Once a year in August @tfoote and I check up on the general health, well being, and growth of the ROS community by collecting metrics from the various ROS projects and services. We use July and August as our annual benchmark months as they they tend to be a bit slower and acts as a good lower bound on community activity. Because Open Robotics and the ROS community are very privacy conscious, and we take pride in collecting very little user data, we have to lean heavily on proxy measurements to ascertain the overall growth and health of the community. The metrics report consists aggregate statistics from the various ROS services used in the wild including:
- ROS Discourse
- ROS Answers
- ROS Wiki
- Google Analytics attached various ROS properties
- ROS Index
- ROS Download Data
- Github Contributions
- Google Scholar Citations
The goal of pulling these numbers is to give the community a snapshot of the size of the ROS user base and how fast it is growing. I am happy to report that the ROS community is strong, healthy, and growing. In all but a few metrics the ROS community is growing and for many metrics the numbers almost doubled year over year. In the areas where the metrics are neutral, or shrinking, we can explain those results logically. For example, most numbers associated with the ROS wiki are down or flat; with the number of pages views down about 12%. This can mostly be attributed to directing our energy away from the ROS Wiki and towards the next generation ROS 2 Documentation. That’s the worst of the news, and it isn’t even bad, as it most likely means the community is moving towards ROS 2! All of the other news is really positive. Here are some highlights:
index.ros.org users up 114%!
33.7% increase in ROS Discourse page views
33% increase in ROS Discourse users.
19% increase in answers users
8% increase in ROS Wiki users
7% increase in Answers questions
55.8% increase in total packages
86.8% increase in deb downloads
43% increase in rosdistro activity
26% increase in research citations
The table below summarizes things quickly; the number of ROS packages downloaded in July increased by 87%. In the month of July almost 40 Million ROS package debs were downloaded. If you extrapolate this out for the year, we’re looking at just shy of HALF A BILLION debs for 2020!
The full report can be downloaded as a PDF. Also, recall that many of these metrics are available at metrics.ros.org. If you would like to borrow slides from the report, or need more information about where these numbers came from, feel free to DM me.