Over 9000 * 10

freenode has been growing slowly and steadily, breaking the next practically-useless-but-still-kinda-neat barrier of more than 90,000 concurrent connections at the same time. It’s very nice, and humbling, to know that we are able to enable so many people to communicate with each other.

I shouldn’t have added a month of leeway at the last second to my last prediction so the scary scary 100,000 is officially targeted for May 2014. Yes, the pace at which freenode is growing seems to be increasing ever so slightly.

Historic posts for those of you keeping track:

http://blog.freenode.net/2007/08/freenode-has-reached-40-000-users/

http://blog.freenode.net/2008/09/50000-active-users/

http://blog.freenode.net/2009/12/happy-new-year-2010/

http://blog.freenode.net/2011/01/freenode-70k/

http://blog.freenode.net/2012/04/80k/

The good, the bad, and the ugly…

Firstly, I would like to apologise for the interruptions the network has experienced in the last week (and continues to experience as we speak). I would also like to thank our incredible server sponsors for the time and dedication they have shown in helping us attempt to deal with the situation.

Sponsors — sponsors are the lifeblood of the network; without sponsors there would be no freenode. Unfortunately, the recent attacks have been significant enough for some of our sponsors to pull the plug as they were unable to continue providing the same level of assistance to the network as they had in the past. These kind of attacks can be costly for our sponsors; the disruptions soon have a financial impact for sponsors and their paying clients when service is disrupted. They are also costly in time and resources spent trying to alleviate the issues caused within their networks. To those of our sponsors who have had to discontinue sponsorship, in part or in full, I would like to thank you for the years of support. Not just for freenode but for the Free and Open Source Software Communities and we can only apologise for the difficulties your organisations have experienced as a result of these recent attacks.

Free and Open Source Software Communities — whilst sponsors may be the lifeblood of the network, the FOSS communities are our reason for being. Unfortunately they, along with our sponsors, are the ones suffering at the hands of the attacker(s) — it is their projects that are disrupted and affected and we can only apologise for the instability and disruption experienced by projects on the network in this last week.

freenode — ironically freenode is the puzzle piece that gets off lightly. We’re just a bunch of people passionate about FOSS — the network itself is devoid of feeling and whilst our volunteers do their best dealing with the aftermath of the attacks and try to keep the network up and running the reality is that in the grand scheme of things freenode is nothing. freenode is just a means to an end; the projects that have chosen to use freenode could easily go elsewhere, the volunteers who staff the network… well, they could easily go wherever their projects went — we volunteer for freenode because we’re passionate about FOSS, and the majority of us also contribute to one or several FOSS projects or have done in the past. For us it has never been about “freenode” — it has been about FOSS; and the projects we, as individuals, care about. We are all freenode users first, and staffers second.

If there was no freenode, there would be other alternatives — perhaps similar alternatives, perhaps very different alternatives. The FOSS communities are full of talented, passionate people and I have no doubt that we’d all find different ways to stay in touch and work on our projects even if there was no freenode.

That’s not to say we’re about to throw in the towel — we’ve all invested a lot of time and effort in the network and I am sure we will continue to do so for as long as there are projects wanting to use it and sponsors willing to help us.

I wish I could provide you with detailed information about the attacks and the cause of them — but these details are but a mystery to us and with nearly 90,000 users I’d be loathe to speculate as to who we might have annoyed… or how. For the time being, we intend to continue mitigating attacks where possible and continuing to endeavour to provide service as usual!

Once more, thank you for the support and the faith in the project — and thank you for the patience whilst our infrastructure team desperately tries to juggle our infrastructure around to bring back as much of our normal services as is possible at this point in time.