New extban: $j

We have loaded a new module on the network which provides the $j extban type:

$j:<chan> – matches users who are or are not banned from a specified channel

As an example…

/mode #here +b $j:#timbuktu

…would ban users from #here that are banned (+b) in #timbuktu.

Please note that there are a couple of gotchas:

  • Only matching +b list entries are checked. Quiets (+q) Exemptions (+e) & invexes (+I) are NOT then considered. As such, the following mode change would not alter the behaviour of the first example:

/mode #timbuktu +e *!*@*

  • Quiets and the quieting effect of bans may not immediately take effect on #here when #timbuktu’s ban list changes due to caching by the ircd.
  • $j isn’t recursive. Any $j extbans set in #timbuktu are ignored when matching in #here.

We imagine you’ll have some more useful use cases than the above.

Thanks for flying freenode!

April 1st 2014, Followup

It’s been almost too long for this blog post to arrive here after the April Fools quiz this year. Thanks to everyone who participated!

The first ten people who completed the challenges are, in descending order of aprilness:

(times are listed in UTC)

  1. 2014-04-02T18:25:17 booto
  2. 2014-04-02T23:36:53 Fuchs *

  3. 2014-04-03T00:29:29 furry
  4. 2014-04-03T01:34:18 mniip
  5. 2014-04-03T09:41:38 jojo
  6. 2014-04-03T16:29:51 redi
  7. 2014-04-03T18:57:21 BlueShark
  8. 2014-04-04T15:33:24 larinadavid
  9. 2014-04-04T22:27:20 Omniflux
  10. 2014-04-04T23:02:19 apoc
  11. 2014-04-04T23:13:02 thommey

(*) user opted out of any prizes
There were 25 additional nicks who completed the quiz and made it to the winner’s circle but weren’t fast enough to place in the top 10.

The prizes were cloaks for those in the top-10. In addition to the top-10 cloaks everyone else who finished the challenge that ‘opted-in’ were eligible for the cloak lottery. This was a lottery for 3 runnerup cloaks.

Out of the 25 additional people that completed the challenge, the following 3 won a cloak through the cloak lottery:

  • skasturi
  • danielg4
  • jojoa1997

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

  • Level 0
    • The clue was given in the April 1st blog post: IyMjI3hrY2Q=
    • That is the string "####xkcd" encoded using base64.
    • The answer: ####xkcd, which was the first channel in the quiz.
  • Level 1
    • Clue: Tnl2cHItbmFxLU9iby1qbnl4LXZhZ2Itbi1vbmU=
    • This is a rot13‘ed and base64’ed string.
    • In Python: "Tnl2cHItbmFxLU9iby1qbnl4LXZhZ2Itbi1vbmU=".decode('base64').decode('rot13')
    • The answer: ####Alice-and-Bob-walk-into-a-bar
  • Level 2
    • Clue: MKWkpKMa
    • This is another string that is encoded with a series of base64 and rot13 transformations.
    • In Python: "MKWkpKMa".decode('rot13').decode('base64').decode('rot13')
    • The answer: ####reddit
  • Level 3
    • Clue: SHg5RkR4SUpIeHFGSnlXVUlJSVFJeHFKCg== | Save this for a later level: https://i.imgur.com/87cX9y4.jpg | 4 decodes needed
    • Yet another string encoded with a series of base64 and rot13 transformations.
    • In Python: "SHg5RkR4SUpIeHFGSnlXVUlJSVFJeHFKCg==".decode('base64').decode('rot13').decode('base64').decode('rot13')
    • This yields: EBEORIETEMETHHPITI
    • Contestants were expected to do a web search for this and find out it is the end of the Zodiac Killer’s infamous message.
    • The answer: ####zodiac
  • Level 4
    • Clue: https://i.imgur.com/x4nejBh.png | LaTeX right direction | Google! | No maths needed
    • The topic changed several times as contestants seemed pretty stumped on this level, the topic line above was its final form.
    • The answer: ####exner – this was expected from figuring out what the equation is. Simply put, the equation in the image is Exner’s Equation.
  • Level 5
  • Level 6
    • Clue: https://www.dropbox.com/s/emz7xy3p9r2ivxe/wat.unknown (verify the file, sha256sum: 0efade1bb29d1b7fdd65e5612159e262cbd41a2e27ed89a0144701a5556da68f)
    • This file is more stenography:
      • Use ‘file‘ to determine what the file type is.
      • Un-7zip the .unknown file
      • Base64 decode the output
      • Use ‘file’ to determine that the output is a .jpg
      • Unzip the .jpg
      • Untar two.tar.gz
      • Open the surprised.txt file.
    • The content of surprised.txt is: ####ImSoMetaEvenThisAcronym
    • The answer: ####ImSoMetaEvenThisAcronym
  • Level 7
    • Clue: AQwPfPN1ZBXNfvNj4bPmVR4fVQYPfPNlZBXNfvNkAP4jZhXNflOS and “Da Vinci” | Jules Verne | s/.02/.03/ in the decrypted text
    • The clue is base64’ed and rot13’ed. To decode it in Python: print "AQwPfPN1ZBXNfvNj4bPmVR4fVQYPfPNlZBXNfvNkAP4jZhXNflOS".decode('rot13').decode('base64')
    • This yields: 48° 50′ 0″ N, 2° 20′ 14.02″ E
    • These are GPS coordinates for the Paris meridian.
    • From this and the “Da Vinci” clue contestants were expected to find the Wikipedia page about the Rose Line.
    • The specific quote that contestants were suppose to find:
      "Dan Brown simply invented the 'Rose Line' linking Rosslyn and Glastonbury. The name 'Roslin' definitely does not derive from any 'hallowed Rose Line'. It has nothing to do with a 'Rose Bloodline' or a 'Rose Line meridian'. There are many medieval spellings of 'Rosslyn'. 'Roslin' is certainly not the 'original spelling': it is now the most common spelling for the village."[18]

      Source

    • The “Jules Verne” clue is suppose to reaffirm to contestants that they were on the right track:
      The competition between the Paris and Greenwich meridians is a plot element in Jules Verne's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea", published just before the international decision in favor of the British one.

      Source

    • The answer: ####roslin
  • Level 8
  • Level 9
    • Clue: ZCLVLLCOIUTKKJSCEKHHHSMKTOOPBA | OGUCSSGAPVGVLUMBTVOGICUNJDHSTB | RUTJJGNXUNTY | Letters that would repeat in a typical word do not repeat in the key(s), example ‘freenode’ would be ‘frenod’ | https://i.imgur.com/pGIBjEE.png | http://is.gd/TgNsvm
    • Alright this one is really really really tricky. The topic changed several times.
    • The three strings are encoded with Four-square from the previous level with the same keys.
    • Contestants were expected to use ‘UVB’ and ‘RUSSIA’ as keys for the Four-square cipher.
    • It was expected that contestants arrive at ‘UVB’ from the channel name, ####POVAROVOSOLNECHNOGORSKRUSSIA
    • The former transmitter[27] was located near Povarovo, Russia[28] at 56°5′0″N 37°6′37″E which is about halfway between Zelenograd and Solnechnogorsk and 40 kilometres (25 mi) northwest of Moscow, near the village of Lozhki.

      Source

    • The is.gd link points to a file that has the “No Q” image from a previous level hidden in it.
    • The “RUTJJGNXUNTY” decrypts to AaronHSwartz
    • The answer: ####AaronHSwartz
  • Level 10
    • Clue: HKGJSUOJVRLGSBELAUHOUIGLVRURWMGTUGJGWTKN
    • Originally this channel (####AaronHSwartz) was suppose to be the winner’s circle, however due to too many people leaking answers and channel names, one more challenge was added.
    • Same cipher as before, this time the keys were ‘DEMAND’ and ‘PROGRESS’
    • Demand Progress is an Internet activist-related organization specializing in petitions to help gain traction for legal movements against Internet censorship and related subjects, started by Aaron Swartz, source.
    • The clue decrypts to JOINUSNOWANDSHARETHESOFTWAREWRITTENBYRMS
    • RMS is Richard Matthew Stallman, and ‘Join Us Now and Share the Software’ is an openly licensed song by Richard Stallman.
    • The answer: ####JOINUSNOWANDSHARETHESOFTWAREWRITTENBYRMS

The topic in ####JOINUSNOWANDSHARETHESOFTWAREWRITTENBYRMS was: Congratulations on solving the freenode’s April Fools 2014 Crypto Challenge | Want MOAR? #ircpuzzles

Congratulations to those who participated this year!

The 25 additional people that completed the challenge:

  • 2014-04-05T04:06:53 knivey
  • 2014-04-05T10:00:12 Tordek
  • 2014-04-05T15:40:50 jacob1 *
  • 2014-04-05T15:48:48 stac
  • 2014-04-05T16:24:01 Changaco *
  • 2014-04-05T17:30:01 Arch-TK *
  • 2014-04-05T17:35:05 ar *
  • 2014-04-05T18:16:20 Weetos *
  • 2014-04-05T18:38:39 nyuszika7h
  • 2014-04-05T18:56:26 vi[NLR]
  • 2014-04-05T19:06:38 tkd *
  • 2014-04-05T21:54:56 Chiyo
  • 2014-04-05T22:46:01 slidercrank
  • 2014-04-05T22:54:10 jojoa1997
  • 2014-04-06T00:55:51 Pixelz *
  • 2014-04-06T02:53:25 Transfusion
  • 2014-04-06T02:58:15 DonkeyHotei
  • 2014-04-06T03:04:01 sdamashek *
  • 2014-04-06T03:07:49 Cypi *
  • 2014-04-06T03:36:03 FXOR
  • 2014-04-06T13:44:35 pad
  • 2014-04-06T19:22:06 skasturi
  • 2014-04-06T19:37:13 Bloodhound
  • 2014-04-07T08:16:22 molly *
  • 2014-04-07T14:42:32 Bijan-E

(*) user opted out of the cloak lottery

Server hosting and trust

For the purpose of disclosure we have had to make the difficult decision to discontinue a long-standing relationship with a server sponsor.

As a freenode user you may be aware that our set-up is somewhat untraditional and differs from that of many other IRC networks; servers are sponsored by various companies and educational institutions across the globe and all our infrastructure is centrally managed by the freenode infrastructure team. Generally speaking we do not provide o:lines or other privileges to server sponsors. Whilst it is possible for a sponsor contact to also volunteer as a staffer on the network such recruitment is independent of any server hosting.

Our staff are expected to work together closely and communication is key in any freenode relationship, be that with users, among staff or with sponsor contacts. It is important to us to be consistent in the way we provide support and apply policy and we expect all volunteers to be intimately familiar with our policies, procedures and philosophies — which in turn means that senior staff invest a lot of time in ensuring that any new recruits are given adequate support when getting to know the ins and outs of the network and what being a freenode volunteer entails.

Unfortunately one of our server sponsors added an o:line for themselves on the server they sponsored and whilst we do not believe that this was done with any malicious intent, more through thoughtlessness/negligence and having forgotten the expectations set out on our “Hosting a Server” page we feel that we are unable to comfortably and confidently continue the relationship.

Our number one priority has to be our target communities, the Free and Open Source Software communities that have chosen to make use of freenode in their internet activities.

Whilst we do not believe and have no evidence to indicate that any user traffic or data has been compromised, we would of course encourage you to change your passwords if you feel that this would make you more comfortable in continuing to use our services.

We can only apologise for this happening and we’d like to assure you that trust is incredibly important to us and that we are incredibly embarassed that this situation arose in the first place.

As a result of this we have just replaced our SSL certificates, so if you notice that these have changed then this is the reason why.

We will of course take this opportunity to remind all our sponsors of our expectations when it comes to providing services to freenode and our target communities.

Again, we apologise for any inconvenience and we hope that any loss of trust in the network that may have resulted from this incidence can be restored and that your projects will continue to feel comfortable using the network in future.

 

 

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/

Services upgrade and database prune

Hi
The long-awaited upgrade of services which we blogged about a while ago is now planned for this coming weekend, the 16th/17th June.

We anticipate up to an hour of services outage for this upgrade and prune to take place. We will notify the connected users closer to the time through the use of WALLOPS and/or globals, but please do plan ahead accordingly for a period of services unavailability.

We will be moving to Atheme 7, so, amongst other improvements, this will see the introduction of certificate-based authentication to services.

To use certificate based authentication, you would need firstly to generate a certificate, then add the certificate to your client, then tell nickserv about your certificate fingerprint. We’ll explain more about this in a future blog entry or on the freenode website in the near future.

Database prune

Every couple of years, freenode likes to get out the shears and prune the services database. Recently we broke the 80,000 usercount barrier, but the services stats are way ahead:

Sat 13:35:46 -OperServ(OperServ@services.)- Registered accounts: 446777
Sat 13:35:46 -OperServ(OperServ@services.)- Registered nicknames: 557497
Sat 13:35:47 -OperServ(OperServ@services.)- Registered channels: 141373

We’ve noticed that nearly half of the accounts shown there haven’t been used in the past 6 months! More importantly, over the past few months many people have noticed significant waits when issuing certain services commands – and we’d like to fix that.

Hopefully, the services upgrade should help with this, but we’re going to coincide this with a database prune.

As of the services upgrade date, any nicks unused for > 150 days are at risk of being dropped. This includes grouped nicks. The easy way to avoid this happening is to use each of your grouped nicks (while identified to the appropriate account) within the next few weeks – and to drop those that you don’t need anymore!

The testnet (testnet.freenode.net, port 9002. 9003 for SSL) is running a database snapshot from mid-March and will be periodically updated from the production network. This database instance is being regularly pruned – so check there to see how your account will be affected (use /msg nickserv info on both the production and test networks to see the differences).

Remember that testnet isn’t running a real-time duplicate of the production network, so when you use nicks which would be expired on the production network, they will still appear expired on testnet until the next database snapshot is migrated. Don’t worry though – the actual pruning will only occur on the current database at the time of upgrade.

On which note.. an upgrade date hasn’t been formally fixed but we’re aiming for mid-May.

Thanks, and don’t forget to test the testnet!

Help us test our services upgrade!

Very soon we will be upgrading your favourite network helpers… (no not erry…): NickServ, ChanServ, Alis etc. They’re currently connected to our testnet and we need your help with testing, looking for any issues which may affect the production network.

You can connect to our testnet at testnet.freenode.net port 9002 (or 9003 for SSL)

The full changelog is rather long and not all of the features offered by atheme are loaded on freenode. So to help you out, we’ve pulled out the highlights which we think deserve attention:

  • NickServ’s certfp module. (see /msg nickserv help cert and this link.)
  • NickServ will now notify you in real time of failed logins.
  • NickServ’s previous limit on password lengths has been increased.
  • ChanServ will still hand over single-# channels to freenode-staff on expiration of the channel founders, but the method has changed.
  • NickServ & ChanServ’s ‘set’ commands have had a general reorganisation behind the scenes. Nothing should be visibly different but it won’t hurt to check them!

Please note that the services database on the testnet is probably more than a few days old. Don’t be surprised if recent changes you have made on the production network aren’t replicated there.

We’re all in in #freenode on the testnet so please come find us there if you have any questions or bugs.

Finally, look out for a followup blogpost (hopefully quite soon) with some important information on the upgrade itself and our planned database cleanup!

Thanks for using freenode!

P.s. a full list of changes from atheme ~5.1 to ~6 can be found here

80k…

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:

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/

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

Merry Christmas

It was the day before Christmas, when all across the network not a creature was stirring, not even a troll…

Another year is coming to a close, a year of FOSS, a year of collaboration, a year of getting to know exciting projects and contributors, a year plentiful in conferences and events. A year in which community was at the heart of everything freenode and the PDPC did.

I am sat here in a candle lit room that smells of Christmas spice whilst sipping eggnog and stealing a moment to myself to reflect… when I first started using freenode, the network had around 1200 users — some years on we’ve passed 76,000. It is great to see so many projects make use of the service! The PDPC is doing some exciting stuff, FOSSCON was arranged for the second year running in 2011, FOSSEVENTS is still going strong and Geeknics are being held across the globe. Sometimes it is a bit daunting, everyone involved with freenode (and other PDPC projects) volunteer their time and skills to help the communities — and whilst this is great, the volunteer roster isn’t growing at a rate matching the increase in users. We will be doing another “Call for volunteers” in the New Year and we’re looking to find some awesome people to add to the team.

On a more personal basis, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in some brilliant “real life” events this year – from the always brilliant OGGCAMP, arranged by the amazing people behind the Linux Outlaws and Ubuntu UK podcasts. OGGCAMP is the sort of event which attracts “my sort of geek” — people with which I really enjoy spending time and socialising and I am already looking forward to next years! I’ve also enjoyed a number of Ubuntu-UK events, from the recent release party to smaller happy hours to the rather interesting Christmas meal at Dans Le Noir, where we ate a surprise menu (consisting of glow in the dark scallops, ostrich and blue shark to name some items!) in complete darkness before wandering off to enjoy a few pints of ale. Now, this is where freenode communities are great — I am an avid fan of the Ubuntu project, however, I have never used the distribution (though as a Debian user I am sure I’d get on with it just fine.. right?) but through freenode I have, over the years, come to know a lot of Ubuntu contributors and users, and over time discovered that these are people I really enjoy spending my time and people I am proud to call my friends! And I love their social events, they are a lot of fun! So thank you for letting me be a part of your community despite not really being “one of you” ;)

On the subject of freenode, communities and Christmas parties — as freenode volunteers are scattered across the globe, few of us meet on a regular basis but we tend to try make an effort to get together for dinner and drinks at events such as fosdem. This year, we decided to have a Christmas party, surprisingly we ended up with 21 people attending, most of which had never met each other in person before. Our volunteers flew over from America and Europe and we all had a smashing weekend filled with good food, nice drink and much laughter. Thank you all for coming!

In 2012 I look forward to learning about more projects, old and new. I look forward to attending yet more conferences and meeting more of you in person! I look forward to another year together with our volunteers and our sponsors, and of course our users.

On which note I shall wrap this entry up, thank you for using freenode and wish you all a Merry Christmas!