Sunsetting OpenCensus

In 2019, we announced that OpenTracing and OpenCensus would be merging to form the OpenTelemetry project. From the start, we considered OpenTelemetry to be the next major version of both OpenTracing and OpenCensus.

We are excited to announce that OpenTelemetry has reached feature parity with OpenCensus in C++, .NET, Go, Java, JavaScript, PHP and Python. Stable releases of both the Tracing and Metrics SDKs are available in most of these languages with Go and PHP soon to follow. This means that OpenTelemetry can collect and export telemetry data with the same level of functionality as OpenCensus. Beyond that, OpenTelemetry offers a richer ecosystem of instrumentation libraries and exporters, and an active open source community.

As a result, we will be archiving all OpenCensus GitHub repositories (with the exception of census-instrumentation/opencensus-python1) on July 31st, 2023. We are excited to see the long term plan for OpenTelemetry coming to fruition, and encourage all users of OpenCensus to migrate to OpenTelemetry.

How to Migrate to OpenTelemetry

One of the key goals of the OpenTelemetry project is to provide backward compatibility with OpenCensus and a migration story for existing users.

To help ease the migration path, we provide backward compatibility bridges for the following languages2:

Installing these bridges allows OpenCensus and OpenTelemetry instrumentation to smoothly interoperate, with all of your telemetry flowing out of OpenTelemetry exporters. This lets OpenCensus users incrementally transition all of their instrumentation from OpenCensus to OpenTelemetry, and finally remove OpenCensus libraries from their applications3.

While OpenTelemetry was never intended to be a strict superset of OpenCensus, most of the APIs and data models are compatible. Migration should be considered a “major version bump” and you may notice some changes in your telemetry.

More details on what to expect and some suggested workflows for migration are outlined in the OpenCensus Compatibility specification.

What to Expect After July 31, 2023

After July 31st, 2023, the OpenCensus project will no longer be maintained. This means that there will be no new features added to the project, and any security vulnerabilities that are found will not be patched.

However, the OpenCensus repositories will remain archived on GitHub. This means users will still be able to download the OpenCensus code and use it in their projects. Existing releases of OpenCensus will remain available in public package repositories like NPM and PyPI. We encourage all OpenCensus users to begin planning their project’s migration to OpenTelemetry now.

One exception to this is the census-instrumentation/opencensus-python repo1.

  1. A number of projects within the opencensus-python repository are still being used as recommended production solutions. These projects will continue to be maintained. For details regarding maintenance timeline, next steps for migration, and general support questions, reach out to repo maintainers. ↩︎ ↩︎

  2. Python and JavaScript shim packages will be released soon. ↩︎

  3. These shims implement the stable OpenCensus Compatibility specification and will be supported for at least one year following OpenTelemetry’s long term support guidelines. ↩︎