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Robot operating system (ROS) is a free and opensource system that has grown out of a novel collaboration between industry and academia. This column is designed to introduce you and help track this important community effort. The latest information about ROS will always be available on the Web (http://ros.org). My goal is to help you decide whether or not to download and try the system. In future columns, I'll write about the latest developments in ROS and its progress in the ROS community.