The lifecycle of an Ansible module

Modules in the main Ansible repo have a defined life cycle, from first introduction to final removal. The module life cycle is tied to the Ansible release cycle <release_cycle> and reflected in the ANSIBLE_METADATA block. A module may move through these four states:

  1. When a module is first accepted into Ansible, we consider it in tech preview and mark it preview. Modules in preview are not stable. You may change the parameters or dependencies, expand or reduce the functionality of preview modules. Many modules remain preview for years.
  2. If a module matures, we may mark it stableinterface and commit to maintaining its parameters, dependencies, and functionality. We support (though we cannot guarantee) backwards compatibility for stableinterface modules, which means their parameters should be maintained with stable meanings.
  3. If a module’s target API changes radically, or if someone creates a better implementation of its functionality, we may mark it deprecated. Modules that are deprecated are still available but they are reaching the end of their life cycle. We retain deprecated modules for 4 release cycles with deprecation warnings to help users update playbooks and roles that use them.
  4. When a module has been deprecated for four release cycles, we remove the code and mark the stub file removed. Modules that are removed are no longer shipped with Ansible. The stub file helps users find alternative modules.

Deprecating modules

To deprecate a module, you must:

  1. Rename the file so it starts with an _, for example, rename to This keeps the module available and marks it as deprecated on the module index pages.
  2. Mention the deprecation in the relevant CHANGELOG.
  3. Reference the deprecation in the relevant porting_guide_x.y.rst.
  4. Update ANSIBLE_METADATA to contain status: ['deprecated'].
  5. Add deprecated: to the documentation with the following sub-values:
removed_in:A string, such as "2.9"; the version of Ansible where the module will be replaced with a docs-only module stub. Usually current release +4.
why:Optional string that used to detail why this has been removed.
alternative:Inform users they should do instead, i.e. Use M(whatmoduletouseinstead) instead..

Changing a module name

You can also rename a module and keep an alias to the old name by using a symlink that starts with _. This example allows the stat module to be called with fileinfo, making the following examples equivalent:

ln -s
ansible -m stat -a "path=/tmp" localhost
ansible -m fileinfo -a "path=/tmp" localhost