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Put simply, is there any way to find out how widely used a given open source project is?

Say, for example, I am looking for a serialization library. I can imagine various metrics to help choose among the many available, but a major one would be, "How widely used is this?"

Wide adoption tends to suggest either a very mature project, or one with a very active community.

For Python, PyPI at least provides download statistics. On GitHub you can see the number of forks as a guideline.

For a developer embarking on a new project, and wanting to leverage an OSP, this type of information is very valuable in making their choice.

The open source movement is not just about publishers, but consumers as well.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it particularly asks for an outside resource providing statistics on the usage of an open source project, and is not necessarily directly related to open source itself. – Zizouz212 Jun 23 '15 at 19:22
  • A good indicator are popcontest of Debian and Ubuntu at e.g. popcon.debian.org – frlan Jun 23 '15 at 19:24
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    I agree it is partially off topic, but I think it is one that many people coming to an SE site about OSS are likely to be wanting an answer to. Perhaps rather than close it, it can be suitably edited. Take away the seeming ask for a 'recommendation' for example. – kdopen Jun 23 '15 at 19:37
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    statistics for an open source project is not necessarily directly related to open source......wat – albert Jun 23 '15 at 22:58
  • @kdopen Perhaps, but then we should add a notice to it so that we don't get duplicates of off-topics. Of course, that will likely come when we go public, since everyone here is aware of the community. – Zizouz212 Jun 24 '15 at 1:59
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There's no way of actually tracking down usage statistics without compromising the privacy of its users. Hence why it is impossible to properly see which Linux distribution is the most popular one (using this as an example).

You could use some analytics like the number of downloads, the number of stars on GitHub, or the number of contributors to the project, but those analytics can in no way properly determine how broadly is the open source project actually used.

But it might be possible to do so for the corporate environment in some cases. Open source projects could theoretically keep a list of organizations using their product. Also, if the project is mentioned multiple times in the media, there's a higher chance that there are many users using it.

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It depends what you mean by usage statistics, but the website www.openhub.net (formerly known as Ohloh) gives you:

  • the number of commit per months
  • the number of contributors per month
  • a community rating
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    Unfortunately, OpenHub became slower and slower over the last months. Right now it has reached a point where it is practically unusable. – vog Aug 6 '15 at 21:54
  • I've put this site in a proper answer but to reply to @vog - a newer site with a similar aim is stackshare.io. – RustyFluff Jan 11 '19 at 17:19
  • @RustyFluff Thanks! I didn't know about Stackshare, sounds promising. – vog Jan 12 '19 at 20:20
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I haven't come across any single, centralized place where all usage statistics for open-source projects are combined.

However, all is not lost: many software download sites have a download counter. Instead of looking centrally, try going to the software's download page and looking for any stats it might have there.

Similarly, I haven't seen any libraries that do the job for you, but if you were to write your own (and release it as open-source!) then you could take the download location as an input and scan through it for statistics to return.

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Every platform has its own metrics and indications.

npm for example, shows download statistics. GitHub has stars, which is a good rough indication.

The fact is, I don't need to host the file on some fancy VCS host for it to be considered open. I can host it on a server I control, and distribute my git URL for you and the public to clone and use. In which case, you will never have any sort of statistics unless I specifically make some.

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I understand that SF isn't popular anymore, but they are sitting on a valuable pile of historic data. For example: http://sourceforge.net/top

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You can build a website that hosts your project's online documentation, latest news, etc. You can then track the relative popularity over time, based on traffic. You can use this to indicate increasing popularity, or trends for certain OSes or browsers - typical web traffic analysis.

But regardless of any specific download-tracking mechanism, you are treading on your user's privacy, and that's not likely to be well received in the open source community.

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Old question but I have a new genuinely useful site that has grown to become very pertinent here.where

stackshare.io

Its a site which gathers data from Github and generates scores based on social media activity. It also has user accounts that enable you to list what software stacks you use in your day job/business. Thereby adding to the data.

Very good site similar to openhub.net

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