State of Open Source Usage Q1 2023: The Scarf Report


May 4, 2023

This article was originally posted on


The popularity of open source software is not in doubt, but little concrete public data exists beyond human-generated surveys on adoption usage. We analyzed over 240 million downloads in Q1 2023 looking for trends. Q1 2023 saw growth across the entire open source industry. However, this growth has been particularly notable in the enterprise sector, with many large companies incorporating open source software into their operations. In fact, recent data from the users of Scarf, a tool designed to measure the growth and usage of open source software, shows that open source usage in the enterprise sector has been booming. In this blog post, we will explore the state of open source usage in Q1 2023 and the data illustrating how open source is becoming an increasingly important part of enterprise operations.

How do we collect and analyze open source growth data

Currently, we collect metadata and analytics for around 2,000 open source packages, with more projects coming on board every week. 

We employ two separate methods for analyzing usage data to gain more accurate demographics of those downloading and using open source. The first method relies on download headers and metadata. While overall downloads are accurate, we cannot always match them to an industry or enterprise due to the anonymization or masking of data by cloud providers or another third-party service. Overall, we can link about 15–20% of downloads to a specific demographic and company.  

The second method that we use to collect usage data involves enabling projects to add pixels to their documentation, READMEs, and other content. This allows projects to track their growth by getting metrics on who reads their docs, the most active pages, etc., generally capturing twice as much demographic data compared to when only using package download data. By combining these two methods, we can identify both users and companies considering a specific open source project, downloading it, and repeatedly downloading new versions all at the same time.  

Now, let’s look at the actual numbers!  

Open source usage metrics Q1 2023:

Across all downloads using Scarf, we saw a quarter-over-quarter increase in open source downloads of nearly 60% to just over 240 million total downloads of open source packages. (Less than 0.5% of this total came from new packages being added or tracked in Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, so the rest is organic growth in the open source space, not from new packages being added to Scarf.) The number of unique endpoints downloading open source packages increased about 5% quarter over quarter, topping off at just above 6.2 million unique endpoints. In this context, a unique endpoint means a unique server or computer that downloaded the software.

Open source growth in the enterprise:

Based on Q1 download metrics, the enterprises downloading the most open source software consisted of:

• Oracle

• Apple

• Cisco

• Microsoft

• General Motors

• Dell

• Intel

• Disney

• Cigna

• J.B. Hunt Transport Services.

The number of enterprises downloading open source software between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023 also increased by 18.5%, but the total number of downloads by enterprises decreased by 26%. This trend is not unusual quarter over quarter because new releases of commercial open source projects and subsequent testing can cause download numbers to fluctuate.

When we compare the growth of enterprises downloading open source software for the first time to the growth of those reading and using content from those projects, we see parallels. Overall, the number of enterprises using open source documentation increased by 18.2% quarter over quarter. The top enterprises using documentation, websites, and READMEs from popular open source projects in Q1 2023 were Apple, Cisco, Capital One, Oracle, Microsoft, Disney, Adobe, General Motors, Boeing, and Bank of America. Additionally, views of open source documentation increased by 400% this past quarter, implying more usage of open source projects by engineers and developers. In Q1 2023, we observed an additional 220,000 engineers engaging with documentation for open source projects, accumulating just shy of 8 million page views—more than double that of the previous quarter’s views of just over 3 million.

Regional usage of open source software:

Several countries worldwide saw upticks in the number of downloads of open source packages, with Russia, Ireland, and the Netherlands leading the way. All three countries encountered almost a 3x increase in downloads quarter over quarter.  

Open source software deployed via containers:

Between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, 7.2% more companies started to download containers—growing from 1,678 unique companies to 1,802 in the quarter. The total number of open source container pulls from registries increased to 27 million, up from 12.5 million in the previous quarter for a 2.2x increase in overall pulls. Interestingly, this still only represents about 11% of the total downloads that we tracked in Q1 2023.


Open source continues to experience steady growth. Over the coming months, we will add more data points and share insights with the community. We will do a deep dive into what this means and how open source is evolving after we have published several quarter's worth of data. If you are interested in checking out how your project is doing, you can try Scarf for free or contact us for help with getting started.  

Disclaimer: Scarf protects each user's PII and relies on metadata and anonymized usage data to report growth. This report only references data for open source projects using the Scarf platform for tracking adoption and growth. Over 2,000 packages currently use Scarf for growth analytics. The addition of new packages can alter results. To compensate, we’ve omitted new packages created after the comparison period.

Latest blog posts

Tools and strategies modern teams need to help their companies grow.

Scarf Newsletter - May 2023

Scarf Newsletter - May 2023

Stay up to date with the latest updates from Scarf. Discover upcoming features, industry news, partnerships, and events. May 2023 Newsletter.
Harnessing Software Download Patterns: Using Open Source Download Metrics to Uncover New Users and Potential Customers

Harnessing Software Download Patterns: Using Open Source Download Metrics to Uncover New Users and Potential Customers

Here at Scarf, we've developed a solution to help open source projects and businesses gain more insight into their users and their download traffic - Scarf Gateway. Here's how it works.
Unlocking Growth Potential: Scarf Users Benefit from Clearbit Integration for Improved User Intelligence

Unlocking Growth Potential: Scarf Users Benefit from Clearbit Integration for Improved User Intelligence

We are thrilled to announce our latest partnership with Clearbit ( This collaboration will offer Scarf users and customers an enriched array of data about their user base, significantly enhancing the quality of information you already value from Scarf.