Possible SORBS closure

Short blog post this evening but an important one!

I suspect many of you rely on the SORBS DNS blacklists to help provide spamless emails.  Sadly infrastructure support is being withdrawn by the current providers leaving a significant void to effective spam handling.

I encourage you to read over the articles on  http://www.au.sorbs.net/ and if at all possible offer assistance.

Thanks!

New freenode webchat (and why to use it)

As of today we have disabled access to the freenode irc network via mibbit.  While there are numerous reasons for this, it ultimately comes down to the ability to prevent abuse via this client.  We allow connections from many types of web gateways, and such connections require a certain amount of trust and communication between the server operators and the gateway operators.  While we have tried to maintain a good working relationship with anyone who wishes to provide access to freenode and are lucky that most of our users and projects are very friendly and communicative, we have found it difficult to maintain open communications with mibbit.  This has resulted in a large amount of staff time being spent on managing abuse coming from mibbit, disrupting service for other mibbit users and reducing the quality of the network.  Sadly, we feel that this is ultimately not beneficial to mibbit users or the network as a whole.

We apologize to those who used mibbit for the inconvenience this has caused, and for the need to find a new client or method to connect to freenode.

In response to this, we have implemented our own web gateway at http://webchat.freenode.net.  The webchat runs qwebirc package which was developed for and extensively used by quakenet. We’d like to extend our thanks to Chris “slug” Porter and the rest of the team for making it available.

Some of the features of qwebirc can be found here.

Our new webchat facility also makes it easy to add to your own site.  To do this, just click on the menu icon on the top left corner where you will find an “add webchat to your site” option.  You will be taken through an easy wizard to get this going and get the webchat on your very own site!

We want YOU!

We are currently looking to expand the freenode volunteer staff team, seeking people involved with the target communities we currently serve.

The freenode network has seen substantial growth in recent times and as such we are looking to add to our existing team of volunteers. freenode volunteers hail from a variety of backgrounds and come in all ages, it’s a diverse group of people and we all share a passion for Free and Open Source Software, Free Culture and Peer-Directed Project Communities. We are looking for peoplewho would complement the current set-up and make a refreshing addition to the team.

Each freenode volunteer has a individual role within the project; utilizing their strengths, experience and interests. No minimum level of privileges are guaranteed. The corner-stones of network operation is that of the role of ‘levelone support volunteers,’ who build the foundation upon which the rest of the network is based. All volunteers, regardless of seniority are encouraged to spend as much time as possible on levelone duties.

We are currently looking for:

  • Perl Developers — familiarity with catalyst, sql and git would be a bonus.
  • Support Volunteers — the first point of contact for users and groups looking for assistance with the network.
  • Community co-ordinators — to work closely with groups and projects to ensure they best utilize what we have to offer. This role will involve doing research for the podcast and fair bit of blogging, wordsmiths encouraged to apply!

Perl Developers — are wanted for work on freenodes’ Group Management System (GMS), if you want further information or would like to see how you can help, please join us in #freenode-gms or drop a line to code AT freenode DOT net.

Support Volunteers — if you want further information prior to applying, please come speak with us in #freenode, all current staff are voiced and we would all be happy to answer any questions you may have. Prior experience is not necessary, but familiarity could be a bonus. In particular we would love to hear from you if you are in a time-zone where we are currently short. This link gives an indication of grey areas which need covering, 2AM UTC to 6/7AM UTC in particular.

Community co-ordinators — if you want further information about this role, please get in touch with christel, JonathanD or Martinp23 in #freenode or private message.

Prior to applying

Please familiarise yourself with our guidelines, policies, procedures and philosophies as per our website: http://freenode.net and assess whether you feel you agree with what we are all about. We’re looking for someone who is able to work as a team but also happy to take initiative. We also ask that you read the section on our website relating to volunteering.

How to apply

If you’ve done the above and you are happy to continue, we ask that in the first instance you drop us an e-mail to volunteering AT freenode DOT net containing the following information:

  • Your Nick (Nickserv Accountname)
  • Your Name
  • Your Age
  • Why you would like to volunteer
  • Why do you currently use freenode (eg. projects involved with, user/contributor etc)
  • An indication of time committment you would be able to make
  • Optional: Make us laugh! Tell us a joke

Applications for Support Volunteers and Community Co-ordinators will CLOSE at midnight (UTC) on June 30th 2009 and we ask that you e-mail us prior to this deadline if you are interested in our current recruitment drive. We regret that we may not be able to accept all applicants, but ask that if unsuccessful in this round you consider re-applying in the future. Upon successful completion of “stage one,” you will be asked to partake in “stage two”, where you will be expected to fill out our volunteer questionaire upon which the final decision will be made. Thank you for your consideration, and for using freenode.

freenode Network Services Cleanup and Changes.

As announced previously, we have recently (as of Thursday, June 10th) pruned our nickserv and chanserv databases.  We also performed some additional updates and modifications.  While the most obvious change of this will be that any nicks older than 60 days have been dropped, there have been some additional changes implemented as well.  In addition, we have added a new webchat service for users who wish to irc from behind a firewall disallowing a more direct connection.  You can try it out here!

First, we have made a modification to make it easier to identify, as long as your client supports a server password.  Previously, users were able to identify by using a registered nick and sending the password for that registered nick as their server password.   You can also now identify on connect regardless of nick by providing both your account name and password, as follow: “/connect irc.freenode.net 6667 :mquin uwhY8wgzWw22-zXs.M39p.”  This will identify you upon connection.

As a result of this change, we have removed the requirement to group an alternate nick before requesting an unaffiliated cloak.  The requirements for a cloak are outlined here.

Group Contacts are welcome to check in with us within the next 4 weeks to resolve any issues that may have arisen as a result of the pruning.   If you are a group contact, and have any issues as a result of this maintenance, feel free to drop in to #freenode and ask for assistance.

As always, thank you for using freenode, and have a great day!

[Scheduled Maintenance] Services database clear-out.

This is just to let you know that we will soon be performing a fairly substantial cleanup of the NickServ and ChanServ databases.

We’ll be dropping all expired nicknames. As explained in the FAQ, nicknames on freenode expire after 60 days. Nicks that are at least two weeks old and that were last used less than two hours after their creation are also considered to be expired.

There are a few things you should know about this cleanup process:

  1. It will take place at 9am UTC on Thursday  11th June 2009.
  2. It may take a little while. We prune the database infrequently and it’s grown fairly large sine the last time.
  3. A channel for which all contacts are expired will be deleted. If your channel is active but your contacts are not, please let us know by midnight Wednesday 10th June (again, UTC) and we’ll try make special arrangements.
  4. We will try avoid expiring project cloaked user nicknames.
  5. Grouped alternate nicknames which are considered to be expired will be dropped.
  6. If you’ve not used your grouped nick much, or you haven’t used it recently, it may be expired.
  7. Please make sure your bots identify to NickServ or its registration may be lost.
  8. Be sure to do the canonical setup so you don’t lose your nicks and channels. Please follow these canonical nickname setup instructions to make sure that your nicknames and channels aren’t lost through disuse.

Please make sure your nick(s) are set up properly before Thursday and that you’ve spoken with freenode staff to resolve any outstanding channel and nick issues. Thanks for your understanding, and thank you for using freenode.