Community Information & Contributing

Ansible is an open source project designed to bring together administrators and developers of all kinds to collaborate on building IT automation solutions that work well for them.

Should you wish to get more involved – whether in terms of just asking a question, helping other users, introducing new people to Ansible, or helping with the software or documentation, we welcome your contributions to the project.

Ansible Users

I’ve Got A Question

We’re happy to help!

Ansible questions are best asked on the Ansible Google Group Mailing List.

This is a very large high-traffic list for answering questions and sharing tips and tricks. Anyone can join, and email delivery is optional if you just want to read the group online. To cut down on spam, your first post is moderated, though posts are approved quickly.

Please be sure to share any relevant commands you ran, output, and detail, indicate the version of Ansible you are using when asking a question.

Where needed, link to gists or github repos to show examples, rather than sending attachments to the list.

We recommend using Google search to see if a topic has been answered recently, but comments found in older threads may no longer apply, depending on the topic.

Before you post, be sure you are running the latest stable version of Ansible. You can check this by comparing the output of ‘ansible –version’ with the version indicated on PyPi <https://pypi.python.org/pypi/ansible>.

Alternatively, you can also join our IRC channel - #ansible on irc.freenode.net. It’s a very high traffic channel as well, if you don’t get an answer you like, please stop by our mailing list, which is more likely to get attention of core developers since it’s asynchronous.

I’d Like To Keep Up With Release Announcements

Release announcements are posted to ansible-project, though if you don’t want to keep up with the very active list, you can join the Ansible Announce Mailing List

This is a low-traffic read-only list, where we’ll share release announcements and occasionally links to major Ansible Events around the world.

I’d Like To Help Share and Promote Ansible

You can help share Ansible with others by telling friends and colleagues, writing a blog post, or presenting at user groups (like DevOps groups or the local LUG).

You are also welcome to share slides on speakerdeck, sign up for a free account and tag it “Ansible”. On Twitter, you can also share things with #ansible and may wish to follow us.

I’d Like To Help Ansible Move Faster

If you’re a developer, one of the most valuable things you can do is look at the github issues list and help fix bugs. We almost always prioritize bug fixing over feature development, so clearing bugs out of the way is one of the best things you can do.

If you’re not a developer, helping test pull requests for bug fixes and features is still immensely valuable. You can do this by checking out ansible, making a test branch off the main one, merging a GitHub issue, testing, and then commenting on that particular issue on GitHub.

I’d Like To Report A Bug

Ansible practices responsible disclosure - if this is a security related bug, email security@ansible.com instead of filing a ticket or posting to the Google Group and you will receive a prompt response.

Bugs related to the core language should be reported to github.com/ansible/ansible after signing up for a free github account. Before reporting a bug, please use the bug/issue search to see if the issue has already been reported.

MODULE related bugs however should go to ansible-modules-core or ansible-modules-extras based on the classification of the module. This is listed on the bottom of the docs page for any module.

When filing a bug, please use the issue template to provide all relevant information, regardless of what repo you are filing a ticket against.

Knowing your ansible version and the exact commands you are running, and what you expect, saves time and helps us help everyone with their issues more quickly.

Do not use the issue tracker for “how do I do this” type questions. These are great candidates for IRC or the mailing list instead where things are likely to be more of a discussion.

To be respectful of reviewers time and allow us to help everyone efficiently, please provide minimal well-reduced and well-commented examples versus sharing your entire production playbook. Include playbook snippets and output where possible.

When sharing YAML in playbooks, formatting can be preserved by using code blocks.

For multiple-file content, we encourage use of gist.github.com. Online pastebin content can expire, so it’s nice to have things around for a longer term if they are referenced in a ticket.

If you are not sure if something is a bug yet, you are welcome to ask about something on the mailing list or IRC first.

As we are a very high volume project, if you determine that you do have a bug, please be sure to open the issue yourself to ensure we have a record of it. Don’t rely on someone else in the community to file the bug report for you.

It may take some time to get to your report, see our information about priority flags below.

I’d Like To Help With Documentation

Ansible documentation is a community project too!

If you would like to help with the documentation, whether correcting a typo or improving a section, or maybe even documenting a new feature, submit a github pull request to the code that lives in the “docsite/rst” subdirectory of the project for most pages, and there is an “Edit on GitHub” link up on those.

Module documentation is generated from a DOCUMENTATION structure embedded in the source code of each module, which is in either the ansible-modules-core or ansible-modules-extra repos on github, depending on the module. Information about this is always listed on the bottom of the web documentation for each module.

Aside from modules, the main docs are in restructured text format.

If you aren’t comfortable with restructured text, you can also open a ticket on github about any errors you spot or sections you would like to see added. For more information on creating pull requests, please refer to the github help guide.

For Current and Prospective Developers

I’d Like To Learn How To Develop on Ansible

If you’re new to Ansible and would like to figure out how to work on things, stop by the ansible-devel mailing list and say hi, and we can hook you up.

A great way to get started would be reading over some of the development documentation on the module site, and then finding a bug to fix or small feature to add.

Modules are some of the easiest places to get started.

Contributing Code (Features or Bugfixes)

The Ansible project keeps its source on github at github.com/ansible/ansible for the core application, and two sub repos github.com/ansible/ansible-modules-core and ansible/ansible-modules-extras for module related items. If you need to know if a module is in ‘core’ or ‘extras’, consult the web documentation page for that module.

The project takes contributions through github pull requests.

It is usually a good idea to join the ansible-devel list to discuss any large features prior to submission, and this especially helps in avoiding duplicate work or efforts where we decide, upon seeing a pull request for the first time, that revisions are needed. (This is not usually needed for module development, but can be nice for large changes).

Note that we do keep Ansible to a particular aesthetic, so if you are unclear about whether a feature is a good fit or not, having the discussion on the development list is often a lot easier than having to modify a pull request later.

When submitting patches, be sure to run the unit tests first “make tests” and always use, these are the same basic tests that will automatically run on Travis when creating the PR. There are more in depth tests in the tests/integration directory, classified as destructive and non_destructive, run these if they pertain to your modification. They are setup with tags so you can run subsets, some of the tests require cloud credentials and will only run if they are provided. When adding new features of fixing bugs it would be nice to add new tests to avoid regressions.

In order to keep the history clean and better audit incoming code, we will require resubmission of pull requests that contain merge commits. Use “git pull –rebase” vs “git pull” and “git rebase” vs “git merge”. Also be sure to use topic branches to keep your additions on different branches, such that they won’t pick up stray commits later.

If you make a mistake you do not need to close your PR, create a clean branch locally and then push to github with –force to overwrite the existing branch (permissible in this case as no one else should be using that branch as reference). Code comments won’t be lost, they just won’t be attached to the existing branch.

We’ll then review your contributions and engage with you about questions and so on.

As we have a very large and active community, so it may take awhile to get your contributions in! See the notes about priorities in a later section for understanding our work queue. Be patient, your request might not get merged right away, we also try to keep the devel branch more or less usable so we like to examine Pull requests carefully, which takes time.

Patches should always be made against the ‘devel’ branch.

Keep in mind that small and focused requests are easier to examine and accept, having example cases also help us understand the utility of a bug fix or a new feature.

Contributions can be for new features like modules, or to fix bugs you or others have found. If you are interested in writing new modules to be included in the core Ansible distribution, please refer to the module development documentation.

Ansible’s aesthetic encourages simple, readable code and consistent, conservatively extending, backwards-compatible improvements. Code developed for Ansible needs to support Python 2.6+, while code in modules must run under Python 2.4 or higher. Please also use a 4-space indent and no tabs, we do not enforce 80 column lines, we are fine with 120-140. We do not take ‘style only’ requests unless the code is nearly unreadable, we are “PEP8ish”, but not strictly compliant.

You can also contribute by testing and revising other requests, specially if it is one you are interested in using. Please keep your comments clear and to the point, courteous and constructive, tickets are not a good place to start discussions (ansible-devel and IRC exist for this).

Tip: To easily run from a checkout, source ”./hacking/env-setup” and that’s it – no install required. You’re now live!

Other Topics

Ansible Staff

Ansible, Inc is a company supporting Ansible and building additional solutions based on Ansible. We also do services and support for those that are interested. We also offer an enterprise web front end to Ansible (see Tower below).

Our most important task however is enabling all the great things that happen in the Ansible community, including organizing software releases of Ansible. For more information about any of these things, contact info@ansible.com

On IRC, you can find us as jimi_c, abadger1999, Tybstar, bcoca, and others. On the mailing list, we post with an @ansible.com address.

Mailing List Information

Ansible has several mailing lists. Your first post to the mailing list will be moderated (to reduce spam), so please allow a day or less for your first post.

Ansible Project List is for sharing Ansible Tips, answering questions, and general user discussion.

Ansible Development List is for learning how to develop on Ansible, asking about prospective feature design, or discussions about extending ansible or features in progress.

Ansible Announce list is a read-only list that shares information about new releases of Ansible, and also rare infrequent event information, such as announcements about an AnsibleFest coming up, which is our official conference series.

Ansible Lockdown List is for all things related to Ansible Lockdown projects, including DISA STIG automation and CIS Benchmarks.

To subscribe to a group from a non-google account, you can send an email to the subscription address requesting the subscription. For example: ansible-devel+subscribe@googlegroups.com

Release Numbering

Releases ending in ”.0” are major releases and this is where all new features land. Releases ending in another integer, like “0.X.1” and “0.X.2” are dot releases, and these are only going to contain bugfixes.

Typically we don’t do dot releases for minor bugfixes (reserving these for larger items), but may occasionally decide to cut dot releases containing a large number of smaller fixes if it’s still a fairly long time before the next release comes out.

Releases are also given code names based on Van Halen songs, that no one really uses.

Tower Support Questions

Ansible Tower is a UI, Server, and REST endpoint for Ansible, produced by Ansible, Inc.

If you have a question about tower, email support@ansible.com rather than using the IRC channel or the general project mailing list.

IRC Channel

Ansible has an IRC channel #ansible on irc.freenode.net.

Notes on Priority Flags

Ansible was one of the top 5 projects with the most OSS contributors on GitHub in 2013, and has over 800 contributors to the project to date, not to mention a very large user community that has downloaded the application well over a million times.

As a result, we have a LOT of incoming activity to process.

In the interest of transparency, we’re telling you how we sort incoming requests.

In our bug tracker you’ll notice some labels - P1, P2, P3, P4, and P5. These are our internal priority orders that we use to sort tickets.

With some exceptions for easy merges (like documentation typos for instance), we’re going to spend most of our time working on P1 and P2 items first, including pull requests. These usually relate to important bugs or features affecting large segments of the userbase. So if you see something categorized “P3 or P4”, and it’s not appearing to get a lot of immediate attention, this is why.

These labels don’t really have definition - they are a simple ordering. However something affecting a major module (yum, apt, etc) is likely to be prioritized higher than a module affecting a smaller number of users.

Since we place a strong emphasis on testing and code review, it may take a few months for a minor feature to get merged.

Don’t worry though – we’ll also take periodic sweeps through the lower priority queues and give them some attention as well, particularly in the area of new module changes. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll be exhausting all of the higher-priority queues before getting to your ticket.

Every bit of effort helps - if you’re wishing to expedite the inclusion of a P3 feature pull request for instance, the best thing you can do is help close P2 bug reports.

Community Code of Conduct

Ansible’s community welcomes users of all types, backgrounds, and skill levels. Please treat others as you expect to be treated, keep discussions positive, and avoid discrimination of all kinds, profanity, allegations of Cthulhu worship, or engaging in controversial debates (except vi vs emacs is cool).

The same expectations apply to community events as they do to online interactions.

Posts to mailing lists should remain focused around Ansible and IT automation. Abuse of these community guidelines will not be tolerated and may result in banning from community resources.

Contributors License Agreement

By contributing you agree that these contributions are your own (or approved by your employer) and you grant a full, complete, irrevocable copyright license to all users and developers of the project, present and future, pursuant to the license of the project.