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]

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!

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!

2008/2009 Fundraiser.

We’re slowly climbing towards our target of £5,000.00 in donations by March 2009. However, as the pie-chart shows we’re still quite a way off. If you appreciate what we do and want to see the PDPC provide further services to the communities, why not head over to http://freenode.net/pdpc_donations.shtml and see if you are able to help us reach the target! Any donation, small or large is gratefully received and a massive thanks goes to those who have already dug deep and helped us climb up the ladder in this instance!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Another year is coming to an end, for freenode and the PDPC it has been a year of change. We’ve made a lot of progress on development, the NFP is branching out and starting to slowly move towards providing more services to the FOSS communities and we’ve grown in size and now peak at a whooping 51,000 users! It feels amazing to see so many FOSS enthusiasts together in one place.

I hope that you all have a fantastic holiday season and that the new year brings you all you wish for! And a massive thanks to each and every user for making it worth our time to provide this service! And of course, thanks also go to all our fantastic volunteers, past and present for the time and effort they put in day after day for free. I look forward to another year with you, and another year working to bring FOSS developers and users together.

Fundraising for Charity Status!

As you may be vaguely aware, we have been working on some structural changes to the operations of the parent organisation behind freenode. And I am happy to announce that Peer-Directed Projects Center Ltd is now incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales.

This makes the administrative and organisational side of things a lot easier and manageable for us and will not in any way disturb the services we provide to our users currently.

However, we wish to register as a charity with the Charity Commission, but in order to do this we will need some help! We need to be able to meet a minimum support threshold of £5,000.00 per annum in order to be eligible for charity status.

While we historically raised a fair amount of money through various online fund raisers, we have not actively solicited for donations in the last two years, causing a massive drop in donation levels leaving us well below the threshold.

Now, there are several reasons for us not actively soliciting, for one our outgoings have over the past two years been a lot lower than previously as we no longer have any paid staff — all members of freenode and the PDPC are involved on a volunteer basis.

If you are considering donating, you will no doubt have some questions, some of which we will try to answer here:

  • If you are no longer employing anyone, what outgoings do you have, why do you need money? — Our outgoings are fairly low indeed and limited to hosting one server, registered office fees, telephone/fax, stationary expenses, domain renewal fees and other administrative overhead. We do intend to put any amount which exceeds our administrative expenses to use for the community.
  • What plans does freenode/PDPC have for “giving back to the community”? — There’s a few different programs we would like to be able to add to our current services, top of the list currently is arranging ‘live conferences” in Europe and America (if you are interested in learning more about this, helping out with planning, during the events or corporate sponsorship please drop us a line to live at freenode dot net).
  • Do I get any tax relief if I donate? — When we meet the treshold for charity status and enter the register, you will be able to write off tax on any donation made to us, and we will be able to claim tax relief of 28% per donation made from a UK tax payer!
  • Do you provide any receipts of donations? — If you donate through paypal you will automatically receive one then, however, for donations of £30.00 (approximately $50.00) or over we will also provide a separate receipt electronically or as a hard copy if you prefer.
  • Why do you want to be a charity anyway? — We want to be able to provide the services we currently provide to our community, we also wish to do future programs and we wish to get involved with working to “promote FOSS in the real world”, as a registered charitable organisation we can also apply for various grants and other support in order to reach these goals and provide a better service to the community.
  • Does this mean you will start spamming us with global notices begging us to donate all the time? — No! We believe that global notices should be reserved for messages relating to the status of the freenode network, not for soliciting funds. We may mention our fundraiser in #freenode and #defocus or other freenode owned/operated channels, and we may in future blog again and talk about it in our channels.

You can make your donation here.

While we only mention “freenode live” as a future program above, we do have other irons in the fire and if you’re curious about them, or have a suggestion for how we can better help our communities, why not come have a chat with us either over in #defocus or drop us an e-mail to ideas at freenode net

Any help, however big or small will be gratefully received! Thank you for considering donating, and to those of you who have supported us in the past and those continuing to support us a massive thanks for helping us help the community! If you have any questions, or want to discuss other levels of donating or other ways of helping out freenode and the PDPC — or getting involved with future programs, why don’t you drop me a message on IRC? You can find me online as christel.

Happy holidays!

It’s been just over a year since freenode saw it’s biggest shake-up yet, the passing of founder Rob ‘lilo’ Levin. It has been a challenging and interesting year both for freenode and Peer-Directed Projects Center, the not-for-profit organisation which owns and operates the network. There have been changes within the staff, there have been technical changes and soon we will see the change-over of both our Services package and our IRC daemon.

freenode is doing well — we’ve more sponsors than ever, and we’ve gained around 18,000 users. We’ve had interesting projects choose to use our services and we’ve had a lot of input from users on what changes they would like to see. This past year has truly shown freenode for what it is — a service provided by the community for the community. We’ve been joined by new staff, all of whom we’re pleased to have onboard. We’re making progress on the development side, both internally and externally.

PDPC has been more of a challenge. The NFP was fairly inactive previously and the change to having a active board who share a passion for the community we serve has been great, but it has also meant that we’ve had a lot to tidy up. While we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel, we haven’t quite gotten to where we want to be yet. However, I am confident that all the hard work put in by the board members, project specific volunteers and of course, our lawyers, CPA and accountant (without whom we’d be hairless by now), we will be able to do some truly spectacular things for the community in the coming years.

It has been a interesting and exciting year — I am proud and happy to have had the chance to work with such an amazing group of people: freenode staff, the PDPC board, past and present code contributors, projects using our services and of course the diverse and incredible user group freenode has.

I’d like to thank the PDPC board for sticking in there and for having the energy and drive to push on with what at times looked bleak and depressing, each and every one of the freenode staff members for the time and effort they have put in to keep the network running, our developers and code contributors for new services and IRCd (and of course, to the original Atheme and Charybdis developers for allowing us to continue work on already amazing services in order to make it fit our needs!), every project which uses our facilities, every single PDPC donor for helping us help the community, and of course our sponsors, without whom none of this would be possible.

I’d also like to thank the OFTC staffers for this year’s collaboration. It has been an interesting journey and one which I hope we will continue together.

And finally, I’d like to wish everyone happy holidays and a great new year!

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! :)

We’re still here!

It’s been quiet on the blog front lately, we’re mid holiday season so find ourselves somewhat lacking in active staff and this has kept most of those who are around tremendously busy. Both on freenode and with working on new stuff!

RichiH and I just got  back from Houston, TX a couple of weeks back. We flew over to deal with some PDPC business, visited the grave of Rob (lilo) and had the pleasure of meeting his wife and son. Prior to that we attended GUADEC where we got to meet a fair few users who gave us some valuable input and ideas for the network and where to go next! Thanks guys.

I was doing my early morning coffee + newspapers followed by blogs session while trying to wake up this morning and came across a couple of blog entries written by a user, they amused me, while also being somewhat accurate.. so I figured I would share. A list of annoying IRC personalities and also part 2.