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ROS or ROS2 for Robotics Beginner?

asked 2019-02-13 13:37:22 -0600

JoeB gravatar image

I am OK with computers but brand new to robotics. I have been trying for a week to read everything about ROS. I believe ROS2 is still under heavy development ... but I cannot figure whether ROS2 is ready for a beginner to start using it in preference to old ROS? Or, should I go with safe old ROS for now, and wait until - when? - for a more mature ROS2?

First target environment: Ubuntu 16.04 in Oracle VM VirtualBox on Win10. First goal is just learning ... at least to get a sim running.

Thanks! JoeB

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answered 2019-02-13 18:37:54 -0600

Geoff gravatar image

ROS 2 is perfectly usable for building robots, but it does not yet have the wide range of libraries and nodes that are available for ROS 1. So if you are a beginner at robotics and just want to get a robot moving, ROS 1 will get you there faster and with less pain.

On the other hand, if you want to focus on learning what will eventually be the commonly-used version of ROS, you can access the functionality of existing ROS 1 libraries and nodes by using the ROS 1 bridge. However it's an added complexity that you probably don't want if you are just beginning.

As an additional point, you can run both ROS 1 (thanks to Microsoft) and ROS 2 on Windows natively. I can't remember if the Windows support for Gazebo is working or not, though, so you might still need the VM if you don't have any hardware.

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Geoff, Thank you for such a clear answer, although it still leaves an interesting decision point. Maybe it'd be worth trying first ROS 1, then ROS 2.

As for ROSn on Windows natively ... who knew?  -- Running ROS on Windows 10

Thanks again, JoeB

JoeB gravatar image JoeB  ( 2019-02-14 09:58:38 -0600 )edit

@JoeB: note that the blog you linked does not discuss the port of ROS 1 to Windows by MS. That may be found here instead.

The blog discusses running ROS 1 in WSL on Windows 10, which is something else entirely.

gvdhoorn gravatar image gvdhoorn  ( 2019-02-14 10:09:31 -0600 )edit

Wow, thank you! BTW, that notice ends: "We’re targeting end of 2018 for the core porting effort." I have a lot of tasks targeted for end of 2018 too ... JoeB

JoeB gravatar image JoeB  ( 2019-02-14 10:17:47 -0600 )edit

Well, "Ubuntu bash shell" from MS Store on Win10 subsystem was pretty easy to set up on my little MS Surface - once I found the instruction trail. So far: no Ubuntu desktop, don't know about application windows such as Gazebo. Anyone know the next step, to get a GUI beyond the shell? Thanks! JoeB

JoeB gravatar image JoeB  ( 2019-02-15 12:14:13 -0600 )edit

OK, just google it ...

JoeB gravatar image JoeB  ( 2019-02-15 13:33:05 -0600 )edit

Given the limitations of WSL, I think you would be better off using the native version of ROS 1 (or ROS 2) wherever possible.

Thankfully the distributed nature of ROS applications means you can run parts of one natively in Windows and parts of one under WSL, if necessary.

Geoff gravatar image Geoff  ( 2019-02-17 17:07:43 -0600 )edit

Geoff, Yes well thank you, I had the same feeling that WSL is a pleasant anomaly, maybe someday useful - like the odd Python interpreter built into MacOS long ago. But I did go back to ROS (1) "guest-native" on Ubuntu on VirtualBox, and eventually got it running including its built-in Gazebo. JoeB

JoeB gravatar image JoeB  ( 2019-02-17 17:23:39 -0600 )edit

Great to hear you got something going. If it works for you, keep using it! :)

Geoff gravatar image Geoff  ( 2019-02-17 17:41:43 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2019-02-13 13:37:22 -0600

Seen: 1,450 times

Last updated: Feb 13 '19