2021 ROS Metrics Report

Hi All,

Once a year, or so @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 usually provide the metrics report in September or October, but we got side-tracked with pivoting from ROSCon to ROS World this year. Normally, we use July and August as our annual benchmark months as they tend to be a bit slower and acts as a good lower bound on community activity. One up shot of producing the report in January is that we can provide full year values on certain metrics.

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 of 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, ROS index visitors dropped considerably in 2021; and we can attribute that to a change in us moving the default landing page from index.ros.org to docs.ros.org. We will be working on instrumenting docs.ros.org so that we can provide introspection into that volume going forward. All the other news is really positive! Here are some highlights:

:galactic: ROS Answers visitors up 11.41%
:galactic: ROS Discourse visitors up 31.07%
:galactic: ROS Discourse users up 32%
:galactic: ROS Discourse posts up 43%, topics 39%, and likes up 73%
:galactic: Unique Visitors Downloading ROS 789,956 in July 2021, up 10.6%
:galactic: 9260 Research Citations (up 25%)
:galactic: In July 2021, ROS 2 was over 25% of all downloaded ROS debs.
:galactic: 595,524,493 Debs downloaded between 7/2020->7/2021 (up 50.69%)

I’ve included exports of a few key slides that may be useful to everyone. The slide below shows the deb downloads by ROS distro in July of 2021. Currently ROS 2 makes up 25% of all downloads (probably more now) and the ROS 1 variants that use Python 2.7 have gone from about 70% of our users to a little over 40% in just a year.

The number of ROS downloads have increased by over 50%, and we had just shy of six hundred million downloads between July of 2020 and July of 2021. Keep in mind that these numbers don’t include things like mirrors, Docker containers, virtual machines, or anything else! Similarly, there were over 600,660 packages on index.ros.org; that’s a lot of packages!

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.

Recent announcements can be found at:

All past metrics reports can be found at https://wiki.ros.org/Metrics.


@peci1 I believe you needed this.


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