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    Projects should use alternative networks, like OFTC or Libera, or better yet, operate their own IRC infrastructure. Self-hosting is really what makes IRC great: you can run your own server for your community and not be beholden to anyone else.

    Self-hosting IRC is not such a great notion.

    I know someone who hosts a small-time IRC network of two servers (two for redundancy). I doubt there are more than 40 people on it. When I was there a couple weeks back, it was being attacked by spam bots.

    I host an IRC server for a few friends and family. The reason it has worked as well as it has is that the server has a minimal and heavily restricted configuration. You don’t get onto that server unless you know somebody who is already there. I’d really love to replace it with some XMPP conferences or something, but getting buy-in from all my users isn’t so easy.

    Having lots of tiny IRC servers (or networks) is also inconvenient from a configuration point of view, as you need to add an entry for each network to a client config and most likely a bouncer config as well. And then you probably need to establish credentials for yet another service on the net.

    IRC wasn’t meant to be used in a fully decentralized way like that. For fully decentralized, the better bet is XMPP, or perhaps Matrix (though I don’t have much experience with the latter).

    If you’re going to use IRC for a project, please by all means use Libera or OFTC.

    I, too, am sad to see what happened to Freenode. I met my girlfriend there, and we’ve been together for 10 years as of this month. She was Freenode staff, and our first encounter involved her chewing me out for some minor policy infraction. She doesn’t remember it, but I sure do. It was the one and only time I got called out for something by staff. Two years later we were formally introduced.

    I was surprised to see a mention of Freenode Radio. She was involved with that too, and she saved a bunch of her recordings.

    I was heartbroken by the Freenode takeover. I dropped my nickserv account and left about an hour after the staff exodus.

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      Holy cow yes this. I saw this and did a double take!

      Running a sizable open source project is a LOT of work. I can’t even wrap my head around it honestly. Asking maintainers to run their own IRC server feels like a TON of extra work with very little actual gain.

      Also, mightn’t it be time to move on from IRC? I get that Discord and Slack represent proprietary monied interests which one might wish to avoid, but what about Matrix as others have said?

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        Also, mightn’t it be time to move on from IRC? I get that Discord and Slack represent proprietary monied interests which one might wish to avoid, but what about Matrix as others have said?

        IRC is time-tested and it mostly “just works”. I don’t have a whole lot of incentives to move to Matrix, and I possibly even have some disincentives. Text chat is a sweet spot for me. Being blind, adding things like images to chat brings me nothing and in fact often cuts me out of communication entirely. But we’ll ignore that issue for now, because I agree, IRC has some real rough edges.

        I also don’t see what Matrix brings to the table that we can’t already have with XMPP. XMPP is a time-tested protocol specified by actual RFCs, with a well-functioning extension process (XEPs). There is a profusion of compatible implementations. What does Matrix get me that XMPP doesn’t? I’m willing to be convinced, because I do think we need a widely-deployed protocol for chat and messaging that can replace IRC.

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          I’m glad IRC works for you. That’s fantastic. i’m partially blind myself so I can definitely appreciate how the bling can get in the way (although I can at least see it and don’t need to deal with the garbage a screen reader likely spews when it hits a dancing bear).

          One key advantage I see Matrix as having is persistence.

          Yes, you can set up an IRC bouncer, but maintaining infrastructure to run same said is a pain, and Matrix gives that to me for free.

          Anyway, use what you like. IRC clearly isn’t going anywhere, I just find myself never getting there because I have to think about firewalls, and connectivity, and persistence, Aaaaaand…….

          60 things come into my queue and any thought of futzing with Ye Olde Fashioned IRC goes out the window

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          My co-maintainer set up a channel with gitter.im which is basically matrix at this point, I think. I’m not sure how easy it was to set up, but it’s been hassle-free to administer and integrates nicely with the terminator github repos

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          How about running a Matrix server? I currently run my own Matrix instance and am on a few dev rooms (peertube, synapse-dev and others). Matrix absorbed Gitter a while back and has a lot of those developer rooms as well.

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          The Freenode staff are doing a spectacularly bad job of deciding who to bring onboard as channel operators, “community helpers”, or new staffers. Today I had the privilege of learning that l0de, a member of the infamous GNAA organization that had previously flooded the network by exploiting a Firefox bug, is now a quasi-staffer.

          Here’s an excerpt from #freenode:

          18:30 <redacted1> you called yourself a "core member" of a group that did explicitly racist things, and defended those racist things in this channel
          18:31 <@l0de> redacted1: The GNAA was a social organization dedicated to advancing African American men online and we succeeded brilliantly
          18:31 <@l0de> and had a great time doing it
          18:31 <@l0de> While there were some unsavory individuals involved
          18:31 <@l0de> I choose to remember the better angels of that very pioneering, very interesting movement
          18:38 <kiedtl> It's so funny that an old GNAA member is an operator here... considering that GNAA attacked freenode for years
          18:39 <@l0de> kiedtl: I waged a 20 year war against freenode
          18:39 <@l0de> And I triumphed
          18:39 <kiedtl> I should say so!

          If this doesn’t convince those few communities who’ve stayed with Freenode to leave, I don’t think anything will.

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            I had to google what GNAA is and holy jesus in a bicycle, was not expecting that.

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              Oh yeah… I hope you weren’t unlucky enough to find working copies of their shock sites!

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              18:39 <@l0de> kiedtl: I waged a 20 year war against freenode
              18:39 <@l0de> And I triumphed

              Kinda makes you wonder if the GNAA has something to do with this whole thing, or if Lee is just a fan…

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                This is a great view into (semi) recent IRC history and tech, as well as an elegy over a community destroyed by nitwits.

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                  a community destroyed by nitwits.

                  As far as I can tell, every community that was affected by the freenode shenanigans is still doing great after migrating, with the singular exception of maybe #forth who stubbornly decided to stay on freenode.

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                    OK, make that disrupted[1] by nitwits, wingnuts, and crazies.

                    [1] and not in the “cool” way techbros mean

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                      #forth who stubbornly decided to stay on freenode.

                      Even in that case, one of the channel operators decided to create an alternative channel on Libera. The channel only exists now on Freenode because the other operators are fanatically pro-Freenode.

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                    So sad. I was on Freenode for almost 20 years. I met many people through that network. Made great friends, got jobs. Saw people pass away. My time on Freenode was a large part of my life, and its over now. Thats fine, I can adapt, I can move on. But its still sad to see something many worked hard to build destroyed so quickly and callously.

                    I am not interested at all in whatever they are attempting to build. Its clear they have ill intent.

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                      All of that lead to Andrew’s takeover of the network last month, and last night they decided to remove the #fsf and #gnu channels from the network

                      For context, here is the GNU project’s opinion on the topic: https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/info-gnu/2021-06/msg00005.html

                      From that I read that the decision to move made by GNU itself, not by Freenode. The e-mail even expressly thanks the (new) Freenode staff:

                      The FSF and GNU deeply appreciate Freenode’s current operators for their participation in the community meeting, and their patience while we make our transition. We wish them the best of luck in their endeavors to support free software.

                      Everyone seems to describe what happens or has happened differently. It’s hard to see what is objective fact and what is subjective opinion…

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                        The takeover happened after the timestamp in the email above.

                        These are logs from my weechat instance (I provided them to Techrights staff because they could literally not believe what happened): http://techrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/fsf-channel-canceled.txt

                        Times are in CEST.

                        Note 2021-06-13 06:45:57 where FSF community manager ggoes loses op rights.

                        Also note 2021-06-13 07:14:51 where bandali, author of the email above, is k-lined (banned from the Freenode network).

                        And finally, this is the statement from the FSF itself: https://status.fsf.org/notice/4214348

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                          Ah thanks for clearing that up. It wasn’t obvious for me, though it probably should have been.

                          Incredible what’s happening with Freenode. It’s a shame…

                          Thank you again.

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                          From that I read that the decision to move made by GNU itself, not by Freenode.

                          Most projects that moved wanted to leave behind a channel with a message pointing people to the new location; I read this as saying that those are the channels that were were removed.

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                            Yes. The new management decided that any signposting constitutes “abandonment” of the channel, which gives them the right to nuke it (and conveniently erase mention of the “competition”). Naturally this is thoroughly evil.

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                              Yeah, in #sandstorm we put off switching for a bit because a bunch of us were waiting for a matrix bridge to get set up, so got to watch a bunch of other channels get yanked for mentioning libera.chat in the topic. We ended up going with the somewhat less searchable “The Sandstorm project no longer uses this channel; see sandstorm.io/community for where to find us” (with the website having been updated of course). Not sure how long it lasted though, and honestly not sure there was that much point in trying to avoid it.

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                          Historical question:

                          a user on the network we ran together found out that he could make rakaur‘s IRC bot run rm -rf --no-preserve-root /, and did so.

                          When did --no-preserve-root get added to rm? I thought it was reasonably recent, but I couldn’t find it in the NEWS file of coreutils.

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                              Good find. I suspected that reference to --no-preserve-root in the article was an anachronism, but it would actually fit the timeline.

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                            Should probably be folded into r0fddp, ping @pushcx

                            My client was still connected to a server with old services, so I took to opportunity to DROP my account.

                            07:39 -- MSG(nickserv): info gustaf
                            07:39 -- NickServ (NickServ@services.): Information on gustaf (account gustaf):
                            07:39 -- NickServ (NickServ@services.): Registered : Jul 28 22:07:55 2004 (16y 46w 3d ago)
                            07:47 -- │ NickServ (NickServ@services.): The account gustaf has been dropped.
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                              thanks for the reminder; just did the same. you can connect to rinnegan.freenode.net directly to get to legacy-freenode.

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                                Did the same, had my account there since 2014. Been on IRC since early 2000s, never seen this big of a fiasco before.

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                              It’s all been a weird trainwreck, but the decision to just ban everyone using IRCCloud is next level bizzare. Literally looks like a deliberate self-destruction.

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                                A deliberate netsplit between the new ircd and old ircd. Then an apparent netplit within the old ircd cluster. Watching this whole thing implode from the sidelines is really quite remarkable.

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                                  I’d believe it if somebody told me they convinced them to change the server software without migrating anything on purpose, because this is the biggest self sabotage they could do after all that happened. Why should you stay on freenode when all your channels and accounts (and accounts of friends) are gone..

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                                  I still don’t understand the ‘why’ of all this? Was this the goal from the start?

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                                    Never ascribe to malice or forethought that which can be more adequately explained by stupidity or drug-fueled mania.

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                                      I’m not really in to IRC, but as I understand it the entire thing started after Andrew Lee put a small logo/ad for his company on the freenode website? Some people were miffed about that, complained, Lee dug in, things escalated, and here we are.

                                      At the start of the COVID lockdowns my neighbour was playing very loud music throughout the day starting at 7am. I went over to his house to ask if he could please turn it down a bit (very nicely, I might add, I assumed he just didn’t realize it was so loud for me) and he proceeded to go berserk which ended with him calling the police on me several times over a 4-day period, asking for ~€350, threatening to have me deported, etc. In those four days he literally never talked to me: only shouted.

                                      Never underestimate the craziness of some people, especially not in the face of perceived sleights. No drug-fueled mania needed.

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                                        Some people were miffed about that, complained, YangLee dug in, things escalated, and here we are.

                                        I think there’s a bit more to it than that but people can’t/won’t tell the whole story for legal reasons.

                                        It really doesn’t matter. Andrew Lee had total control of Freenode from 19 May 2021. Everything after that has been due to actions made by him or his cronies. They bear full responsibility. Attempting to blame the previous staff or the person who allegedly sold the rights to him is just gaslighting.

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                                          Somehow I mixed up Andrew Lee and Andrew Yang. How silly 🤦 I’m starting to turn in to my grandmother who always mixed up the grandchildren’s names 😅

                                          I think there’s a bit more to it than that but people can’t/won’t tell the whole story for legal reasons.

                                          Maybe; but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was actually as simple as “crazy asshole is crazy asshole”; often things are complex, but sometimes they’re actually surprisingly simple.

                                          Either way, it’s a point of interest only for (future) historians of the internet. For all intents and purposes freenode is dead and nothing that will happen now will save it.

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                                    Slackware CD from Walnut Creek CDROM. This was Slackware 3.4

                                    woah … I literally still have those CDs, also ordered from Walnut Creek.