2008-03-08 17:38:42 UTC
This email is about recent Sage download stats, and ends with an estimate
that there are currently perhaps about 5000 Sage users.
Here are the download numbers for Sage during the last 6 days from the three
sites (sagemath.org, sage.math, and modular.fas.harvard.edu) that I administer:
OS X Binary
TOTAL: 201 downloads
Here are the number of "sage -upgrades" during each of the last few weeks:
This last week: 135
Previous weeks: 337, 302, 163, 349, 307, 228, 338, 375, 336, 388, 355,
348, 398, 297, 363
1. There are probably 100 downloads/week from all the other 4 mirror
sites combined (probably
a conservative estimate?), so that's about 300*4 = 1200 downloads per month.
2. There are also about 1200 upgrades per month.
3. Adding 1 and 2 we get about 2400 times Sage is installed or
upgraded per month.
4. In my experience with both research mathematicians and students (and my own
personal experience), people do not upgrade regularly unless forced to
working as developers on projects. Upgrading can break things they are doing,
and that can screw up their workflow, so they put it off until they
have some free
time (e.g., spring break, finals are over, whatever). Such free time
once every 2 months on average. If n people use Sage and
upgrade/install once every
2 months on average, and there are 2400 upgrade/installs per month, then
there are probably about 2*2400 ~ 5000 sage users.
If anybody else has ideas about estimating the number of Sage users, please feel
free to share them.
If the above measure of number of users seems at all reasonable to people who
are much better at this sort of thing (statisticians? marketing droids?) then
we could use them as input to a 2008 goal to raise the number of Sage users
(as defined by a metric as above) to 10,000.
By the way, Maple, Mathematica, and Matlab all claim to have in excess of
1,000,000 regular users... That is definitely the size of use base
Sage aspires to
Estimate of number of Sage users by year:
Feb 2005: 3
Feb 2006: 100
Feb 2007: 500
Feb 2008: 5,000
Feb 2009: 10,000 (Goal)
Feb 2009: 25,000 (Goal)
Feb 2010: 100,000 (Goal)
Feb 2011: 1,000,000 (Goal)
Judging by my estimates for Maxima and other open source math software projects,
I think getting over 10,000 serious users for an open source math
project is already
a quite difficult thing to achieve, since it starts taking one outside
the realm of niche
market. Sage has definitely not achieved this (yet).
Going from 10,000 to 25,000 will be quite difficult as well. Going from 25,000
to 100,000 will be crazy hard since by then Mathematica/Maple/Matlab
etc. will have
taken serious notice and start fighting back (hopefully by innovating,
e.g., by geatly
improving their exact linear algebra, group theory, etc. functionality).
And also the range of people one
has appeal to is much larger. On the other hand, 25,000 people will be telling
Going from 100,000 to 1 million users would be quite interesting.
There are massive
infrastructure and support issues, and the user base is the same as
That means the daily traffic to sagemath.org could be about the same as during
the slashdotting, i.e., completely unsustainable without a lot of
means there would be substantial demand for seminars and training
courses and other
forms of support. There's no way this will work unless we organize some sort
of international network of local people to help out with such
activities for Sage.
This is also the point where Sage would genuinely have reached the goal of
providing a "viable alternative to Maple, Magma, Mathematica, and Matlab" for
Without a lot of hard work and effort by us, though, the user
base could easily shrink into the low hundreds again, so let's keep
working very very very hard.
Associate Professor of Mathematics
University of Washington
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