Groups Advisory Board

For many years now, freenode has offered projects and userbases on the network the option of registering themselves as “Groups”.  Each of these groups has one or more designated people as their “Group Contacts”, who are the point of contact for freenode-staff<=>group liasion, and are thus able to contact staff to request that cloaks be set, or to request assistance in administering channels.

We now have several hundred registered groups on freenode, and many more groups for which registration requests have been submitted.  There is a rather large backlog of these requests, but this will reduce dramatically once GMS has been completed, tested, and deployed (on which note, if you think you can give some time to help code it, get in touch!). An aim of the groups policy is to foster good relationships between groups and staff.

This is where the Groups Advisory Board (GAB) comes in – immediately, for approved GCs!  This is a way in which we would like to give groups a role in influencing the direction that freenode, and the PDPC, will follow in the future with regards to group and project related policy.  The GAB is completely optional and brings with it no committment. It is open to all group contacts who would like to be members. The GAB is effectively a consultation forum where staff can get feedback from groups. As well as improptu discussions on IRC, discussions will take place on a mailing list and occasional, optional IRC meetings will be arranged. If you’re interested in giving your group a greater voice in the management of freenode, speak to staff in #freenode, or drop an email to support NOSPAM at freenode.net, and we’ll sign you up to the freenode-groups mailing list and invite you to #freenode-gab.

Thanks!

freenode is dead, long live freenode

After much time in development and testing, the move to ircd-seven is finally complete. The migration took place in the early hours of today, Saturday January 30th 2010.

I would like to express thanks to everyone who has helped us get here — those staff and users who have helped find and squash bugs, those who have done extensive load testing and those who have helped finalising documentation in preparation for the migration earlier today.

In particular I would like to thank the Charybdis development team and the ratbox contributors whose work left us with a brilliant ircd platform to build upon to create the more freenode specific ircd-seven. In no particular order my thanks go to:

dwr, Valery Yatsko <dwr -at- shadowircd.net>
gxti, Michael Tharp <gxti -at- partiallystapled.com>
jilles, Jilles Tjoelker <jilles -at- stack.nl>
nenolod, William Pitcock <nenolod -at- nenolod.net>
AndroSyn, Aaron Sethman <androsyn -at- ratbox.org>
anfl, Lee Hardy <lee -at- leeh.co.uk>
beu, Elfyn McBratney <elfyn.mcbratney -at- gmail.com>
Entrope, Michael Poole <mdpoole -at- trolius.org>
ThaPrince, Jon Christopherson <jon -at- vile.com>
twincest, River Tarnell <river -at- attenuate.org>
w00t, Robin Burchell <surreal.w00t -at- gmail.com>

And for leading the development efforts of ircd-seven, for putting up with my many quirky and often unreasonable requests:
spb, Stephen Bennett <stephen -at- freenode.net>

I’d also like to express my gratitude to the following freenode volunteers for the hard work they’ve put in to make the migration go as smoothly as possible. I’ve been amazed at the initiative and responsibility shown in this last phase. Your help has been invaluable and I feel privileged to work with you:

kloeri, Bryan Østergaard
Lorez, Mike Mattice
Martinp23, Martin Peeks
Md, Marco D’Itri

With the exception of port(s) 7000 and 7070 which are now being used for SSL, all other ports and DNS stay the same as it did prior to migration.

If you are a regular freenode user you will most likely be aware that there’s some user facing changes with the move to ircd-seven (and likely to have been annoyed by my global notices on the subject), you may wish to familiarise yourself with the updated FAQ and glance at some of these earlier ircd-seven related blog posts:

http://blog.freenode.net/2010/01/connecting-to-freenode-using-tor-sasl/

http://blog.freenode.net/2008/11/help-us-test-ircd-seven/

http://blog.freenode.net/2010/01/migration-to-new-ircd/

http://blog.freenode.net/2010/01/ircd-migration…-jan-30th-2010/

Again, thank you for helping out, however small or large your contribution may have been. We are celebrating the migration to ircd-seven with a special fundraiser “Give £7 for seven”. This campaign will end on February 7th 2010, until such time you may read more and donate here. Any donation of £21 or any multiple of £7 over £21 will receive a freenode t-shirt.

To all our users, thank you for using the network, and welcome to seven!

Connecting to freenode using Tor: SASL

With our change of ircd to the all new ircd-seven, we are trialling a new method of allowing users to connect to the network via Tor. This method brings a number of changes:

  • The only Tor hidden service is: the new p4fsi4ockecnea7l.onion.
  • You will need to have a registered and verified NickServ account to connect using Tor. Beyond this, no further steps are necessary.
  • You will need to use a SASL mechanism to identify to the server.

We have collected together scripts for irssi and mirc, while Conspire supports SASL natively. Scripts may be available for other clients in addition.

irssi

Download and install this script (cap_sasl.pl) and, after loading it, configure it using

/sasl set <network> <username> <password> <mechanism>

Supported mechanisms are PLAIN and DH-BLOWFISH.

mirc

A mirc script is available, taken from a forum post by Kyle Travaglini. You can retrieve the source here.

Instructions (adapted from that forum):

  • Place SASL.dll and sasl.mrc into your $mircdir.
  • Load sasl.mrc into your remotes.
  • Press F2 and configure the network, before connecting as usual.

If you have any problems, either pop into #freenode from a non-torified connection or drop an email to support AT freenode.net.

This method of connecting to freenode using Tor supersedes all previous methods, including Tor-GPG. We hope that this method of connecting via Tor will help to make it somewhat more accessible to you!

Javascript spam

You may have noticed some unusual amounts of spam over the past few days, which has had an impact on a number of channels.  This spam is the result of some malicious javascript being distributed on a number of webpages which causes visitors to these pages to make a connection to freenode and send spam.  While we are doing what we can to mitigate the spam, we would ask that you take a careful look at any unusual sites or URLs you might visit in the near future to be sure you are not being tricked into visiting such a site.

If you have been banned from the network after clicking on one of these links, please email [email protected] with your internet-routeable IP address. Visit http://myip.dk/ and include both the IP address and hostname provided on this site.  It’s also helpful if you let us know what nick you were using at the time.  We will address these requests as quickly as possible, but please be patient.

It is of course never a good idea to visit a link that’s not from a trusted source.  If you must do so, look into using a browser with limited or no scripting support (wget from the command line is a great solution here on linux, as is links) or using something like no-script for firefox.

If you run a channel on freenode, you might want to consider setting +R to prevent unregistered users from sending to the channel as the spambots described here will not be registered.  If you do so please consider being proactive about contacting unregistered users joining your channel to ensure they get the help they need, and feel free to send them to #freenode so network staff can help them register.

For users, now is an excellent time to register your nickname and setup your client to auto-identify.  You can find information about registering here.  Configuring your client to auto-identify varies depending on the client, but one easy way is setting up your client to send the nickserv password as your server password. Most clients have an option for this.

It is also worth noting we will be moving to a new ircd in just 13 more days, as described here.  This new ircd provides a number of exciting new capabilities including improved capability to deal with spam of all kinds, including this most recent type which is entirely mitigated by improvements in seven.

ircd Migration Sat Jan 30th 2010

In the coming weeks, we will be migrating freenode to our new ircd, ircd-seven.  Presently, freenode uses hyperion and efforts have been underway for some time move us off this platform for reasons of stability and functionality.  We are now almost there.

As users please be aware that during the migration all clients will be temporarily disconnected and will need to reconnect in order to move over to the new servers. For most of you this will happen as the old servers are shut down.

Please Note: While we will copy over channel modes and topics for registered channels (there will be no changes to the services database, all nick and channel settings with services will stay the same) we are unable to do so for channels NOT registered with ChanServ. If your project utilises non-registered channels for whatever reason, please make note of the topics and modes so you can make a manual transfer of these yourselves. For more information on registering a channel, see this post.

If you operate a channel on freenode and have any concerns, feel free to stop by #freenode to discuss any issues you might have.  If you run any channel utility bots, you may want to test them on the current testnet.  More information can be found here.

Important Changes

There are several significant changes users should be aware of in ircd-seven:

Channel quiets are no longer a modified version of bans but are now on their own list, queried with “mode #channel q”, and as such do not appear on the normal banlist.

After the migration, we will have ssl access available on the production network.

Identifying upon connection works as before but there are two new ways to do so: specifying username:password in the server password field will allow you to login to a specific account, and SASL authentication is also available.  Using SASL varies by client and is not supported in all clients.

The CAP command:

A brief summary:

  • The CAP LS command will list all client capabilities that are available to the client.
  • The CAP REQ :<cap1> <cap2> <...> command can be used to request one or more capabilities. The response to this will be either CAP ACK :<cap> <...>, or CAP NAK :<cap> <...>, depending on whether the request was successful.
  • A CAP name token can be prefixed by - to disable that capability. This was not available with hyperion’s CAPAB command.
  • CAP negotiation can take place either during connection and registration (as is required for SASL), or afterwards, to enable identify-msg.

For those implementing support for it, a full specification is at http://www.leeh.co.uk/draft-mitchell-irc-capabilities-02.html.

The IDENTIFY-MSG capability still exists but there is a new way to activate it.  It is now part of the CAP mechanism.   A script for irssi that understands both hyperion’s and seven’s identify-msg capability is available at http://adipose.attenuate.org/~stephen/ircd-seven/format_identify.pl.

The n= and i= prefixes are not used, instead ~ is prefixed to a non-identd username as is common in most other ircds.

For further information on changes that might impact you please visit http://freenode.net/seven-for-hyperion-users.html

As always, thank you for using freenode, and see you on the other side!

Happy New Year 2010

The New Year is arriving in various parts of the world, and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank the people who continue making freenode possible.

Our very dedicated and generous hardware and bandwidth sponsors, for whom the tail end of 2009 have been a particularly challenging time, we’re very grateful for the extra manpower you’ve all put in to help with the recent DDoS attacks the network has been experiencing. While we’ve lost some sponsors due to the costs involved over the attacks, we’d like to thank those for the time they were able to continue supporting our services and express our complete understanding for the decisions they’ve had to make in choosing to discontinue the support. For those of our sponsors who have been able to continue providing hardware and bandwidth we’d like to thank you for your generousity and for the patience while the attacks have been ongoing.

We’d like to thank all the PDPC supporters for their donations, Canonical Ltd and the Gallery project for their generous donations, as well as those donations from indiviual users which in 2009 enabled us to purchase some additional hardware and bandwidth and we hope that the support continues throughout 2010 and that we’ll be able to start making some progress with the work on our upcoming freenode live conference. Your support is invaluable to us and we’re grateful for the continued support. Should you wish to become a donor; you may make a donation here.

We’d also like to thank the freenode staff volunteers, past and present, for administering the network and putting in a lot of time to help both projects and end users with their freenode experience.

And finally, we’d like to thank the most important people of all — the many projects and users who make freenode what it is. 2009 saw us passing the 60,000 concurrent users mark and it’s fantastic to see that so many people use and contribute to the various FOSS projects on the network. Thank you all for using freenode.

We’d like to wish you all 12 months of happiness, 52 weeks of fun, 365 days of success, 8760 hours of good health, 52600 minutes of good luck and 3153600 seconds of joy! Have a very happy New Year!

Free as in freenode

Most of you are probably familiar with the various freedoms that are frequently stated, such as freedom of speech or expression.  While freenode does exist to promote communication amongst free and open source projects, it is not an open forum for all to use in any way.

The purpose and goals of freenode are simple, but often misunderstood.  Freenode is a privately operated special purpose irc network, aimed at improving communication between developers, and users, and others interested in free and open source software.  These people and their ability to communicate efficiently are our primary concern and focus.  The “free” in freenode in intended to indicate this goal, and our commitment to providing a collaboration platform for those with an interest in free and open source software, rather than “freedom of speech or expression”.

As a private network, we do reserve the right to limit the sort of content allowed on freenode.  Some of things considered on and offtopic are outlined here.

Hopefully this clears up a little about what the “free” in freenode actually stands for (and what we do, as well).

Web chat updates

Over the last few  weeks we have had quite a bit of feedback from our new web chat client.  As a result of this we’ve been able to feed back requests to the qwebirc developers who have been able to add many requested features:

  • Optional Nick colour support
  • Optional join, part and quit message hiding
  • Optional last position indicator to track which content is new since you last focused on IRC
  • CSS changes to highlight messages from yourself
  • https support
  • NickServ authentication

Some of the optional features are disabled by default, but can be enabled in the option pane, accessible from the menu (top left).

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.