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.

freenode Network Services Cleanup and Changes.

As announced previously, we have recently (as of Thursday, June 10th) pruned our nickserv and chanserv databases.  We also performed some additional updates and modifications.  While the most obvious change of this will be that any nicks older than 60 days have been dropped, there have been some additional changes implemented as well.  In addition, we have added a new webchat service for users who wish to irc from behind a firewall disallowing a more direct connection.  You can try it out here!

First, we have made a modification to make it easier to identify, as long as your client supports a server password.  Previously, users were able to identify by using a registered nick and sending the password for that registered nick as their server password.   You can also now identify on connect regardless of nick by providing both your account name and password, as follow: “/connect irc.freenode.net 6667 :mquin uwhY8wgzWw22-zXs.M39p.”  This will identify you upon connection.

As a result of this change, we have removed the requirement to group an alternate nick before requesting an unaffiliated cloak.  The requirements for a cloak are outlined here.

Group Contacts are welcome to check in with us within the next 4 weeks to resolve any issues that may have arisen as a result of the pruning.   If you are a group contact, and have any issues as a result of this maintenance, feel free to drop in to #freenode and ask for assistance.

As always, thank you for using freenode, and have a great day!

Geeknics

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]

Irssi 0.8.13

Piping hot and straight from the oven! The Irssi core development team has been hard at work, hunched over their computers for many moons, tapping away till their hearts content! Bruised and blistered, they’ve just set off to put their sore fingers around a few bottles of cold beer and have a well deserved rest! Thank you all and keep up the good work!

All this, to make our IRC experience better! Everyone’s favourite IRC client, Irssi, v 0.8.13 has just been released! Head over to http://www.irssi.org to get your copy now!

2008/2009 fundraiser campaign update

[UPDATE]

 We are down to only £241.60 needed after matching!  Thank you for your generosity!

[END UPDATE]

So close, yet so far away…
As you are probably aware, we are coming up on the end of our 2008/2009 fundraising campaign.  First, let us thank all of you who have already donated. We appreciate every one of you!  While we are very close to our goals, we just wanted to take a moment to update everyone on just how close, and what exactly it means.

While the goal of £5,000.00 seems rather arbitrary, the reality is quite different.  Our current target will enable us to keep the charity status we’ve had in the past, which among other things enables our sponsers to realize certain tax benefits.  This helps cover the costs they pay in providing us the servers which are of course vital to freenode.  While the graph on the freenode.net homepage indicates that we have £2300 to go, this does not include the potential £1700 of matched donations from Canonical — which means that the actual amount we need you to help us raise totals only £600!  At present, we have just a few weeks left to raise this but we are so very close, so if you would like to be generous now is the time.

Now, while the number is imposed by the charity requirement, our needs are not.  Quite a few users have made it known they would like to know more about what we will do with any funds not used directly for current pdpc costs.  Among other things, we are looking at hosting live conference events in Europe and the US, as well as some efforts to extend the sort of services we offer to the projects currently using our facilities. In addition to this, we would like to look at ways of improving the reliability of the freenode network by hosting a few of our own hubs and backup services systems.

As a reminder, all donations received at this time (up to £1700) are being matched by Canonical, so every donation you send is doubled!  We are hugely grateful for their help and generosity in our efforts, and would like to thank Mark and Canonical, and the entire Ubuntu community once again.

As always, thanks to each and every one of you for using freenode.

freenode t-shirts

As you are probably aware, the PDPC re-incorporated in the UK and to that end we are trying to meet the threshold for being registered as a charity through the charity commission — a status which would allow us to continue offering tax relief to hardware and bandwith sponsors, in addition to cutting our costs.  To this end, we are in the process of designing several cool t-shirts which will be available on the pdpc’s website for purchase.  The proceeds from these sales will help supplement donations which we already receive from some of our users.

Well, this is where you come in.  We need help!  Freenode is full of people with cool ideas, doing cool things, and we want to embody some of this on these t-shirts. As such, we are looking for some great designs we can take forward and use for these shirts. If you have an idea for a t-shirt design you would like to see us offer, send it on over  to [email protected] for our review.  As we proceed, further details (including a link to view and purchase shirts) will be made available via the blog.

Thanks to each and every one of you for your support, and as always thank you for using freenode!

Who Are freenode Staff? (Part 2 of ?)

It’s been a while since we posted Part 1 of our series on “Who Are freenode Staff?” – which makes it about time to post a bit more.

Gary – Since today is Gary’s birthday, it’s only fitting to discuss his deep-seated desire to be helpful to others! Although he has been on numerous irc networks since he first discovered irc in the late 90s, he found himself on freenode and wrangled into doing what he does (and loves) best – helping others. Luckily, freenode staff had no need to brainwash Gary when he joined up – he was already completely sold on the network and its philosophy. Gary was, however, christel’s biggest proponent in painting the network pink! If he had his choice, Gary would paint all the network trolls pink and then put them on display for others to laugh at them, rather than allowing them to bog things down.

LoRez – LoRez has been on staff nearly as long as Santa Claus has been making rounds. Although he was formerly considered immortal and omnipotent, he had to come to terms with having had “normal” roots – he first came to freenode via openprojects. He’s never lost his edge though; he once wrote perl code and had hippie hair, now he’d rather quit his job and sell gas to everyone for $1!

wimt – Though some may think of wimt as being somewhat pathological, don’t hold it against him – it’s his degree that causes him to be that way. Though he seems to consider himself somewhat uncreative, he considered throwing the contents of his desk across the room when he left his last position. wimt first came to freenode via wikipedia and has stuck around due to the friendliness of people on the network.

Happy 15th!

15 years ago, on January 29th 1994 Rob (lilo) Levin first joined the channel #linuxneo on the EFNet IRC network. This date has since been referred to as the conceptual moment, the foundation, the cornerstone which later led to the network you now know as freenode.

Since that January evening in 1994 — the original channel made some network moves before it became it’s own network; irc.linpeople.org in 1995 — a few name-changes later and we’re freenode. Peaking at just over 52,000 daily users, spread across FOSS and other peer-directed communities.

We (freenode staff volunteers) have the pleasure of working with exciting projects ranging from the Wikimedia Foundation to various Linux distributions (Fedora, Gentoo, Redhat, Suse to name but a few) to the Free Software Foundation to .. the list goes on and on and on.. It’s fantastic to see so many people sharing our passion, all in one place — yet scattered across the globe.

So, to each and every one of you, to each and every project on the network, to Free and Open Source Software, to the exchange of ideas and information, to the memory of lilo — A very happy 15th birthday to freenode!

And to each and every user and to all the volunteers, past and present — thank you for making this possible!