Interesting article, indeed … also, I agree with most of what people wrote so far. However, I have to disagree with one statement “ROS has a steep learning curve / is difficult to learn”. That’s simply wrong from my point of view. Let me tell you why.
I am working at the University for quite some time now (probably too long ). I watched numerous students come and go. In general, we try to inspire young people to study robotics by giving them the opportunity to play with real (physical) robots and ultimately implement and integrate their very own small project(s).
I have never ever had a student that was not able to get familiar with ROS. I am not saying catkin workspaces are the holy grail. What I like to point out is that the ROS community and tutorials are something that is “already out there” and that is updated regularly — we, as the “teachers” don’t need to provide all that.
Moreover, most student projects require a basic software stack that exceeds what can be done by a single student in one term, e.g., writing a camera grabber/driver, image conversion and depth processing, state machine design, you name it. Once a student is familiar with how ROS works, e.g., wrt to workspace layout and compiling/building and deployment, he or she can push the project really fast.
Of course, we could have come up with our own workspace strategy and use existing (ideally) build tools like CMake (not catkin CMake login), but then diversity kicks in. Some students prefer C/C++, okay no problem using ROS, some prefer Python (more and more students actually prefer Python over C/C++), okay again, they can use the same framework, integrate easily and most importantly they can easily interface.
To make a point here, IMHO ROS is extremely useful in the education domain.
Well, is “the ROS way” is the right way? Probably not (IDK), because as some already said we need to tackle the problems on a lower level. Do we make the situation worse by teaching them “the wrong way”? IDK. But, as long as it works, and ROS does work on that level, I am happy about it. Maybe this post does not address the original topic (ROS for industrial applications) but I wanted to share these thoughts with you.