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.

11 thoughts on “The good, the bad, and the ugly…

  1. I would hope the appropriate individuals are in contact with law enforcement, given that intentional DDOS attacks are illegal in most/all of the countries in which freenode servers are located. Not that I exactly expect law enforcement to accomplish anything overnight, but doing something is better than doing nothing, in my opinion, and freenode and its sponsors are probably a bit more likely than Joe’s Random Website to get attention from law enforcement.

  2. Freenode cooperates with LEAs as soon as they have anything worthwhile. Unfortunately the time and resources (not to mention expertise) required to track down command and control servers are not available.

    I have a feeling Freenode users will respond with support and an increased focus on their Freenode servers importance.

  3. You have a fine team of volunteers working on this. I respect their willingness to help. And to keep trolls like me in line when necessary… :]

  4. Why would anybody attack freenode as a whole? All I can think of is that some people are just dumb sons of bitches without any respect. Hopefully freenode will have enough support to stay in existence.

  5. So server lindbohm,niven,rajaniemi,wright,zelazny,brooks are down for now or forever?

  6. @Roy As the article explains, some sponsors have unfortunately pulled the plug but I don’t think we have or will make any public statements as to which. http://freenode.net/irc_servers.shtml will be updated at some point and we always reccomend you connect to chat.freenode.net rather than a specific server.
    P.s. rajaniemi at least is online.

  7. Perhaps its time for freenode to require registrations via webpage and issue logins limited to one or 2 sessions before people are permitted to connect to the servers.

    I know it’s a PITA, but the new realities are what they are.

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