Download the full report here:
metrics-report-2024-01.pdf (2.9 MB)
Once a year we check up on the general health, well-being, and growth of the ROS community by collecting metrics from the various ROS projects and services in a report. The goal of this metrics report is to give the community a snapshot of the growth and composition of the ROS community. There were a lot of changes to the ROS Community this year that required us to retool our metrics collection process. In April of 2023 our website analytics provider, Google Analytics, changed over to a new system, Google Analytics 4, that is not compatible with the old system. In August of 2023 we moved answers.ros.org over to Robotics Stack Exchange. Thankfully, Stack Exchange has a pretty great API, and this year we added a few charts that we hope will encourage you to go answer a few questions on Robotics Stack Exchange.
We take the privacy of the ROS community seriously, and we try to minimize the collection of user data, which makes constructing this report difficult. We lean heavily on proxy measurements to estimate the overall growth and health of the community. This year the metrics report consists of aggregate statistics from various ROS services, including:
- ROS Discourse
- Robotics Stack Exchange
- The ROS Wiki
- Google Analytics attached to various ROS websites
- ROS Index
- ROS Download Data
- Github Contributions
- Google Scholar Citations
This year, for the first time ever, we’re reporting Gazebo simulator metrics with our ROS metrics. These metrics are the synthesis of our logs the packages.osrfoundation.org and packages.ros.org. We include total package downloads across the two servers, downloads of Gazebo and Gazebo Classic, and Gazebo downloads broken out by distro.
Now, let’s get to the good news! We are happy to report that the ROS community is healthy, growing, and that we are more than half-way through the ROS 2 transition! Just shy of 58% of all downloads from our servers are now ROS 2. ROS 2 questions also make up 85% of ROS questions asked on Robotics Stack Exchange! ROS 2 Humble had more downloads in October 2023 than ROS 1 Noetic (32.79% vs 30.51%)
This year, most of the ROS metrics we checked have demonstrated fairly substantial growth, usually in the range of 15-25%. The one place where growth was flat, or negative, was in package downloads from our servers. For the year, ROS package downloads were only up 10% overall, and down slightly for the month of October 2023. This was also true for Gazebo. Gazebo downloads for the month of October 2023, the only year-over-year data we presently have, were down just shy of 1%. We have a theory about why downloads are down when every other metric is up, and it has to do with Docker.
As we mentioned last year, Docker use is on the rise, and we believe the official Docker images are eating into downloads from our own servers. Docker itself reports that the official ROS containers have been downloaded over ten million times. It is worth noting that each of these Docker containers includes dozens of ROS packages, so it represents much greater than ten million missed ROS package downloads. We’re not complaining, we love Docker! We did reach out to Docker Hub to see if we could access their official image download data to verify our theory. We had a number of productive conversations but they were unable to provide us with that data in time for this year’s report.
Here are some highlights from the report that illustrate how the ROS community is growing.
- 550,365,601 ROS packages downloaded in 2023 (up 9.78%).
- Docs.ros.org users increased by 34.29%.
- ROS Discourse posts increased by 19%.
- 2328 Questions were asked on Robotics Stack Exchange.
- 87% of Robotics Stack Exchange questions were about ROS 2.
- Our ROS LinkedIn account grew by 60% to 115,000 followers.
- ROS Kinetic was 1.14% of package downloads in October 2023.
- ROS 2 Humble has more downloads than Noetic!
- ROS 2 now makes up 57.88% of ROS Downloads.
- 11,701 academic citations of the original ROS paper.
- 910+ companies using ROS (that we know of).
We’ve included exports of a few key slides that may be useful to everyone. The slides below show the deb package downloads by ROS distro in October of 2023 and October of 2022. Currently ROS 2 makes up just shy of 58% of all ROS downloads (probably more now) and the ROS 1 variants that use Python 2.7 have gone from about 20% of our downloads to less than 7% in just a year (it was ~70% in 2020).
The full report can be downloaded as a PDF using the link above. Many of these metrics are also 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 contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Past metrics reports can be found below.
- 2016 Metrics Report
- 2017 Metrics Report
- 2018 Metrics Report
- 2019 Metrics Report
- 2020 Metrics Report
- 2021 Metrics Report
- 2022 Metrics Report