First book to discuss: Pro Puppet

Alright, first, I’m going to be upfront. Here’s how the voting turned out:

Yes, it was a tie, which is really kind of amazing when you look at the numbers. In the event of a tie, the deciding vote shall be cast by the Benevolent-Dictator-For-Life, so I’m voting for Pro Puppet.

If you’re not familiar with it, Puppet is a configuration management solution where you create infrastructure like you would write software. That probably sounds a little weird, but an example might help.

You could say, “OK, I’ve got an Ubuntu server, and I want to put Apache on it”. Without configuration management, you’d connect to the server, do apt-get install apache2 or whatever, and do it like that. With something like puppet, you’d say “ensure apache2 => running”. That’s pretty much it.

As always, the devil is in the details, and with a change this big, there are a lot of details, but that’s what this book is for. Here’s the description from Amazon:

Pro Puppet is an in-depth guide to installing, using, and developing the popular configuration management tool Puppet. The book is a comprehensive follow-up to the previous title Pulling Strings with Puppet. Puppet provides a way to automate everything from user management to server configuration. You’ll learn how to create Puppet recipes, extend Puppet, and use Facter to gather configuration data from your servers.

The book is by James Turnbull and by Jeff McCune, both of who will be doing a Q&A with us at some point this month!

So if you want to take part, buy or borrow Pro Puppet. If you buy it from the link below, I get a very small amount of money that I can use to buy things to hook into my Arduino, or maybe some more dinosaur t-shirts. But don’t feel like you have to. Maybe your library has a copy?

OK, so about the other side of this coin…discussions. One of my readers, Andrew, suggested forums for discussion. I think that’s a good idea. The discussions around the books should be free-form and open, and not confined just by what I want to talk about. So we’re going to have forums.

Except that I’m lazy, and I’m not going to set-up forum software when there’s a perfectly good forum out there that exists for just the kind of thing I want to do. It’s Reddit! So I created a Reddit community (which is typically called a subreddit) at

If you are already a redditor, you probably know how to use it. If you aren’t, then you can click “join or login” in the top right corner of the screen, and create a free account there. You don’t even need to add an email address (though it’s recommended so you can do password recoveries). Submitting a new story is as easy as clicking “Submit a link” on the sidebar. You can link to a site, or you can do a text submission, where you write your thoughts. Replies to your comments and text submissions are in the form of an orange-red envelope in the top right corner once you’re logged in.

Because message boards are very…liquid…it would be nice to have something more tangible when we’re done with this book. For that reason, I’d like to do an recorded Google+ hangout discussion at the end of the month. Here’s my profile, so add me, maybe.

One more thing…I got a ton of responses (like 80) of people that want to take part in this, and signed up for more emails, so I’m going to be creating a mailing list to distribute news and such. I’ll post more details in the subreddit (and probably on here) once I get them.

Alright. With that being said, please enjoy the book, and read responsibly. If it’s 2 hours after your bedtime, just go to bed. The book will be there tomorrow.

Comment below if you have any questions! Thanks!

  • Hi Matt,

    Sounds good, going to get my copy and share my comments!

  • Great, Angelo. I’m looking forward to it!

  • Jeff McCune

    Hi Matt,

    I’d love to join the Q&A if I’m welcome. I’m the co-author of Pro Puppet along with James.

    My Google+ profile is and I’d love to be a part of the hang out if you do that.


  • Mark Roberts

    Awesome! I’ve purchased the book with your link and I’m looking forward to the discussion.

  • William Triest

    Since Jeff is a friend of mine, maybe I shouldn’t mention it, but Pro Puppet is on available on Safari (

  • tomben

    When will the discussions happen? Will there be a regular schedule? (Last Thursday of the month, 28th day, etc?)

  • tomben

    …And disregard that last bit, my RSS reader just picked up the last post about the schedule.