May 23, 2021


This week didn’t feel very productive. I finished my time on support on Tuesday, and returned to team work on Wednesday. Then I picked up one ticket and got it into review.


This week I read:

Freenode Drama

Freenode has been having some drama recently. Libera.Chat is now the place to be.

Some years ago, the former head of Freenode staff sold a holding company which managed Freenode’s assets to a third party. The staff weren’t told the details of the sale, but were assured that nothing would change and that the new owner would not be assuming operational control.

That changed recently, with the owner Andrew Lee (who goes by the nick rasengan) asserting control over the network, taking ownership of the domain name, infrastructure, and data.

A lot of the current Freenode staff have resigned: amdj, edk, emilsp, Fuchs, Jess, JonathanD, kline, Md, mniip, niko, njan, Swant.

rasengan wrote a reasonable-seeming response on the Freenode blog, and I admit I was hopeful that there had maybe just been some huge misunderstanding and that the whole thing was massively overblown.

Unfortunately, that hope was dashed, when it turns out that rasengan deregistered a channel which had moved to Libera.Chat. If you’re not an IRC user you might not see what the big deal is: someone moved their channel to another network, and so a network operator deregistered the channel on the old network, so what? Well, historically there is a very strong taboo against network operators interfering with how channel operators run things (and, indeed, in doing anything really beyond keeping the network running smoothly). So deregistering a channel which isn’t a clear and present threat to the network is already a big no-no; but even more than that, it’s against Freenode’s own published policies which currently state that a topic channel expires after 60 days.

So, the owner of Freenode is not only breaking a big cultural taboo, he’s also breaking official policy. And who can reprimand the owner of the network for this violation? Nobody, he’s at the top.

I’m still connected to Freenode, for now, but I’ve moved over to Libera.Chat for normal IRC usage.