HebaruSan edited this page Jan 16, 2018 · 37 revisions

Frequently Asked Questions

This page is a wiki; please feel free to contribute, and be bold with your edits!

If your question isn't answered here, try our IRC channel which is often filled with helpful people! Just be patient in waiting for a response.

Why do I need the CKAN? Can't I just go to the forums/Curse/SpaceDock to download mods?

CKAN is a tool of convenience and the time it saves is proportional to how much modding you do. If you have 1 mod installed then it only takes a a minute or 2 to check if that mod has a new release and to update it. But if you have 5, 10, 50, 150, or 250 mods then each mod taking 2-3 minutes can really add up. Especially if any of those mods have mods that they depend on in order to function properly.

In 1 click of the refresh button CKAN will scan hundreds of mods in seconds and inform you of any updates available to your installed mods. With a few more clicks it will update those mods all while making sure the mods are installed properly and making sure there are no conflicts between mods.

I'm on Windows, and get an error when I click on any mod.

You could be using an older version of the .NET framework. The CKAN GUI requires .NET 4.5 to run on Windows.

How do I run the CKAN on Linux/Mac?

By using mono. Simply run mono ckan.exe on the command-line.

On Linux, if you have binutils setup to handle Mono programs you can run ckan.exe by typing it in the command prompt.

On most Linux desktops you can launch ckan by right clicking on it and selecting "run with Mono Runtime." You can also create a program link ".desktop" file for it if you wish.

Can I import/export my list of mods?

Yes! You should find a CKAN/installed-default.ckan file under your KSP directory. This contains everything you've currently got installed. If you're using a recent CKAN release, you can also use File -> Export Installed Mods... from the GUI, allowing you to export a file to a location of your choice.

To re-install all the mods, you can use File -> Install from .ckan in the GUI, or ckan install -c installed-default.ckan from the command-line.

CKAN says my KSP directory isn't valid, I'm pretty sure it is. Help!

The CKAN checks for two things to determine if a KSP directory is "valid" or not:

  • It must have a GameData directory inside it.
  • It must have a readme.txt with a KSP-like Version line in it.

Usually when a directory is considered invalid, it's missing the readme.txt file, or that file has been overwritten. If you're using steam, asking your client to verify your installation can help. You can also get away with replacing the readme.txt with just the following if yours is missing:

Version 1.0.2

Why does the CKAN insist on a readme file with the KSP version?

Believe it or not, this is the most reliable way to find your KSP version number, regardless of platform or build status.

What are all these repositories, and how does it all work?

See "How does CKAN work?"

How do mods become available via the CKAN?

They need to be indexed using a simple metadata file. These metadata files are hosted on the NetKAN repository (a bot then automatically uses those .netkan files to create metadata files in the CKAN-meta repository as mods are added to the NetKAN repository or updated): anyone can contribute to it to make more mods available (when possible, it's courteous to inform a mod author that you're adding it).

For mods that are distributed through a site that gives us API access, this can be as simple as writing only a few lines. See adding a mod to the CKAN for more information.

A mod I want to see on CKAN isn't there, what can I do?

Anyone is able to add a mod to CKAN we have a detailed guide to do just that, although it's also recommended to hop on our IRC channel if you need a hand.

I'm a mod author and I've just hit the 'submit to CKAN' button on SpaceDock. Now what?

Hitting the button sends us an automated pull request, although these only have the most bare-bones of details and still require a human to review and adjust, which can sometimes take a while.

My mod is indexed on CKAN. Is there a graphic I can use to show this?

Yes! Try this one: CKAN Indexed badge

To add it to your KSP forum thread, paste the URL into the editing box and choose "Paste as plain text instead":


I want the newest version of mod X but CKAN only provides the previous one

If you know of a mod that has a new release but CKAN doesn't seem to know about it please tell us.

There are 2 major cases that cause us to not have information on new releases. Either the mod is hosted on a website that doesn't allow our bots to check for new releases, or the mod has failed to be automatically indexed. There are many possible causes and for a lot of those causes we get automatic notifications, but there are still some we currently don't.

What is the NetKAN?

The NetKAN refers to our army of bots: they tirelessly watch out for new releases and keep the index up to date, so that you will be notified of eventual updates the next time you update your client's list.

These bots download the mod, extract any embedded metadata they find, and combine it with the release information to produce new entries in the CKAN index.

What's the difference between a .ckan and a .netkan file?

Unless you're writing metadata, you don't have to care. If you are writing metadata, then the difference is:

  • .netkan file - Something which contains a $kref field, and hence is not a valid CKAN document, but which can be transformed into one with the addition of external metadata.
  • .ckan file - A fully rendered document describing a specific version of a mod, which no references to external metadata required.

The netkan.exe program can "inflate" a .netkan file into a .ckan by looking up external metadata. The advantage of us having .netkan files is that we can inflate them automatically when new releases come out, meaning you need only write them once, and we'll index new versions forever.

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