In this book, we have explained how to use the libraries and tools that make up ROS. Along the way, we have implicitly been making the argument that you should use ROS for your next robotics project because of the technical merits of the software. But that’s only part of the story.
As with any large open source project, much of the strength of ROS derives not from the software itself, but from the community that develops, uses, and supports that software. If ROS were a finished product—a complete system that satisfied everyone’s robotics needs—then the community would not play such a prominent role. But ROS is not finished: it is a living ecosystem of code and documentation, with thousands of people around the world constantly fixing, improving, and extending it. In this chapter, we’ll introduce you to the online resources through which you can connect with the ROS community and hopefully become a contributor yourself.
First, let’s talk about good online etiquette. It’s easy to get right, as most of us do most of the time: just behave in a reasonable manner. But it’s also easy to become frustrated when something isn’t working properly, or at least not the way that we think it should work. For those times, here are a few points to keep in mind:
Assume good faith on the part of your fellow community members. The bug that you found was just a mistake. The missing documentation that you need was just an oversight. The delay ...