[Scheduled Maintenance] Services Upgrade

Yesterday around noon, we ran into such serious problems with hyperion-ircd 1.0.1 that it became necessary to back out the NOIDPRIVMSG feature, which blocks unregistered users from sending private messages. But users responding to requests for feedback on the feature, via global notice and news item, commented very positively, with about 60% favoring the permanent adoption of the feature, and 83% favoring its use in some temporary or permanent form.

We’ve resolved the problems with the 1.0.1 code release and will be phasing the patched code in over the next 8 or 9 hours, with our main rotation servers restarted between 4am and 5am UTC. We’ll be working on providing a non-default NickServ setting for registered users, allowing them to receive messages from unregistered users. This feature should be available very soon. We’ll continue to test for the next few days, and you can help by telling us what you think of the feature; just email your comments to policy at freenode dot net. And registered or unregistered users can message an active staffer for help; just use

/stats p

to get the list.

We appreciate your patience and your support for the network. Thank you for using freenode!

[Scheduled Maintenance] IRCD upgrade.

By now you’ve noticed that the freenode network was upgraded late this morning to hyperion-ircd release 1.0.1. Due to overwhelming problems with floodbots during the last few days, we’ve added an experimental feature to hyperion ircd and we’ll be implementing it this afternoon.

In a few minutes, we’ll be reconfiguring the network to prevent unregistered users from sending private messages. This is an experimental feature which can be turned on and off at will. In the short term, it should prevent private message flooding from spambots; in the long term, combined with changes to authentication, it could make such flooding very rare. Please email us at policy at freenode dot net and let us know what you think of the feature. You’ll also be able to use

/stats p

to locate a staffer if you wish to comment, and staffers will be able to see your comments, whether or not you are registered and identified. Please take the opportunity to register your IRC nickname if you need the ability to send private messages. If you’ve already registered your nickname and have not set auto-identification on, please configure your client accordingly. Remember that the easiest way to auto-identify is to connect with your registered nick and specify your nickserv password as your server password.

Finally, we know this is a fairly major change to the operation of the freenode network. We’re taking this step due to the unprecedented volume of spam in the last few days. We hope you’ll take the time to email us at policy at freenode dot net to let us know how the change affects the usability of the network.

Thank you in advance for your help and your patience, and thank you for using freenode!

[Announcement] Introducing /stats p

Late-scheduled sponsor power outages between 9am and 10am UTC on Monday, 8 August 2005 (a bit over a day from now) will impact network use for most of our users. We’ll take the opportunity at that time to do software updates on several of our servers, and we’ll also schedule a test upgrade to Hyperion 1.0. Hyperion is a fork of our current dancer-ircd 1.0 ircd server software.

Hyperion represents the return to active maintenance of our source tree, and provides a number of bug fixes and operational enhancements. There will be a few visible enhancements, such as the use of the

/stats p

command, which will allow the user to get a list of freenode staffers who have marked themselves as “available to handle problems” with a new user mode, +T. We’ll make another new umode, +u, available to group members to allow them to bypass channel join limits. And one more major new feature, NOIDPREFIX support, may affect registered nickname formats. Nothing will be implemented for at least two months, but you’re urged to read the draft policy and comment to email address policy at freenode dot net.

As a convenience to our users, you can now identify to NickServ as you connect to the network. Just connect with your registered nickname and specify your NickServ password as a server password. We hope this will make identifying to NickServ easier.

Channel staffers will notice that usernames appear in WHOIS as “I=foo” or “N=foo” to indicate whether identd was successful or not. Channel forwarding has been cleaned up and should work properly with most clients. Channel forwarding bans now show the target channel. Various commands no longer break idle time. Channel quiet mask requests (+q) are now always reflected as ‘+b %foo’ mode changes to help keep clients synchronized. Hostname cloaks have been changed; where they previously appeared as right-major hierarchical names using ‘.’ to separate tokens, they will now be left-major, using ‘/’ as token separator. They’ll be extremely easy to distinguish from actual DNS hostnames and to ban or exempt as required. And a variety of operational and protocol changes under the covers should help the network to function more smoothly.

The most significant change to our code base, however, is just that we’ve reactivated the coding project and our development is now done from an SVN repository. Thanks to jilles, GXTi and the others on #hyperion for their excellent work in putting together the release. If you have any problems on Monday, please stop by the channel or email bugs at freenode dot net.

Thank you for your patience during the upgrades, and thank you for using freenode!