Goodbye, Puppet

This has been a hard blog post to write, but to me it feels like it’s been a long time coming.

For the better part of the past 5 years my job and open source contributions have revolved a lot around Puppet. I’ve been a member of the community for a long time, contributing to a range of different projects and giving a variety of talks at associated events like Puppet Camps, Configuration Management Camp and PuppetConf. I’ve made so many friends in the community and met and interacted with wonderful people.

But, my interest in Puppet, both as a tool and how it’s evolving has dwindled. The last big thing that excited me was what was known as the future parser. It fixed many long standing issues that made Puppet a pain to use at times. Though perhaps an under the hood change it is probably one of the most important things that have happened to it from my point of view.

I’m also not quite sure as to where Puppet is heading. Features like PXP and PCP get introduced, mostly to be only used by Puppet Enterprise customers. I find myself doubting some of these features, like the Puppet Application orchestrator thingy. I don’t think Puppet is the tool to use to coordinate more complex, multi-node deployments, but I understand why they want it in the product. I’ve been in many places where Puppet is used as a deployment tool and it inevitably breaks down.

It also just doesn’t feel that exciting to me anymore. We’ve sort of reached feature complete and the things I would be interested in, like parallel application of disconnected parts of the DAG and batching of certain resources (oh hello there package), aren’t likely to be something that’s going to happen anytime soon. It’s a stable platform that’s evolving much more slowly with a much larger focus on attracting (new paying) customers. And that’s fine, it’s needed even, for Puppet itself to survive. But I’m easily bored by this.

One of the things I am most proud of is Vox Pupuli. Almost three years ago we took to the stage during a PuppetConf announcing our intention to create a community where Puppet contributors all worked together maintaining a shared set of modules, tools, documentation and best practices. I dare say we’ve succeeded in doing just that and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve managed to achieve in such a short time. We’ve also managed to attract many wonderful new people and have some long time users come out of the shadows and join us.

My last contribution to this effort has been to run the elections for Vox Pupuli’s steering committee. That’s done now and we have five great people that are going to set the tone and direction for the project for the next year. I wish them the best of luck and have no doubt they will succeed.

However, it’s time for me to go now. I want some more space to grow in other directions. Puppet’s taken up a lot of my (free) time and I’ve been happy to invest that time in it. I don’t regret a minute I’ve spent on honing my skills and participating in the community. But I have other plans. I want to grow further as a developer. New languages have popped up that have me excited about other (automation) problems that I want to take a stab at. I also want to spend some time on developing more frontend skills as well as have more time to read, tech related or not.

To everyone in the Puppet community, I’m sorry my involvement hasn’t been what it was in the past years. You won’t see me at this year’s PuppetConf because I don’t feel I have anything meaningful to contribute, though I might show for Configuration Management Camp in Ghent (it’s after FOSDEM after all). Thank you all for the work you’ve put in, for the wonderful people you are, and for letting me be part of one of the most beautiful, friendly and inclusive FOSS communities that are out there.

To the (close) friends I’ve made, I’m not going anywhere. I’m still on IRC and I promise to regularly bug you by text and Twitter. I’ll let you know when I’m in the neighbourhood and please do the same should you ever find yourself on the way to Europe or the Nordics. You will always be welcome. And if you ever need my help or want my opinion, never hesitate to ask.

I’m looking forward to running into many of you again, at different events, conferences, meetups, for coffee, dinner, drinks and laughs. See you maybe at FOSDEM?

Bye bye!