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:






April 1st 2013, the aftermath

It’s been a little more than a week since we started our April Fools quiz this year; thanks to everybody who participated.

The first ten people who completed all three tracks are, in descending order of aprilness:

  • jojo
  • homerj
  • AndrewF
  • stereo`
  • ditzydoo
  • talisein
  • nebkat
  • timgoh0
  • Aster
  • PyroPeter


Here are the riddles and their solutions, in the original order:


  1. ###>++++++++++ [>++++++++++>+++++++++++>+++++++++++>+++++++++++>++++++++++><<<<<<-] >+>++>++++>+>+++> <<<<<< >.>.>.>.>.
    • This was brainfuck code, writing eprog to stdout
    • ###eprog
  2. #####9466848004102444800
    • This was a range between two unix timestamps, from 1.1.2000 until 1.1.2100 (midnight)
    • #####century
  3. ##### 277453665
    • This level was slightly harder, on a phone keyboard (according to TU-T E.161) writing with these numbers spelled aprilfool (with some guessing or T9)
    • #####aprilfool
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0
    • The beloved Rick Roll video. This was a joke idea, the channel ########gotyou was actually hidden as a channel forward (mode +f)
    • ########gotyou
    • Similar to last years keyboard riddle, you had to connect the airports on a map which formed the letters I W I N.
      • Bogota to Boston: I
      • Seattle to Phoenix to Denver to Dallas to Saint Paul: W
      • Cape Town to Oslo: I
      • Santiago to Boston to Cape Town to Stockholm: N
    • ######iwin

The topic in ######iwin was: Congratulations, you finished the misc track. Here, have a puzzle piece: It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this! ###the. Make sure to also play the other quiz tracks!


The list number references the level number of the listed question.

  1. What does Dorothy wish she was on the other side of?
    • ##rainbow
    • Referencing: Dorothy from the The Wizard of Oz sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
  2. What is the first thing Rick Astley will never give up?
    • ##you
    • Referencing: Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley.
    • Source
  3. This person can’t touch “this.”
    • ##mchammer
    • Referencing: U Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer.
  4. This old song leaves many people wondering what the writers had wrote it about. Most people think the song is about drugs, however the group has said in interviews that it didn’t really have any meaning at all.
    • ##hotelcalifornia
    • Referencing: Hotel California by the Eagles.
    • Source
  5. This 1975 classic is fairly self-explanatory.
    • ##bohemianrhapsody
    • Referencing: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.
  6. The main character, a kid, in this classic music video was mocked for being “this”.
    • ##poet
    • Referencing: Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd, specifically Part 1.
    • This question seemed to trip up the most people, as it was the most vague question.
  7. We reminisces about the good ole days of when those popular in music were radio stars.
    • ##buggles
    • Referencing: Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles.
    • This was the official answer for Level 8, however, as someone pointed out the official name of the band is “The Buggles.”
  8. Michael Jackson’s most popular song predicts this future event that is popular on the Internet as an event worth preparing for.
    • ##zombieapocalypse
    • Referencing: Thriller by Michael Jackson.
    • This one was a tad tricky as the answer was not in the lyrics of the song.
  9. This 80’s song was very controversial when it came out, offending several people, including average working people. It is often censored on the radio when played.
    • ##moneyfornothing
    • Referencing: Money For Nothing by Dire Straits.
    • More about the controversy.
  10. The most popular guitar riff is from the beginning of this group’s most popular song.
    • ##deeppurple
    • Referencing: Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple.
  11. This band was the first band to have three consecutive multi-platinum albums.
    • ##styx
    • Referencing: The Grand Illusion, Pieces of Eight, Cornerstone, and Paradise Theatre. These albums have been certified Multi-Platinum by the RIAA.

The /topic in ##styx was: Congratulations! | You have answered all the music trivia correctly. | Make you to play the other quizzes and you’ll need this for later, ###best


The list number references the level number of the listed question.

  1. Blog post of ##bhggbyhapu
    • This is a simple ROT13 cipher
    • where AtoN, BtoO, CtoP, etc.
    • python -c “print ‘bhggbyhapu’.decode(‘rot13’)”
    • The answer is: ##outtolunch
  2. pTShnJAmo3W0
    • This is base64 encoded then ROT13’ed.
    • python -c “print ‘pTShnJAmo3W0’.decode(‘rot13’).decode(‘base64’)”
    • The answer is: ##panicsort
  3. http://i.imgur.com/AArVy5H.png
  4. QOZTMLUVG IPAJGECYZ | Don’t forget to nT92MKV= | orange
    • nT92MKV=
      • This is the same as the previous level, rot13’ed and then base64’ed.
      • python -c “‘nT92MKV=’.decode(‘rot13’).decode(‘base64’)”
      • hover
    • If you hover over the comic on https://xkcd.com/944/ you’ll see:
      • After exhausting the OED, we started numbering them. When overlapping hurricanes formed at all points on the Earth’s surface, and our scheme was foiled by Cantor diagonalization, we just decided to name them all “Steve”. Your local forecast tomorrow is “Steve”. Good luck.
        • This next step is a bit of a leap, but we expected you to search for key phrases in the string. You should end up on Cantor’s diagonal argument on wikipedia. From here you’ll see some description of it. We want the most popular example of Cantor’s diagonal argument, which is Russell’s Paradox. (Can a set of all sets contain itself?)
    • The answer is ##russell’sparadox
  5. http://git.io/Y60F5g | 936 | UHG | NZCBXBXUSXDBXIWZWMMLLVLHM | WEQ | I’m So Meta Even This Acronym | freenode | 12 | ♥
    • The /topic changed a little bit during the game. This is the most recent form.
    • Hints given:
      • 2013-04-01 18:51:18 <yano> i think you should focus more on how you “cracked” the code for the last
      • 2013-04-01 18:51:32 <yano> and by code i mean, QOZTMLUVG IPAJGECYZ
      • 2013-04-01 18:52:12 <yano> UHG and WEG are pretty important
      • 2013-04-02 04:13:28 <yano> it is vigenere
      • 2013-04-02 05:42:38 <yano> one more semi-important hint: UHG | NZCBXBXUSXDBXIWZWMMLLVLHM | WEQ are each encrypted with the same KEY and method
    • The last hint pretty much gave it away for many people.
      • This is vigenère again.
      • The key is IRC ROT12-ed.
        • IRC is expected to come from the reference of I’m So Meta Even This Acronym and freenode as in an acronym of/about freenode.
        • The 12 comes from the number directly in the /topic.
        • UGH decrypts to
          • AES
        • WEQ decrypts to
          • CBC
      • Now, let’s take a break and follow a pattern from previous levels. Let’s pull up https://xkcd.com/936
        • This should be obvious given the previous pattern of XKCD being involved in these levels.
      • While viewing that you should probably download http://git.io/Y60F5g
        • wget http://git.io/Y60F5g
      • Y60F5g is encrypted with AES-256-CBC. This is provided by the previous clues.
      • The key for the encrypted file is Tr0ub4dor&3
      • openssl enc -d -aes-256-cbc -a -in Y60F5g -out Y60F5g.plaintext
      • The output of the file is: ##K&R
    • The answer to this level is ##K&R

The topic in ##K&R was: Congratulations! You have completed freenode’s crypto challenge! | Make sure to also play the other quizzes, and take this with you ###est | http://git.io/TLfWTg

With ###the and ###best and ###est you are expected to put these pieces together to find ###thebestest

Congratulations to those who have completed all the tracks and levels!

Top 10

All times listed are in UTC.

Rank Nick Time
1 jojo 2013-04-02 06:04:34
2 homerj 2013-04-02 06:14:31
3 AndrewF 2013-04-02 06:42:53
4 Stereo` 2013-04-02 06:51:42
5 ditzydoo 2013-04-02 07:20:45
6 talisein 2013-04-02 08:06:23
7 nebkat 2013-04-02 08:24:36
8 jarick 2013-04-02 09:53:51
9 Sarah 2013-04-02 10:06:50
10 PyroPeter 2013-04-02 10:55:47


Those who have completed all the levels and made it to the final channel but didn’t make it in time for the top 10:

  • alex_joni
  • CeruleanSky
  • DonkeyHotei
  • erkin
  • fsckd
  • kaneda^
  • Kent
  • luckybunny
  • Martok
  • pekuja
  • Pixelz
  • PoohBear
  • Rutix
  • shino
  • slidercrank
  • stac
  • Tordek
  • Valodim

These people were elligible for our cloak lottery, where we used a piece of code to randomly pick three people to win a cloak. Those people were: fsckd, Rutix, and stac.

Top 10 For Each Track

All times are listed in UTC.


Rank Nick time
1 Xneby 2013-03-31 20:19:19
2 Stereo` 2013-03-31 20:25:27
3 AndrewF 2013-03-31 20:31:31
4 FireFly 2013-03-31 20:36:28
5 ubuntor 2013-03-31 20:38:47
6 thommey 2013-03-31 20:40:30
7 luckybunny 2013-03-31 20:44:34
8 lastplacer 2013-03-31 20:48:33
9 Pixelz 2013-03-31 20:50:20
10 Mortomes 2013-03-31 20:51:10


Rank Nick time
1 grawity 2013-03-31 22:00:47
2 PoohBear 2013-03-31 22:32:45
3 nikis 2013-03-31 22:37:01
4 CeruleanSky 2013-03-31 22:37:32
5 ss 2013-03-31 23:31:32
6 AndrewF 2013-04-01 00:01:47
7 Kent 2013-04-01 00:05:03
8 carharttjimmy 2013-04-01 00:07:31
9 Sarah 2013-04-01 00:09:11
10 fsckd 2013-04-01 00:09:49


Rank Nick time
1 jojo 2013-04-02 03:30:13
2 homerj 2013-04-02 06:12:04
3 AndrewF 2013-04-02 06:41:25
4 Stereo` 2013-04-02 06:43:39
5 ditzydoo 2013-04-02 07:12:06
6 talisein 2013-04-02 08:05:32
7 nebkat 2013-04-02 08:21:49
8 shino 2013-04-02 09:21:46
9 jarick 2013-04-02 09:52:16
10 Sarah 2013-04-02 10:05:44

Insert witty title here

Like every year, we would like to invite our users to take part in the April 1st quiz and have the chance to win an April Fools’ cloak.

Good luck, lots of fun, and thanks for flying freenode trebutchet!

What does Dorothy wish she was on the other side of?
###>++++++++++ [>++++++++++>+++++++++++>+++++++++++>+++++++++++>++++++++++><<<<<<-] >+>++>++++>+>+++> <<<<<< >.>.>.>.>.

Bye bye PDPC

Sadly, we were forced to dissolve PDPC, freenode’s parent organisation.

When the organisation transferred across from the US to the UK we wanted to keep the organisational structure as close to what it had been before (change is scary, right?) — however, we made the conscious decision to no longer have any paid employees after Rob Levin passed away. This meant that everyone involved with the organisation were volunteers and we no longer had anyone who could invest the time and effort required to do fundraising and similar tasks, meaning that the organisation was unable to sustain the levels of donations required to obtain and maintain charitable status in the UK.

Due to the massive reduction in financial support we found ourselves in a position where being an incorporated organisation cost more than what we were able to bring in in donations and after years of operating at a loss it was decided that we would apply for the dissolution of the corporation in order to drastically reduce costs. The application has been processed and the organisation has been dissolved; to further reduce costs we have also discontinued the majority of infrastructure services for which the organisation paid, together with the reduced administration and organisational fees this means that we are now in a position where our outgoings are restricted to domain renewals! We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the organisation in the past, users, organisations and staff in particular, who have always been (begrudgingly?) happy to contribute towards the difference in order to cover the deficit.

What does this organisational change mean for freenode?

In practise it means very little, the PDPC has never been involved in the day to day operations of the network and there will be no changes to the way in which the network is run. freenode is staffed entirely by volunteers from all over the globe who contribute their time and expertise to keep the network up and running in between contributing to various other FOSS projects.

What about other PDPC projects, such as fosscon, geeknic, and the fossevents site?

These projects will continue as they have before, and we invite you to attend fosscon for real world talks and collaboration, to join a geeknic picnic or plan your own at http://geeknic.org, and to check out http://fossevents.org for events in your neighbourhood and around the world.

I appreciate the work you do and I still want to contribute

The best way in which to help the network is to contribute time — help out in #freenode or elsewhere on the network, assist users in finding answers to their questions and help us try keep the channel and network temperature at a nice, comfortable level which encourages collaboration!
If you are low on time but still want to help out you might be able to help us through your company or organisation by becoming a server sponsor (See “Hosting a server” for more information).
If you feel that one particular volunteer has helped you out and you want to say thank you — ask them if they have a preferred charity to which you could make a small donation! With time we might update our website to provide links and information of such preferences.
Alternatively, you may consider donating to one of the following projects:

Existing PDPC donor cloaks

Existing PDPC donor cloaks will remain valid for a full year, after which they will be converted to unaffiliated cloaks. Ongoing donations will be cancelled by us. If you have previously donated to PDPC you’ll still qualify for your donor cloak as normal. If you believe you’re due a cloak and we haven’t processed it yet please contact us.

April 1st, the aftermath

It’s been two weeks since our April Fools quiz; thanks to everybody who participated. Several people managed to complete the quiz; the first eight are:

  1. dwfreed
  2. bikcmp
  3. divVerent
  4. sbp
  5. meridion
  6. heftig
  7. JoshuaA
  8. [bjoern]

Here are the riddles and their solutions, in the original order:

Stage 1, the picture linked on the blog:


This was base64 + rot13 encryption,

Stage 2, topic in ##start


Encryption A-Z Z-A,

With a bit of thinking, this led the users to ######neutrinos

Stage 3, topic in ######neutrinos


Solvable with a picture of the Colemak keyboard layout and a bit of tracing with your fingers. Following the path between the keys on the keyboard gave you C, O, D, I, N, G.

Stage 4, topic in ####coding

3. #### Find a five-digit number in which the last number is the sum of the first, second, and third; the third is four less than the last; the fourth is two less than the last; and the first and fourth added are one less than the last. The last number is also three times the second.

Plain math, 13579

Stage 5, topic in ####13579

#### This “huge” work, written over twen ty years, contains ten books. What colour is it?

The Great Book of Amber

Last Stage, topic in ####amber

i yam what i yam but i yam ####

which lead to ####popeye, the final channel.

We hope you enjoyed our little quiz and had a great time.


As of today, freenode had 81443 concurrent connections. Last Friday, the count lingered around 79987, presumably to make things more interesting for those of us keeping close track.

We passed this milestone one working day later than I predicted in January 2011, more than a year ago. Scary precision, I know. Extrapolation based on graphs and nothing else is a big no-no in the scientific circles, yet we really do grow at an exceptionally steady and predictable pace.

Still remembering the excitement when irc.openprojects.net surpassed 2,000 users, I have always had a knack for those numbers. Meaningless in and as of themselves, they do prove that we are able to provide a valuable service to our users and that more and more people apparently agree. freenode is not without growing pains, but I like to think that we are on a good path.

Once again, all of us would like to thank all our users and all our volunteers. It’s a fun ride for us and, hopefully, for you, too!

To make tracking our old posts regarding this easier, here goes:





See you around July 2013 when we expect to hit 90k.. :)

At dawn, we ride for FOSDEM Castle

As usual, some of us will be around at FOSDEM.

A possibly incomplete list of us includes Fuchs*, kloeri, Md*, mquin, RichiH, and spaceinvader; asterisks indicating first timers. We may or may not update this list as attendance changes. As a first, we will have a somewhat stable base for people wanting to meat us. I (RichiH) will help man the beer token sale for the Beer Event this year, it’s not unlikely that other staff will stick around as well. The first one to tell me where the quote is from (in person) will get a beer token.

Also, staff pets ahf and sejo will lurk the shadows of FOSDEM, ready to fulfill our every wish and dream. If you see them, toss them food.


Today, January 18th 2012, a number of websites, organisations and institutions along with countless individuals have chosen to take a stance to protest the proposed SOPA and PIPA legislations.

We believe that these acts could have a significant impact on the way in which we currently use the internet, and we strongly encourage and support raising awareness about the legislative proposals in order for people to make an informed decision about their stance on the issue.

Whilst we will not be partaking in any blackout to mark the occasion, we very much welcome frank and open discussion about SOPA/PIPA in ##sopa on the freenode network. The channel is not run by freenode staff, but was created by some people with a passion about the topics covered by the proposed legislations. If you feel passionate about SOPA/PIPA or you want to find out what all this is about, why not come along and join in the discussion?

As the USA is a power house in so far that they directly or indirectly control most of the internet’s infrastructure, and the proposed legislation has been written in a manner in which they specifically take into account “foreign rogue sites”, the legislation will, should it pass, have an impact upon the world as a whole.

For more information about SOPA/PIPA, please see: