Announcing the Open Source Robotics Alliance


The Open Source Robotics Foundation, aka Open Robotics, is pleased to announce the creation of the Open Source Robotics Alliance (OSRA). The OSRA is a new initiative from the OSRF to ensure the long-term stability and health of our open-source robot software projects.

Using a mixed membership/meritocratic model of participation, the OSRA provides for greater community involvement in decision making for the projects, and in the engineering of the software. This mixed model allows stakeholders of all types to participate in and support the OSRF’s open-source projects in the way that best matches their needs and available resources, while still allowing the OSRF to receive the financial support it needs for its projects. The OSRF Board of Directors has assigned responsibility for management of the OSRF’s open-source projects to the OSRA.

The centre of activity of the OSRA will be the Technical Governance Committee (TGC), which will oversee the activities of the Project Management Committees (PMCs). Each PMC is responsible for one project; there are four PMCs being established with the OSRA to manage ROS, Gazebo, Open-RMF and our Infrastructure. The TGC and PMCs can also create sub-committees as needed. The TGC answers to the Board of Directors of the OSRF, ensuring the Board retains final oversight of the OSRF’s projects and activities.

This structure, and the use of paid membership to provide financial support for open-source projects, is not new. It is a commonly-used model amongst open-source non-profit organizations such as the OSRF. We are walking a well-trodden path, following in the footsteps of such organizations as The Linux Foundation, the Eclipse Foundation, and the Dronecode Foundation.

As part of announcing the OSRA, we are pleased to also announce our inaugural members. We wish to express our gratitude for their early support for our vision. The inaugural members are:

We have also received commitments to join from organizations such as Bosch Research and ROS-Industrial.

The transition of governance to the OSRA is in the final stages of preparation. We expect to commence operation on the 15th of April, 2024. Between now and the 15th of April there may be some small disruptions as we organize GitHub permissions, calendars, mailing lists, and so on. Once the OSRA commences operations, our four PMCs will take over the day-to-day operations of their respective projects.

To help you understand the OSRA and why we’re doing this, we have prepared several documents you can read and reference at your leisure.

You may also find the following formal documents useful.

Because this is the initial year of the OSRA, the OSRF Board has selected people to fill the posts that would normally be elected by various bodies. The following people have kindly agreed to fill these roles:

  • ROS Project Leader: Chris Lalancette
  • Gazebo Project Leader: Addisu Taddese
  • Open-RMF Project Leader: Michael X. Grey
  • Infrastructure Project Leader: Steven! Ragnarok
  • TGC Supporting Individual Representative: Steve Macenski
  • ROS PMC Supporting Individual Representatives: David Lu!! and Francisco Martin Rico

Additionally, Kat Scott will be filling the role of OSRF Developer Advocate assigned to the TGC. There will be further announcements of participation in the next few weeks as we finalize the lists of initial Committers and PMC Members for each project.

We know you will have questions that we were not able to think of before-hand. We want to answer these questions as best we can, so we have prepared two ways for you to ask your questions and get some answers.

  1. We have created a thread where you can post questions you would like answered. The OSRF team will work to get an answer for each question, and the answer will be posted in this announcement thread, to ensure it doesn’t get lost amongst the noise.
  2. We will be holding a live Question and Answer session at 2024-03-20T23:00:00Z2024-03-21T00:30:00Z. This session will be attended by the OSRF team and moderated by Aaron Blasdel. We will post detailed instructions on participation closer to the time.

Finally, if you or your organization is interested in joining the OSRA as a paying member and supporting the future of open source robotics, you can apply right now. See the section on joining on the OSRA’s website for more information. We look forward to working with our members and all other contributors and users on growing open source robotics on the sound foundation that the OSRA will provide.