after the previous release. So I would guess around end of October.

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Is there any plan to update Melodic core packages to “officially support” Python3 or is Python3 support already pervasive in the core packages?

I am also interested in this, I have been trying to develop a package using Python 3 but it has been a little difficult with some important dependencies, like tf2_ros.

The short answer is no. We never change the targeted environment in an already released distro.

Since some platforms (like Arch and Gentoo) already use Python 3 the majority of the core is already working with Python 3. But there are certainly parts which don’t yet and have to be updated for Noetic.

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If it helps at all, here’s a small Docker recipe for building ROS1 Python C extensions for Python 3 if they already support it: (geared towards Bazel on Ubuntu Bionic, but can be repurposed)