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Title:ROS 1.4 Release Schedule
Author:Ken Conley <kwc at willowgarage.com>


This REP describes the ROS 1.4 release schedule. The schedule primarily concerns itself with large-impact additions. For general high-level planning, see the ROS Roadmap [1]. As per general ROS stack development guidelines, features for ROS 1.4 will be developed in the ROS 1.3.x release cycle and finalized for ROS 1.4.0.

Release Schedule

The schedule below is tentative. The target date for the ROS Diamondback distribution in February, 2011. Features for ROS 1.4 may be shifted to ROS 1.6 as appropriate to meet the Diamondback distribution release schedule.

  • Early September, 2010: rx stack release, new release system testing
  • Late September, 2010: First rosh release
  • Mid October, 2010: ros/ros_comm separation, roslisp message generator rewrite
  • November, 2010: ros and ros_comm stacks feature freeze
  • December, 2010: First rxlab release
  • January, 2010: rx stack feature freeze
  • Release candidate

Features for ROS 1.4

  • ROS stack separation into ros, rx, ros_comm, and documentation stacks (REP 100 [2], tfoote, kwc)
  • New external stack release system [5], new rosdistro format (leibs, kwc, tfoote)
  • rosh [3] : basic release with support for topics, services, and parameters (kwc)
  • rxlab [4] GUI tool (tfield)
  • rospy client reconnection (kwc)
  • rosbuild install target prototype (gerkey)
  • Python message generators for roslisp (bhaskara)
  • rosbag speed optimization (lazy index loading; multi-threaded read/write) and compression (message reordering; gzip) (leibs, tfield)
  • rosbag service APIs (leibs, tfield)

Optional Features for ROS 1.4

Optional features are "nice-to-haves" but are not considered critical path for this release, nor do they impact downstream components. They will be scheduled if time permits.

  • roslaunch-console [6] (kwc)
  • ROS master Redis-protoype with TTL and master replication (kwc)
  • redo ROS/OS X platform integration to use easy_install for Python dependencies, drop support for OSX 10.4 (kwc, tfoote)


The ROS 1.4 release has several main thrusts:

  • Separating the ROS stack into smaller components
  • Incorporating community stacks into ROS distributions
  • New rapid prototyping tools for ROS-based code (rosh, rxlab)

Of these thrusts, separation of the ROS stack is expected to have the broadest impact. It should enable the ROS packaging and build system to be used outside of ROS, and it will also help with integration on other platforms (e.g. embedded, OS X, Windows). The motivation and rationale are better described in REP 100 [2].

Incorporating community stacks is a priority as there are over 30 ROS repositories now. Having a shared mechanism for release and distribution will enable the community to more easily exchange libraries, including helping address issues of versioning and system configuration. This will also be a test for future developments in the release system, such as supporting alternate distributions (e.g. distributions for specific robot platforms or research areas).

rosh and rxlab are being designed as complementary tools for rapid prototyping. rosh is a Python- and IPython-based framework with that enables tab-completion on ROS resources (e.g. topics, services, parameters, actions, transforms. rxlab is a Python GUI framework that enables creation of "networks" within a single Python process to do a variety of tasks, such as creating image-processing pipelines. It is similar to frameworks such as Simulink, but is targeted at ROS libraries like OpenCV. rosh and rxlab are being built on top of the existing Python toolchain as they provide many of the necessary libraries for dynamic introspection in a ROS graph.

Backwards Compatibility

The ROS backwards compatibility guidelines require that ROS 1.4 being fully backwards compatible with ROS 1.2. The main concern for this release will be ensuring that the separation of the ROS stack into three stacks will not an existing code to break. This will likely require additional resources and files to remain with the base "ros" stack in the 1.4 release, but deprecated so that they can be removed in the 1.6 release.