What is a Distribution?

A ROS distribution is a versioned set of ROS packages. These are akin to Linux distributions (e.g. Ubuntu). The purpose of the ROS distributions is to let developers work against a relatively stable codebase until they are ready to roll everything forward. Therefore once a distribution is released, we try to limit changes to bug fixes and non-breaking improvements for the core packages (every thing under ros-desktop-full). And generally that applies to the whole community, but for "higher" level packages, the rules are less strict, and so it falls to the maintainers of a given package to avoid breaking changes.

We capture the components that make up a distribution in our rosdistro format and it allows for multiple distributions. There are many different types of robots with different needs, and we anticipate that parts of the community may put together their own distributions in the future to better target these platforms.

List of Distributions

Distro

Release date

Poster

Tuturtle, turtle in tutorial

EOL date

ROS Kinetic Kame

May, 2016

TDB

TDB

May, 2021

ROS Jade Turtle
(Recommended for Latest)

May 23rd, 2015

Jade Turtle

Jade Turtle

May, 2017

ROS Indigo Igloo
(Recommended for Stability)

July 22nd, 2014

I-turtle

I-turtle

April, 2019
(Trusty EOL)

ROS Hydro Medusa

September 4th, 2013

H-turtle

H-turtle

May, 2015

ROS Groovy Galapagos

December 31, 2012

G-turtle

G-turtle

July, 2014

ROS Fuerte Turtle

April 23, 2012

F-turtle

F-turtle

--

ROS Electric Emys

August 30, 2011

E-turtle

E-turtle

--

ROS Diamondback

March 2, 2011

D-turtle

D-turtle

--

ROS C Turtle

August 2, 2010

C-turtle

C-turtle

--

ROS Box Turtle

March 2, 2010

B-turtle

B-turtle

--

Distribution Details

The details on the distributions and versions of common dependencies and other considerations, see the official Target Platforms REP:

Release Schedule

Release rules:

  • There is a ROS release every year in May.
  • Releases on even numbered years will be a LTS release, supported for five years.
  • Releases on odd numbered years are normal ROS releases, supported for two years.
  • ROS releases will drop support for EOL Ubuntu distributions, even if the ROS release is still supported.

Side effects of the release policy:

  • Every ROS release will be supported on exactly one Ubuntu LTS.
  • Releases on odd numbered years will share a common Ubuntu release with the LTS ROS release of the previous year.
  • LTS releases will not share a common Ubuntu release with any previous releases.
  • ROS releases will not add support for new Ubuntu distributions after their release date.

These simplified rules and side effects are subject to change with changes to the underlying Ubuntu release policy.

For more details see the official Release Policy.

Which distribution to use

A rather arbitrary list of usecase driven recommendations.

Functionality

Major Update Frequency

Recommended distro

Preferable but not required

Not appreciated

Latest LTS (Indigo)

Very preferable

Acceptable

Latest (Jade)

Very preferable

Not appreciated

Switch to the latest LTS every 2 year

Specific Ubuntu platform is required other than 14.04

See REP-3

Newer Gazebo is needed

Use Jade for Gazebo v5 (Indigo supports v2)

I want to use OpenCV3

Indigo or later

Wiki: Distributions (last edited 2015-07-14 06:46:10 by GvdHoorn)