It’s been an incredibly intense first week crowdfunding the Mitogen extension for Ansible involving far more effort than anticipated, where I have worked almost flat out from waking until the early hours just to ensure any queries are answered thoroughly. I cannot complain, because it has been so much fun that I’d change almost nothing of the experience, and already the campaign has reached 46% from the exposure it received.
As a recap Mitogen is a library for writing distributed programs that require zero deployment, with the prototype extension implementing an architectural change that vastly improves Ansible’s performance in common scenarios, laying a framework to extend this advantage far beyond simple overhead reduction.
A great deal of work has simply been staying on top of bug reports and ensuring experiences with the prototype are solid – for each report from one tester, we can assume 10 more hit the same bug but did not or could not report it.
Of the many reports received, I have addressed almost all of them promptly. Some fabulous bugs have been found and fixed along with one report via Reddit of a performance improvement so fantastical that it exceeds even my most contrived overhead-heavy example:
"With mitogen my playbook runtime went from 45 minutes to just under 3 minutes. Awesome work!"
This is a common theme – anywhere with_items appears, Mitogen has the most profound impact. The obvious reason is that during loops the same module is executed repeatedly, and after one iteration is guaranteed to be compiled and ready on the target.
So many lessons!
Developing the campaign from a thought exercise one idle Sunday evening into an actually practical project has taken a lot of work – far more than I anticipated, and at almost every step I have learned something novel. This is all reuseable knowledge for anyone attempting a similar project in future, and I will write it up as time permits.
Regardless of outcomes the campaign has already proven one very exciting result: real users will stake real money towards something as seemingly mundane as free infrastructure, and I think that’s beyond amazing. In a world content to throw millions of dollars at junk ICOs almost weekly, crowdfunding free software seems to me a practice that should happen far more often.
I wish to thank everyone for the support shown thus far, and I’d encourage you to consider tapping that Ansible user you know on the shoulder to let them know about the project. For those working close to infrastructure consulting, please consider using the final week to corner your boss regarding associating your company logo with a sexy project that promises to receive many eyeballs over the coming years.
Thanks for reading!