This tutorial is going to walk you through installing Ubuntu 10.10 and the Diamondback version of ROS. It assumes you are new to Ubuntu and ROS and is meant to be a dummies guide to installing and configuring a Multiple ROS Master System. Note there are newer versions of ROS available as well as Ubuntu which you can choose to install on your own.
Step 1: What Is ROS ?
For those unfamiliar with ROS. It is a open source robotic operating system which provides standard operating system services such as hardware abstraction, low-level device control, implementation of commonly-used functionality, message-passing between processes, and package management. It is based on a graph architecture where processing takes place in nodes that may receive, post and multiplex sensor, control, state, planning, actuator and other messages. In layman terms it connects hardware with software to allow for a advanced programming environment for controlling low-level hardware. Not to mention it also has powerful tools for running things in simulation along with 3d visualizations.