Robotics pages on Ubuntu: bridging the gap

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Today, 10/04/2020, new robotics pages went live on ubuntu.com. We want to show our involvement, our stance and our support for ROS and robotics. These three pages cover what we do in the robotics space, Canonical’s involvement with ROS and Open Robotics, and the relevance of community in the field of robotics. Our intention is to be another entry point for new users to involve themselves and to enable them to build robots with ROs on Ubuntu. But this is just the beginning, going forward with the completion of these pages and the ongoing work on Ubuntu tutorials, there is much more robotics content on the horizon. 

Overview

Canonical is not a robotics company, but we like robots and want to support robotics. We do this through contributions to ROS and to ROS 2, as well as developing and supporting Ubuntu Core. The overview page is mostly a restructure of what we had before in order to reflect this. This page focuses on what Ubuntu can offer to organisations looking at robotics in the enterprise. Information was taken out and put onto the other new pages to make this one more concise and consumable. We added new links to more up-to-date content. The links throughout the pages will now send you to learn more about robotics on Ubuntu. And we refreshed the page with new logos under “Companies using ROS on Ubuntu.” These are some of our favourite robotics companies that we know for a fact are using ROS on Ubuntu. Paving the way. 

What is ROS

This page came from a desire to show our support and admiration for ROS. The majority of work done in the Ubuntu robotics team is in support and in-service of ROS. The goal was to explain ROS to the uninitiated and speak to the benefits of using it.  There are brief explanations of ROS and ROS 2 with links to all the right places. And we look at more companies using ROS on Ubuntu and the benefits of doing so. This page will slowly grow and accumulate more content over time. We will be attaching whitepapers and case studies that show exactly how and why companies succeed with ROS. 

Community

The heart of ROS today is the community around it. The hardest thing about a community is how to join one, so this page focuses on getting involved. Surrounding ROS and Ubuntu are thousands of developers discussing and contributing to these technologies. There are pages of documentation, and tutorials that aim to help people start, but new interested people don’t know where to begin. This page is a hub for community content and links to get going with ROS.

Why the change?

Canonical is investing more and more in IoT and devices, putting more emphasis on Ubuntu Core. With that comes putting more weight behind verticals that benefit from that technology. One of those being the robotics industry. The robotics industry is growing and we want, and expect, to see open-source technology lead the way. Specifically in the form of ROS. Before now robotics was considered a subset of IoT. The URL looked like this:

But Canonical and the robotics team are investing more heavily and focusing on robotics and working on ROS. It only makes sense to have the website support and reflect how we are supporting and contributing to robotics. The URL is now:

Outro

The Ubuntu robotics team’s focus on ROS is increasing. We sit on the technical steering committee and chair the ROS 2 security working group. Every month we release a blog post/newsletter that covers interesting things happening in robotics and the work the team did that month. This page will continue to serve as another platform for their work. This blog and more information breaking down the decision-making process can be found on Rhys’ own blog.

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