The latest release of the popular robot operating system ROS, nicknamed Groovy Galapagos, was released on 31 December. The Groovy release includes a lot of changes to the core infrastructure aimed at making ROS easier to use, more modular, and more scalable. Portability has also been improved with support for most GNU/Linux distros, Android, and even some proprietary operating systems such as Mac OS X and Windows. Developers will also be happy to see that all ROS packages have been consolidated on GitHub:
Traditionally, ROS code has been scattered across numerous version control systems (git, svn, hg, etc) across different hosting services throughout the world. Though the ROS wiki has acted as a central point of documentation, issue/ticket tracking has been just as disparate as the usage of VCS tools. With ROS Groovy, an effort has been made to move core packages to GitHub along with all issue tracking. This has brought several benefits including making ROS more available to the wider open source community and providing VCS consistency for ROS packages. Most importantly, utilizing GitHub has involved the ROS community more and given it more ownership of the codebase. GitHub's pull requests have made it much easier for the core ROS development team to apply patches from the community as well as respond to design feedback more rapidly.
Developers should expect to see a few changes in the build tools as well. Stacks have been removed, rosbuild has been replaced with a new build tool called catkin, the core ROS GUI tools have been replaced by a single tool called rqt, the Wx toolkit has been replaced with Qt. For a full list of changes, see the ROS Groovy Galapagos release notes. ROS is free software released under a variety of licenses that meet the guidelines of the Free Software Foundation and Open Source Initiative. If you'd like it try ROS, you can download the source or pre-packaged binaries for most systems.