February CKAN report
 
Hello fabulous patrons!

February has been a busy month for the CKAN, with KerbalStuff having shut down permanently, and a busy month for me, with trips to Geelong, Montreal, and New York. Indeed, I'm writing this from JFK airport, en route to Australia. I'm also taking the unusual action of hitting the "paid post" button, even though I haven't done a coding sprint this month. With me having spent a mere three days at home in the last five weeks, I haven't had the chance to do a proper 12-hour sprint; but I think everything else that happened in February makes up for that!


The most noticeable effect of KerbalStuff going down is that any mods we were downloading from KS stopped being available, but because the KSP community is friggin awesome this didn't remain a problem for long. Sircmpwn had made available all the mods hosted on KerbalStuff, and VITAS and company wasted no time in getting them re-homed. Through some clever scripting I was able to update the metadata of hundreds of CKAN metadata files to specify the new location, so most of the mods that were affected are now back on-line. What's more, the new Spacedock.info site now provides the same functionality as KerbalStuff (open source software is a wonderful thing), and we're now able to index mods from it, so any mods that have been migrated to Spacedock should also be updating just fine. We've also rehosted a number of FOSS mods that our indexer still had cached.


The exceptions to this are mods that had funny characters in their download URLs on KS (which confuses our migration software), and mods which don't come with licenses which permit redistribution (and hence for which we have no machine-detectable permission to re-host or re-distribute). The first of these problems should be fixed the next time I can spend a few hours with my laptop after a night's rest, and the second we're handling on a case-by-case basis.


Having KS go down has highlighted the need for better failovers in the CKAN system, so there's been renewed discussions about multiple download locations, failover mirrors, file finger-printing, and even proposals for bittorrent integration! These are all being pursued, and I've already multiple independent offers for hosting, but again will only apply to mods where we have permission to redistribute. I've also been personally approached by both Curse and Nexus to better improve our integration with their sites, would both expand the range of mods available via the CKAN. These discussions are still in their early days, but I'm delighted that they're happening.


On a personal note, it looks like this will be a big travel year for me. I've been invited to speak at technology conferences and sci-fi converntions, do a residency at the Recurse Centre, anlong with all my regular conferences. And on a geeky note, the cover post for this status update is the coolest piece of Kerbal hardware I've been able to see in person, which is an amazing arduino-controlled console built by @stibbons. It's the size of a desk, and is very satisfying to use.


It's time for me to get ready to hop on another plane, so I'll have to wind up my rambles for now, although with the promise to send pics to everyone at the lolcommit tier and above when I'm back on Australian soil.


Thank you all again so much for your support, and I hope you go to space today!


~ Paul