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  Sadly infrastructure support is being withdrawn by the current providers leaving a significant void to effective spam handling.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.


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.

Free-as-in-Node episode 5 released!

Episode 5 of Free-as-in-Node is now available and ready to abduct even more of your time, now with even more ginger!  Listen in for some details on Ubuntu-1 from Stuart “aquarius” Langridge in Pimp My Project.  Ubuntu-1 sounds like an amazing new project.  Stuart gives us a tip to take a look at Ubuntu-1 without the wait, and gives us a few details on what he is up to and whats going on at Canonical.  He tells us about the ayatana mailing list, where discussion takes place on the interface and looks of Ubuntu.  We also find out about the new telepathic user interface Stuart is going to deliver to us… personally.

Christel tells us about the time travel fund, and the organization behind it.  For only $10 YOU too can sign up to be whisked away into time.  You’ll get it back with interest when they come back to take you away.  For $20 you can even go back to pick up your dead relatives.   Christel unfortunately vanished moments after signing up.

In this weeks political rant we hear about expenses filed by members of parliament for all sorts of things, from replacing light bulbs to pipes under their personal tennis courts.  It seems members of parliament are making use of this to furnish their homes, feed their families, and all sorts of other things. None of this is illegal, but is that because the people doing it are the ones making the laws?  Going on we hear all about the political views around the table and Christel hugging the queen.

Further on, we listen to the crew chatting about the way the world has changed and whats different now from the era of our grandparents.  No more leaving the door unlocked and coming home to tea.  Is the world more evil today than it was?

All in all, a much deeper episode delving into all sorts of things, and very entertaining.  Head on over to http://podcast.freenode.net to listen in!

SouthEast LinuxFest (SELF) 2009

The first annual SouthEast LinuxFest is coming up in just a few weeks, on June 13th.  This event is for anyone who wants to learn more about free and open source software, and is a combination educational conference and social gathering, all in one.  It looks to be a very exciting event.  Freenode will have at least one representative at the event and we are already aware of quite a few freenode users who will be there.

The event website is http://southeastlinuxfest.org, and you can also hop on irc.freenode.net and visit #southeastlinuxfest.

We really hope a few of you can make it in.  It really looks like it’s going to be a wonderful event. If you would like to join in, be sure to register on the site.  Hope to see you there!

Summer of Geeknics Off to a Great Start!

After much worry about the weather (and possibly being thrown out of the park by park rangers), the Philadelphia Geeknic held yesterday, Sunday, April 19th, 2009, kicked off for a great day of fun in the (partial) sun, with food, fun, and geeks!  With about thirty people in attendance and plenty of food to go around, there was much to do.  Conversation centered around software, work, and harassing the “windows guy” while children played in the field.  Eventually a handful of geeks wandered off for a game of Frisbee at which they for the most part failed miserably. Despite the slightly cloudy day, the weather stayed mostly warm and comfortable.

Through a grave error, the geeknic cake was misplaced, thus ensuring that the cake was, in fact, a lie.  Fortunatly the selection of desserts did not suffer much from the missing cake, as there were plenty of treats to be found, including adorable ubuntu cupcakes.

All in all, everyone in attendance seemed to have a wonderful time, and we look ahead anxiously to the next Geeknic, in Dublin Ireland next month, and many others to follow!  We hope you can find your way to one or more of them.

If you would like to find out more, or see if there can be a Geeknic in your neck of the woods, send an email over to geeknic (at) geeknic (dot) org and the Geeknic team will see what they can do.

pdpc and the open source community

As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, pdpc, the parent organization that operates freenode, is very interested in offering more to the community.  To this end we’ve begun a number of other projects such as the new free-as-in-node podcastand “geeknics“, but this is just a small part of the level of involvement we aspire to.  We want to do more for the projects and users that use freenode every day, and for the community they represent.

With this in mind, you will be seeing one aspect of this here on the blog, as we make an effort to highlight events, projects, and people in the open source community.  You will see references to these here, much like the “pimp my project” section on our podcast, as we strive to bring attention to these well deserving events, projects, and people.  We would, of  course, love to hear from you about any of this, or anything you think deserves a mention, but meanwhile we will be seeking out those that we find interesting and mentioning them here.

Expect to see more in the near future promoting interesting and fun things, along with some more community focused projects from the pdpc and freenode.  We want to offer you and everyone in the open source community even more.  Stay tuned!

Community Leadership Summit – July 18-19th 2009, San Jose, CA.

Jono Bacon, one of my friends and a FOSS contributor for which I have a lot of respect, known to many for his work as Ubuntu‘s Community Manager is one of the people behind arranging the Community Leadership Summit — a conference aimed at bringing people from various projects together to look at cross project collaboration and such things. The conference complements freenode and the PDPC’s Group Advisory Board very well and I for one shall be attending.

The goal is simple: if those passionate about building great communities can get together to compare notes and discuss and debate these topics, we will all benefit from better communities.

The summit gathers together community managers, leaders and organizers as well as the projects, organizations, commercial vendors, ISVs and others who have an interest in building a strong and enabled community. The purpose of the event is to get everyone together to talk about the many nuances of building strong and effective community, such as governance, creating collaborative environments, conflict resolution, transparency, open infrastructure, social networking, commercial investment in community, engineering vs. marketing approaches to community leadership and more.

You can read the rest of that over at Jono’s blog and of course, head over to the conference website, check it out and sign up if you can make it and it sounds like a good fit for you!

PHP TestFest

Jonathan mentioned in his blog post about the free-as-in-node podcast yesterday that this weeks guest on “Pimp My Project” was there to talk about PHP TestFest.

The TestFest is an event that aims at improving the code coverage of the test suite for the PHP language itself. As part of this event, local User Groups (UG) are invited to join the TestFest. These UGs can meet physically or come together virtually. The point however is that people network to learn together. Aside from being an opportunity for all of you to make friends with like minded people in your (virtual) community, it also will hopefully reduce the work load for the PHP.net mentors. All it takes is someone to organize a UG to spearhead the event and to get others involved in writing phpt tests. The submissions will then be reviewed by members of php.net before getting included in the official test suite.

As per http://qa.php.net/testfest.php Head over there if you want some more information on how to get involved!


When most people think of geeks, they think of pasty white people who never leave their basement. Well, we are aiming to change that… by getting you outside and making you a little less pasty white.

To this end, we’re going to be encouraging and promoting a number of “geeknics”all around the globe.  What is a geeknic, you ask? Quite simply, it’s a picnic for geeks! At the moment, there are two scheduled: One in Philadelphia PA, USA, on April 19th 2009, and one in Dublin Ireland, on May 9th 2009.  At both events, there will be food, fun, and geeks!

We very much look forward to seeing you at either of these events, but if either of these places and times don’t work for you we would be happy to help you set up your very own local geeknic, along with possibly getting a local freenode staffer to show up. More information can be found here.  If you would like help in setting up your very own geeknic, email [email protected]