ROS? What is ROS?
ROS is the Robot Operating System. It provides a huge set of software that can be used to robotics research. It provides simulators, algorithms and well, a lot more. For example, it lets one interface with the PR2 robot!
I've only learnt of ROS now, during my masters. However, if you're an undergrad that is interested in AI and robotics, it's a great tool to know. Look it up!
Ros Groovy is the latest ROS release. The older one is Fuerte. There are quite a few changes in Groovy, one of the biggest ones being the new build system "Catkin". A lot of the software has been upgraded too. One of my project members gave Groovy a whirl and was impressed with the improvements.
ROS and Fedora??
For the time being, the Robotics SIG is working on packaging Fuerte. The new build system will take some time to figure out. While it works well to compile from source, it doesn't quite work well when you want to make stand alone packages. We plan to move to Groovy in good time, but for now Fuerte will have to do. If you're interested in helping out, give us a shout on the Robotics mailing list. There are quite a few packages that Rich has already submitted for review that could use your help.
Well, like I said, Groovy seems to have quite a few improvements. My project team, has indicated that we will switch to Groovy sometime soon. I therefore decided to use Groovy from the start.
The install instructions on the ROS wiki work well. Do read the complete document before you begin. I ended up hitting the some errors already documented in thetroubleshooting section and had to rebuild PCL. (Just so you know, building PCL can suck your system dry. It took a couple of hours on my laptop which is a i5 2 core 4 thread system. It used my processor continuously causing my laptop to overheat and shut down twice. Keep your laptop near an AC when you build it!)
A few unsolved errors persist. I've asked questions on the ros askbot instance. I will file bugs upstream if nothing comes of it in a while.