ROS Distributions: Box Turtle Release

Box Turtle

We are excited to announce that our first ROS Distribution, "Box Turtle", is ready for you to download. We hope that regular distribution releases will increase the stability and adoption of ROS.

A ROS Distribution is just like a Linux distribution: it provides a broad set of libraries that are tested and released together. Box Turtle contains the many 1.0 libraries that were recently released. The 1.0 libraries in Box Turtle have stable APIs and will only be updated to provide bug fixes. We will also make every effort to maintain backwards-compatibility when we do our next release, "C Turtle".

There are many benefits of a distribution. Whether you're a developer trying to choose a consistent set of ROS libraries to develop against, an instructor needing a stable platform to develop course materials against, or an administrator creating a shared install, distributions make the process of installing and releasing ROS software a more straightforward process. The Box Turtle release will allow you to easily get bug fixes, without worry about new features breaking backwards compatibility.

With this Box Turtle release, installing ROS software is easier than ever before with Ubuntu debian packages. You can now "apt-get install" ROS and its many libraries. We've been using this capability at Willow Garage to install ROS on all of our robots. Our plugs team was able to write their revamped code on top of the Box Turtle libraries, which saved them time and provided greater stability.

Box Turtle includes two variants: "base" and "pr2". The base variant contains our core capabilities and tools, like navigation and visualization. The pr2 variant comes with the libraries we use on our shared installs for the PR2, as well as the libraries necessary for running the PR2 in simulation. Robots vary much more than personal computers, and we expect that future releases will include variants to cover other robot hardware platforms.

We have new installation instructions for ROS Box Turtle. Please try them out and let us know what you think!