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Should I use Hydro or Indigo for my new project?

asked 2014-07-15 22:49:27 -0500

JWest gravatar image

Ok, I have downloaded and tried many of the tutorials and I am sold on using ROS/Gazebo for my robotics project at my community college.

I am starting everything from scratch so I would just like some advise on whether I should install Ubuntu 12.04/Hydro or 14.04/Indigo.

I prefer Ubuntu 14.04 but I don't want to commit to Indigo if there are likely to be big problems down the road. So basically I need to know if Indigo is stable enough for me to commit to using it. Since I am at a school, I don't mind doing a bit of Beta testing for the new release, but I can't afford to be fighting with a lot of broken or missing features.

Thanks, Jonathan West Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute.

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answered 2014-07-16 13:10:01 -0500

Dirk Thomas gravatar image

The choice between Hydro / 12.04 and Indigo / 14.04 is yours. If both distros have all the ROS packages you need for your project you basically trade better tested with longer support.

I would not recommend Groovy at this point. As soon as Indigo is released (which will likely be within a week) Groovy will be end-of-life and therefore not receive any kind of updates / fixes anymore.

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Thanks. My project is going to be running for several years, so I would favor a long term solution. If Indigo is about to be released it sounds like it may be my best best. Are there currently any major features missing from Indigo that I should know about?

JWest gravatar image JWest  ( 2014-07-16 14:21:03 -0500 )edit

Well, "missing" is not the word, but important change: OpenCV - if I remember well - is no longer part of the deal (cannot really say "distribution"), having to be installed separately. This might affect your plans for the rovers.

ccapriotti gravatar image ccapriotti  ( 2014-07-16 15:34:41 -0500 )edit

opencv is not longer packaged with ROS in indigo since it is available as a normal Ubuntu package on trusty, so that is not a limitation.

demmeln gravatar image demmeln  ( 2014-07-16 18:02:16 -0500 )edit

Well, yeah, for ubuntu users and x86 architecture, it may not be a limitation, and, since the main devices here, on this question, are notebook-driven, your point is valid. Still, in a ROS-related discussion, yes, it becomes a limiting factor for several other platforms and "quick" implementation.

ccapriotti gravatar image ccapriotti  ( 2014-07-17 16:40:24 -0500 )edit

@ccapriotti, fair enough, point taken that it might not be as seemless. However, you should be able to (I haven't tried this) just build and install the hydro variant of opencv, if you want even using caktin_make_isolated, and then build indigo on top.

demmeln gravatar image demmeln  ( 2014-07-18 19:34:52 -0500 )edit

My point being opencv should not be an argument against indigo.

demmeln gravatar image demmeln  ( 2014-07-18 19:35:07 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-07-16 01:17:58 -0500

ccapriotti gravatar image

updated 2014-07-16 15:31:38 -0500

Hello, Jonathan.

I was going over a few of your previous posts, and your project starts...well, NOW. July.

There are still a few things pending on Indigo, as far as i could see, and there is a small chance it could jam your project, just because it is not solved in time.

Solution here is not the one my heart would love (bleeding edge latest, because new is better, right ? ) but the sensible one instead: rock solid performance, on stable, well known platform.

I would go for 12.04 and Hydro. At least you have a lot of people with experience to support you here.

Besides, U 14.04, with the the graphical-rich GUI, is using more resources than previous versions. You might want to consider Lubuntu, or other light-weigh variations (of 12.04). Or even run w/o GUI at all.

On the flip side, how long will this project last ? If it will go on and on for years, then it might be worth taking your chances with 14.04 and indigo, but always keep in mind: new software usually takes more resources, and you seem to have limited resources. But, then again, it is a good way to simulate a mission to mars. (What a dream project).

Note: for the implementation of network latency and bandwidth, I would suggest a FreeBSD server with the "pipe" implementation on ipfw, the native firewall, per IP address (of the bots/rovers). Fixed, and locked to the MAC address, just in case you have some little hacker among your students ;)

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Thanks for the input. To clarify, I will have 2 platforms: The rovers will have small laptops and will only communicate via network, so GUI-less would be fine there. They will not run Gazebo or anything but ROS and whatever is needed to interact with the hardware. There will also be a couple of powerful server computers which will be running ROS and Gazebo. These machines will also be running LAMP servers to allow remote connections and interactions. So I would prefer to have these running the latest ubuntu version. Of course for maintenance reasons I would rather them all be running the same versions and since this is planned to be a multi-year project, I don't want to have to do a major upgrade any time soon!

JWest gravatar image JWest  ( 2014-07-16 14:18:29 -0500 )edit

Hydro will be maintained until J-turtle is released which is expected in about one year. Indigo on the other hand will receive long term support - expected are 5 years matching the support timeline of Ubuntu Trusty.

Dirk Thomas gravatar image Dirk Thomas  ( 2014-07-16 15:09:45 -0500 )edit

Geeezzz, I meant Hydro and not Groovy. Changing the main post for clarity, and making my apologies public.

ccapriotti gravatar image ccapriotti  ( 2014-07-16 15:30:35 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2014-07-15 22:49:27 -0500

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Last updated: Jul 16 '14