[Linux-aus] [Grant Application] Comprehensive Kerbal Archive Network

Paul Fenwick paul.j.fenwick at gmail.com
Mon Apr 24 03:17:37 AEST 2017

G’day Linux Australia council and members,

In August 2014 I founded the Comprehensive Kerbal Archive Network (KSP-CKAN
<https://github.com/KSP-CKAN/CKAN>), a modifications (mod) manager for the
popular Kerbal Space Program game by Squad. Inspired by the Debian
packaging system, my goal was to create a system that would allow players
to easily install mods and keep them up-to-date, supported by rich metadata
so players could be assured they were getting the right packages for their
system, including dependency management and upgrade paths.

My not so secret mission was to inspire a new generation to be excited
about space exploration and research.

By creating a cross-platform (Mac/Linux/Windows), open-source (MIT) client
and associated metadata (CC-0), the project has been a resounding success.
We’ve attracted over 300 contributors, brought delight to well over 120,000
users, indexed thousands of mods, and measure our success in decades of
human joy delivered per month.

Most of the mods we index are also free and open source, and we handle the
automatic preservation of these in conjunction with the Internet Archive.
The KSP-CKAN is especially important for people using Kerbal Space Program
for planning and simulating real space travel, using the Realism Overhaul
stack. This provides an exact simulation of the solar system, authentic
hardware, and faithfully modelled aerodynamics. We’ve had NASA employees
personally devote their time to improving both the KSP-CKAN and associated

As we do not track our users, it’s hard to *directly* measure our project
success in terms of mods delivered, but we can use the number of client
downloads and user contributions as a proxy. Since early 2016 we’ve
routinely had over 100,000 downloads with each significant release, and
over the last month <https://github.com/KSP-CKAN/NetKAN/pulse/monthly>
we’ve had dozens of contributors working on our metadata and code.

For the last two years, AWS have been kind enough to sponsor our compute
costs, which are primarily used for the automated indexing of mods.
However, that sponsorship has recently expired, and due to a change in
contacts at AWS we’ve been unsuccessful at getting it reviewed.

While I’ve stepped down as mission director, I’m still the legal entity
responsible for hosting costs, and I'm very much supportive of the project
and its goals. We're extremely fortunate to have Leon Wright as our prime
infrastructure person. Leon is active in PLUG and the Perth open source
community, has been instrumental in handling the video processing
<http://www.techman83.me/programming/2014/01/20/eventstreamr.html> of past
LCAs, and has kept our systems running for years.

Our expenses are very modest; about $30 USD/month covers all our hosting
and compute costs. Because the amount is so small, we’re hoping to have
them covered by a single sponsor rather than via crowd-funding, as this
keeps our administrative overheads to a minimum.

To help us while we find another infrastructure sponsor, I’d like to apply
for a Linux Australia grant to secure the KSP-CKAN’s hosting for another
year. If at all possible, I would like to request the grant be paid in
arrears (after the costs have been incurrred), and only for the actual
costs of hosting. This both reduces our administrative work, and means
we're not asking LA for more funding than we genuinely need.

If we find an infrastructure sponsor before the end of the grant period,
then we’ll only be asking for funding up until the changeover date. Of
course, we welcome any LA member or organisation that wishes to cover our
entire infrastructure costs for a year or more, but we'll cast our net more
widely if need be.

For this grant application, I’d like to request a maximum of $600 USD ($800
AUD) over the twelve months ending 30th April 2018 to help with our
infrastructure. This is more than our projected expenses ($360 USD / $500
AUD) simply so we have some breathing space.

As mentioned, we’ll only be seeking reimbursement for costs actually

Many thanks again for your consideration, and I look forward to answering
any questions you may have.

Paul Fenwick
Founder, Comprehensive Kerbal Archive Network
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.linux.org.au/pipermail/linux-aus/attachments/20170423/a4079ba5/attachment.html>

More information about the linux-aus mailing list