Bye bye PDPC

Sadly, we were forced to dissolve PDPC, freenode’s parent organisation.

When the organisation transferred across from the US to the UK we wanted to keep the organisational structure as close to what it had been before (change is scary, right?) — however, we made the conscious decision to no longer have any paid employees after Rob Levin passed away. This meant that everyone involved with the organisation were volunteers and we no longer had anyone who could invest the time and effort required to do fundraising and similar tasks, meaning that the organisation was unable to sustain the levels of donations required to obtain and maintain charitable status in the UK.

Due to the massive reduction in financial support we found ourselves in a position where being an incorporated organisation cost more than what we were able to bring in in donations and after years of operating at a loss it was decided that we would apply for the dissolution of the corporation in order to drastically reduce costs. The application has been processed and the organisation has been dissolved; to further reduce costs we have also discontinued the majority of infrastructure services for which the organisation paid, together with the reduced administration and organisational fees this means that we are now in a position where our outgoings are restricted to domain renewals! We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the organisation in the past, users, organisations and staff in particular, who have always been (begrudgingly?) happy to contribute towards the difference in order to cover the deficit.

What does this organisational change mean for freenode?

In practise it means very little, the PDPC has never been involved in the day to day operations of the network and there will be no changes to the way in which the network is run. freenode is staffed entirely by volunteers from all over the globe who contribute their time and expertise to keep the network up and running in between contributing to various other FOSS projects.

What about other PDPC projects, such as fosscon, geeknic, and the fossevents site?

These projects will continue as they have before, and we invite you to attend fosscon for real world talks and collaboration, to join a geeknic picnic or plan your own at http://geeknic.org, and to check out http://fossevents.org for events in your neighbourhood and around the world.

I appreciate the work you do and I still want to contribute

The best way in which to help the network is to contribute time — help out in #freenode or elsewhere on the network, assist users in finding answers to their questions and help us try keep the channel and network temperature at a nice, comfortable level which encourages collaboration!
If you are low on time but still want to help out you might be able to help us through your company or organisation by becoming a server sponsor (See “Hosting a server” for more information).
If you feel that one particular volunteer has helped you out and you want to say thank you — ask them if they have a preferred charity to which you could make a small donation! With time we might update our website to provide links and information of such preferences.
Alternatively, you may consider donating to one of the following projects:

Existing PDPC donor cloaks

Existing PDPC donor cloaks will remain valid for a full year, after which they will be converted to unaffiliated cloaks. Ongoing donations will be cancelled by us. If you have previously donated to PDPC you’ll still qualify for your donor cloak as normal. If you believe you’re due a cloak and we haven’t processed it yet please contact us.

Fosscon 2012, Saturday August 11th in Philadelphia PA

August 11th, 2012 (All day)

Hi everyone,
In just a couple of months we will be hosting FOSSCON (Free and Open Source Software Conference), focusing on the community that has grown around Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), and in parallel to both the Free Culture and Open Source cultural movements.
This is a community-focused live event designed to build and strengthen relationships between Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) developers and users. FOSSCON seeks to raise awareness of and promote FOSS alternatives to proprietary software. Facilitating face-to-face interaction, creative workshops, talks and think tanks, FOSSCON brings developers and users together in a nurturing and dynamic environment stimulating the free exchange of ideas and information while fostering cross-project collaboration and dialogue for innovation.

FOSSCON is a Peer-Directed Projects Center (PDPC) project, organized by the foss community.  FOSSCON (along with Geeknics) is part of PDPC’s desire to bring an already massive online community, freenode that has grown around free and open source ideas, out into the world, to meet, connect, support and challenge each other, imagine, plot and co-develop beautiful, possibly useful and unexpected things.

The people behind FOSSCON are free software enthusiasts, user group members, coders and users – just like you! Free software is all about community and this is a very grassroots event, organized by the community and for the community. Our common goal is to provide a space for us to all come together in the northeast. We hope you’ll join us as an attendee, a volunteer or an exhibitor.

Register

Admission is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required. If you’re able and want to be a “FOSSCON supporter” you can get a gift and thanks for $25. Whether free or a supporter, please register here: http://fosscon.org/attend

Schedule

FOSSCON will last all day. See the regularly updated schedule of presentations (and proposal guidelines) here: http://fosscon.org/speakers

Anyone in the FOSS community with interesting and exciting topics is invited to submit a talk to speak at this event.  As a general event built for the community at large, the range of acceptable topics is broad, however FOSSCON traditionally favors topics with an immediate real world use in home, work, or education environments and broadly categorizes talks under one of these headings.

The program committee invites proposals for paper presentations, demonstrations and poster contributions on any topic relevant to FOSS awareness, accessibility and application. We want to offer something for beginning, intermediate, and advanced learning levels with particular emphasis on the following topics:

  • The Open Culture Movements influence on open source
  • Beginning the FOSS conversion
  • FOSS on a Windows Desktop
  • Fun FOSS projects for your home
  • Plugging into Social Media with FOSS
  • FOSS in the workplace
  • FOSS in education
  • FOSS at non-profits
  • FOSS Government
  • Open Hardware
  • Open Mobile Environments
  • Your new awesome FOSS project
  • Free Network Services

 

Exhibitors

If your group has an interesting project, or event useful to the community, show it to the world at FOSSCON!  We invite you to join us at FOSSCON to show the community what you’ve done, what you’re doing, or what you offer.

  • LUGs
  • Hackerspaces
  • Local FOSS events the community needs to know about

We still have a limited number of spaces available for groups so please get in touch with us to reserve your spot.

Sponsors

We have a limited number of tables available for sponsors so please get in touch with us early to reserve your spot.  We’re very interested as well in any suitable organizations involvement in other ways, such as talks or other interesting ideas you may have. Please see this link for more info (oh, and obligatory but genuine shout out to FOSSCON sponsors here as well): http://fosscon.org/sponsors

Location

FOSSCON will take place at Venturef0rth on the second floor of 417 North 8th Street Philadelphia PA.  The location is just a few blocks from Market east station on the SEPTA transit network, which further provides access to the Philadelphia Airport and 30th street station, where Amtrak can be connected.  The location has central air, and elevator access to the floor we will be occupying.  There are several paid parking lots within a few blocks of the location, and limited street parking is available nearby as well.

Volunteer

If you would like to help out with FOSSCON, let us know!  We need help with things before, during, and after the event, including setup and tear down, announcements, technology, and much more.  We also appreciate assistance in spreading the word via mailing lists and other resources you may be a part of.  Stop by our IRC channel (#fosscon, on freenode) to learn more or read on for other ways to contact us.

Questions?

You can join us on the IRC network “chat.freenode.net” and join the channel “#fosscon” to talk with the planning team and others interested in FOSSCON, ask questions, or volunteer to help us out.  You can easily join the channel using webchat by clicking here: http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=fosscon.

You can also check out our facebook page, or our twitter feed.

See you all then!

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!

 

 

New GRF-freenode process

As you might know, GRFs (Group Registration Forms) exist to form a relationship between a project and the PDPC (Peer Directed Projects Center). This relationship is relatively formal – personal details (address/tel no./etc) need to be shared by the project. For this reason, a severe backlog of GRFs has built up, since only a few staff have access to them (to protect this personal data). PDPC is the UK-based not-for-profit company which runs freenode. For most groups in our request backlog, their reason for registering is not to work with PDPC, but to gain a channel or cloak namespace on freenode. We’ve decided that running a separate, freenode-centric groups request system may help to move the system along. By requesting fewer details, we can open up this system to more staff, and hopefully keep on top of the queue of requests.

From now on, using a new, shorter form, projects can choose to file a GRF-f (for GRF-freenode) and submit a GRF for processing by freenode, rather than by PDPC. This sends details (no personal details, other than email address, will be required) to a system to which many more staff will have access. This new form will allow you to gain control of a channel and the right to issue cloaks much more quickly than previously, as we will double/treble the number of staff able to deal with requests. For now, please only apply if you are a ‘priority’ group – ie, you do not own the main channel of your namespace.

If you already have a group registered and approved with an old-style GRF, you do not need to do anything. Your registration remains valid. If you need to make changes to the registration, please contact staff on freenode who will, if appropriate, direct you to use the old (GRF) system. The GRF-f system cannot be used to update groups which filed under the GRF system.

If you have a request pending in the old GRF queue, you are welcome to re-file under the GRF-f system. This is likely to mean that your request will be dealt with much more quickly than otherwise. This approach supersedes the grfprocess@ system introduced a while back – unfortunately, we just weren’t able to keep up with requests to that address.

You might be wondering where all of this fits into the GMS (Groups Management System) masterplan. When GMS is ready, we may need to ask all projects registered under the GRF-f system, and likely some projects which are already registered, to re-file. The GMS system will allow us to dispense with GRF-fs, and just build project<=>PDPC relationships, since forms will be able to be processed much more quickly. To be clear – it is quite possible that any registration made now may be revoked if a registration is not re-filed after GMS is released. If this does become reality, as much warning as possible will be given.

We hope that this will change will counter some of the ill-feeling around the GRFs system. In effect, the mentality is shifting from one of “GMS will clear the GRFs backlog” to “GMS will help us to serve groups better”. We’re no longer waiting for GMS to clear the queue. We’re still looking for help with GMS: if you have Perl/Catalyst or web design experience and think you can help, join #freenode-gms.

Update 2012-06-09 – All group registration has been suspended whilst we evaluate the system and its implementation. A replacement should be available in due course, but for now it is not possible to register groups, and the link to the grf-f form has been removed.

PDPC Fundraiser 2011

Hello everyone and Happy St Valentine’s Day!

Love PDPC! 2011 Fundraiser

We here at freenode and PDPC love Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), and we know that at least 70,000 of you do too.

What better time than the middle of February to show your love and appreciation?

Peer-Directed Projects Center Ltd. (PDPC) exists to support all sorts of peer-directed projects, and our roots are firmly planted in the world of FOSS. Hundreds of projects, large and small, use our services, including:

  • freenode: probably the reason you’re on this blog – the 70,000-strong IRC network focused on FOSS
  • Geeknics: the popular real-world meetups for geeks – “Geek Picnics” (we don’t bite, honest!)
  • FOSSCon: the friendly and successful conference about to enter its second year – watch this space
  • fossevents: your online guide to the real-world happenings of the FOSS universe
  • … and infinitely more! Got an idea? Get involved and let us know about it.

The aim of this fundraiser is to generate £5000, which will help to cover general operating expenses and enable us to apply for recognition as a Charity. This will help us to show our appreciation to donors and sponsors (on freenode) who may be able to claim tax benefits from their governments as a result. It also means that we can ensure that more of future donations go towards PDPC’s projects, and not to the taxman!

While the aim of the fundraiser is, of course, to generate income for PDPC, we want to give you the opportunity to express your appreciation for the projects and developers you love. For the next two weeks only, we are running the following offers:

Valentine cloaks

Would you love to send your favourite developer a valentine? Donate £10 or more and we’ll offer the target of your affections a “pdpc/valentine/message/account” cloak for the duration of the valentine period. The best bit? You get to choose “message”! Of course, you will still, subject to the same staff discretion as usual, be welcome to a PDPC supporter cloak for yourself. Donate here.

Please keep the message clean and pleasant, and be aware that we will not set cloaks that we deem to be offensive or that the recipient does not want. If you wish for us to tell the recipient that you bought their cloak, let us know. All of this, with your account name too, should be conveyed in the PayPal donation message. We will process outstanding requests at least daily, and these valentine cloaks will remain for 24 hours from when they were set.

Cloud Nine

As usual, when you donate to PDPC, we will give you the opportunity to link your donation to a channel – this might be a channel you frequent, or that for a project you love. For the next few weeks (and possibly beyond, but without the love theme!), we are going to use this data to compile a Love Cloud (yes, you guessed it – “Cloud Nine”) where at a glance you will be able to see the relative contributions in each project’s name. We are measuring donations in hugs: £5 = 1 hug (£10 = 2, £500 = 100), and the hearts will be scaled appropriately (if we have to break out some logarithmic scaling, we have success!). Cloud Nine will be sitting over the homepage of freenode.net.

We’re all about sharing the love here at freenode, so if you are naming a channel with your donation we would love it if you would tell us why. What makes this project so great? Please try to keep kudos concise! We might wallop some of the best messages (so set yourself /umode +w to see them, or /umode -w to hide them), and we will blog the collected kudos at the end of the valentine period. If you do not want your account name to be attached to feedback that you send, please mention this to us. All of this should be placed into the PayPal donation comment. Donate here.

We have some more ideas for the fundraiser in the pipeline, so keep an eye on this blog for more details!

Finally, but by no means least, significant thanks are owed to JonathanD, mgdm and Scott Rigby of BaseKamp who have contributed much time and effort to forming this fundraiser launch at short notice. You’re awesome.

So, everyone, I’d encourage you to put your hands in your pockets, send a small donation our way (£5 – the cost of a couple of pints of beer?) and, most importantly, get involved with our fundraising fun for 2011!

With love,

Martinp23, the Board and Staff.

Peer-Directed Projects Center Ltd. is a company limited by guarantee (no 06680918), 2nd Floor, 145-157 St John Street, London, EC1V 4PY, England

Fosscon 2010 Free and Open Source Software Conference.

While talking online is great, meeting in person presents brand new opportunities… and we would like to meet you!

In 4 days (on June 19th, 2010), a number of us as well as members of the community in general will be meeting up for a conference in Rochester, NY, at Rochester Institute of Technology.  We are greatly looking forward to this awesome new opportunity.

Fosscon features 14 talks and 4 workshops. Below are just a few examples.

Free and Open in Education; More than just Software – Charles Profitt

Making the Most of Communities – Bryan Ostergaard

OpenStreetMap – Richard Weait

Linux in Business – Karlie Robinson

Resume Building Workshop with RIT’s Office of Co-Op and Placement

And many others, as well as Bird of a Feather sessions and an exhibition hall full of local users groups and interesting organizations.

We hope to see you there. Visit http://fosscon.org/ for more info or http://fosscon.org/register to sign up.

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!

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!

fossevents.org

fossevents.org is an open source event aggregation site created by the Peer Directed Projects Center, the nonprofit organization the operates freenode.  Our goal with this new site is to make it easy to find open source events near you, that interest you.  Many of us have missed events that were right around the corner because we didn’t know about them until it was way too late.

As we grow this site we’ll be adding new and interesting ways to monitor open source events, so keep an eye on it.