2008/2009 fundraiser campaign update


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


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.

New servers

Hi all,

Over the past couple of months we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to add a couple of new servers to freenode’s rotation. Namely, lindbohm (IPv6: denis) and hubbard, sponsored by Stockholm University and Carnegie Mellon University Computer Club, respectively. Thanks to all of our sponsors for keeping the network online.

If you’re interested in sponsoring a server for freenode, take please take a look at our website to see what the process entails and don’t hesitate to ask me (Martinp23) or christel for any further information at all.

Thanks for using freenode! :)

[Maintenance] Downtime warning — lem, orwell

Hi all,

Tomorrow evening, November 3rd 2008, at 22:00GMT we will be undertaking some routine maintenance on two of our client servers, lem and orwell, both servers have already been taken out of rotation. The downtime window is set to one (1) hour, but we anticipate that the upgrades will take less time. At time of posting we have approximately 2,000 users across the two servers, and while we will urge users to connect to a different server prior to the upgrades we realise that not everyone will be able to act on the notice in time and as such we expect to see some disturbances on the network at the time of the upgrade.

Thank you for using freenode!

Who Are freenode Staff? (Part 1 of ?)

As you have undoubtedly noticed by now, freenode recently changed services. Along with this new look, we thought it would be a good time to formally (and perhaps not-so-formally) announce the addition of new staff. You’ll find below a list of all our current staff, and in this post and some that follow, we’ll give you a tiny snapshot of the new (and some of the old) members of our circus^Wteam.

Current freenode staff:


And now, for a little insight on a couple of individuals:

  • christel: If by now, you don’t know christel…well, where have you been?! For the last couple of years, she has been the head of staff of freenode and has seen it through many changes. No, freenode is not yet pink (though if she had her way, it would be entirely pink – you can thank some of the male staffers for preventing that so far). She did once say that if she were to leave a job in a flamboyant manner, she’d simply go to work in pink body paint. Her secret desire has always been to become a Russian spy…however, being from Norway, she’s had to settle for being self-employed and an irc mogul in her spare time. She got her start on irc nearly half her lifetime ago, creating havoc on EfNet and running up her dial-up internet bills.
  • vorian: One of the more recent additions to staff, vorian’s first experience on irc was starting up a Local (Ubuntu) Community team in 2006. Though married (for 10 years!) and with four children, he clearly wasn’t busy enough. A long-time wolf-bot addict, vorian has announced his goal for the future of freenode – creating a unified wolf-bot game where everyone plays by the rules, pays strict attention, and always has a minimum of 8 players per round (this replaces his former goal of becoming a jet pilot AND nurse for the navy).

A very brief mention of upcoming changes..

As you are probably aware we are in the process of rehauling the IRCd and Services software running on freenode. While hyperion and theia have served us well for a significant amount of time they are also starting to struggle under the weight of our rapid growth (we recently hit 43,000 users, which is a number we hadn’t anticipated — that’s 15,000 more users than we had a year ago).

We are of course pleased that our numbers are growing and that more and more people and projects are finding a use for freenode; it’s a fantastic feeling to be able to give something back to the wider FOSS community.

Services wise, we’re currently testing new services on testnet and are close to letting you all loose over there for wider testing before we introduce the new services to the production network. Now, there will be a few changes, and while most of them won’t be noticeable, I felt it was a good idea to remind you of a couple of things.

If as many people as possible can follow the above advice I’d be grateful — it would make the migration a lot easier for us, as well as for our users.

Expirations and e-mails aside, we’ve had a lot of feedback from projects and users who would like to see some changes to the services package — among other things a web-based frontend to services has been mentioned over and over again, particulary for project management. Group contacts would like a way to manage their project namespace, set project related cloaks, and the like. We are looking into OpenID and how to help users and projects which want to more easily integrate, for example, bugzilla and similar with their IRC infrastructure. We’re also trialling a new procedure for verifying group contact forms that may help to reduce the backlog somewhat; over the next few weeks we’ll be trying it out with a portion of the current queue.

In addition to everything I’ve mentioned, we’ve heard some really great ideas and suggestions for further improvement originating from our users, so I thought I’d ask you all what you would put on your wishlist. What can freenode do to better serve the communities? How can we improve irc as a communication and development tool for your project? For your users? I’d love to hear any ideas you may have and would love it if you dropped me a line to ideasATfreenodeDOTnet

Before I wrap up, I’d like to apologise for the instability of the network over the past few days. We have been under a pretty heavy DDoS attack, though hopefully it has all settled down by now. I’d like to thank our fantastic sponsors for the swift manner in which they dealt with things their end, for their continued support and for pulling together to ensure that we have the data required to pass on to the relevant authorities.

It’s pretty rare for us to be on the recieving end of an attack like that, and I sincerely hope it will turn out to be an isolated incident.

Thank you!

Today saw the (hopefully temporary) resignation of one of our senior staffers; Andy Lindeman (alindeman). Andy has been an important part of freenode staff, both as an excellent part of the strong group of user facing staff and as a part of our infrastructure team. It’s sad to see him go, and we hope that he will find the time to rejoin our ranks at some point in the future, but as most of us can relate, being a college student you often find yourself with new and other priorities, be it studies or the social aspects of spending a few years away studying.

On behalf of freenode staff and the PDPC board I would like to thank Andy for the time and effort he has put in volunteering for us over the years and wish him all the best for the future. And when you finish your degree, do come back! :)

freenode has reached 40 000 users

Today at around 18:45 UTC freenode hit a total number of connections of fourty thousand, which is a new network record. Over the past few months our usercount has been steadily growing and we are really pleased that more people are finding freenode a useful resource. If you want to see how many users are connected at any one time, type the IRC command /lusers

[18:45:52] [freenode] -!- WALLOP Md: FYI, freenode has just broken the record of 40000 connected users. let’s join the party in #defocus

A Re-/De-focus

freenode is pleased to announce a few changes effective May 12, 2007 at 12:55 UTC:

  • the (re)formation of #freenode, which will be an official help channel for the freenode network. For more information, please review the #freenode channel guidelines.
  • the closing of #freenode-social. While#freenode-social has served its purpose for the last couple of years, it has really outgrown itself and is being closed.
  • the opening of #defocus, the new social channel for freenode. #defocus is being launched with anticipation of more to come in the near (or mid-) future. It will differ from #freenode-social in a number of ways, including: (1) like #freenode, has its own set of channel guidelines, which should help clarify what is on/offtopic in the channel, and (2) unlike -social, #defocus will be -m, which means you won’t require voice to talk.

We truly hope you enjoy these changes and look forward to serving you under this new structure.

Upcoming changes to hyperion, our ircd software

We’re working on rolling out some new changes to hyperion, our ircd software. If everything goes well, we should be running with these changes in a few weeks. However, you should note that we’re releasing these changes as hyperion 1.0.3, and we don’t particularly encourage any other networks to try to run this code (there are better, more modern ircd software out there). In addition, hyperion 1.0.3 will probably be the last release we make of hyperion. (We are collaborating with Stuart Walsh and TJ Fontaine, the authors of oftc-hybrid which have some great ideas for a next generation ircd tree for freenode!)

This update will add some fairly modern features to the ircd’s I/O engine to allow it to operate more efficiently and fix a few internal bugs that have been noticed during the run of hyperion 1.0.2b. These changes will be going live on a testnet in the next few days most likely, at which point I will write another post with information on how to play around on the freenode testnet with the updated ircd code.

We have also added support for a commonly requested feature, CALLERID (umode +g, server side ignore) in this update, and we have added support for the NETWORK property in our 005 numeric (IRC client authors will probably be thrilled). We have also implemented support for the Linux epoll mechanism, which may provide a marginal performance boost on some of our client servers.

If anyone else has any suggestions or bugs, please note them as comments to this story or come discuss it in #hyperion. We would love to hear your feedback. The more technically inclined can download the in-progress 1.0.3 working tree from our subversion repository at http://svn.freenode.net/hyperion/trunk.