[IPython-dev] Notebook websocket change

Brian Granger ellisonbg at gmail.com
Thu Jan 8 17:08:54 EST 2015

> Just curious -- how do you know that most people using IPython aren't
> already using it through SMC?

Great question!

As with all such things, if you are asking for a precise data driven
answers, then we don't know.

But here is the constellation of evidence that would lead me to this
conclusion (that SMC represents a minority fraction of the overall number
of ipython users):

* We estimate that the total ipython user base is in the 0.5-1.5 million
range. However, this is likely a very conservative estimate. Fernando has
the best summary of where we get these estimates (I don't remember where
the most recent information is - probably in a private email to someone).
If SMC has this number of users, then my assertion is clearly to be
* We spend a significant amount of time out meeting with ipython users an
conferences, universities, research labs, companies. Over this sample, I
know of very few people using SMC (less than 1%). I will be the first to
admit that this is both anecdotal and subject my the sampling bias of my
particular travel schedule...
* Users get and use ipython through a large number of avenues: anaconda,
pip, github, SMC, Canopy, apt-get, yum, etc. Our overall usage numbers come
from trying to estimate the install base of each of these things and adding
them up - we then double check with things like nbviewer usage, etc.
Anecdotally, it appears that anaconda is the most common way that people
get and use ipython, but the most reliable numbers we have come from
apt-get and yum.
* Commercial usage of the notebook (in private with private data) is
quickly overtaking the more open academic and educational uses of the
notebook. The difficulty here is that companies tend to keep their usage
private. However, each time we get a glimpse at commercial usage (which is
happening more and more) we are blown away by the scale of it. My
assumption is that industry usage with private code+data is not the main
audience for SMC.

I want to emphasize that I don't in any way mean to minimize the impact or
importance of SMC. We all think it is fantastic what you are doing and I
personally recommend it to people all the time.

ps - are you willing to share SMC usage stats with us? It would really help
us to reduce the error bars on our usage numbers, which is very helpful in
talking to funding agencies...

Cheers, Brian

Brian E. Granger
Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo
@ellisonbg on Twitter and GitHub
bgranger at calpoly.edu and ellisonbg at gmail.com
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