Published on 26 December 2014 by

On December 4th, we held our first #puppethack, an online Puppet community hack day and the re-invented Triage-a-Thon! The event was held online only, and reviews from community members and Puppet Labs engineers alike have been very positive. One attendee shared, “I had a great time spending some more time with fellow Puppeteers in a non-conference setting and getting some work done.” The majority of folks said it met or exceeded their expectations and they would likely recommend the event to a friend.

Most of the participants were advanced or intermediate with participants contributing code to the Puppet core or modules. We extended our hours in an effort to accommodate community members from all over the world and had folks participating from Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, Netherland, Ukraine, and the United States. We hovered around 105 folks in the #puppethack IRC channel throughout the day.

While we hacked at both the Portland and Czech Republic offices, other community members gathered to hack locally. The Spotify Headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden opened their doors to Puppet users for the event and the Austin Puppet User Group held a special #puppethack gathering.

People immediately began diving into module work, with pull requests for puppetlabs-postgresql, puppetlabs-apache, and even stdlib flowing in as soon as the European/UK contingent came online. Spencer Krum and Colleen Murphy tag-teamed on puppetlabs-rabbitmq and blasted through a batch of issues, and Morgan Haskel helped Jeremy Bouse do the same for xinetd. Module testing and tooling got some attention, as Dominic Cleal fixed the rspec helper for Augeas and Pete Souter dug into the helper for Hiera.

Throughout the day, Felix Frank helped others out with their questions and problems while chipping away at one of those long-standing, complex feature requests he's so good at: making 'file' resources able to use plain HTTP for their source (follow along at PUP-1043).

In response to the changing face of Puppet's ecosystem, Jasper Adriaanse and Brice Figureau took the hackday opportunity to get up and running with the new stack: Jasper got JRuby running on OpenBSD and Brice set himself up with the Cursive Clojure development IDE. Several Puppet Server/Trapperkeeper developers from Puppet Labs were on hand and they are always happy to help indoctrinate -- err, I mean, "introduce" -- new users to their workflow.

The #puppethack also coincided with the launch of one of the most amusing Puppet-related blogs to come around in a long time: The Doom That Came To Puppet! By training a Markov chain on the works of H.P. Lovecraft and the Puppet documentation, Branan Purvine-Riley started posting frequently hilarious, occasionally poetic, and somehow strangely truthful snippets like “We cannot yet explain the engineering principles used in the core mount type". It took the IRC channel and Twitter by storm.

Be sure to stay tuned for our next #puppethack in mid-2015, and consider attending the Contributor Summitt in Ghent, Belgium on February 4th held in conjunction with [ConfigMgmt] Camp and FOSDEM. If you are interested in attending a future Puppet Camp or speaking at a Puppet Camp, there are more upcoming camps in a variety of cities, with more being scheduled soon. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Yep, that was quite the time we had. Don't forget about the awesome prizes we collected throughout the day. Oh, the swag I'll be able to get from the PuppetStore...

Small correction, I actually managed to skimper out of PUP-1043 for the time being - PUP-1072 it's where it's at! :-)

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