Helping GNOME defend its trademark

The GNOME project will be familiar to the vast majority of our users, what you might not be aware of is that the project is currently facing an expensive trademark battle against Groupon with the latter having allegedly chosen to infringe upon GNOME’s trademark by launching a product with the same name (a POS “operating system for merchants to run their entire operation”).

I am not going to go into the details here, as they have been explained by the GNOME project over at http://www.gnome.org/groupon/ and the GNOME folk are in a much better position than me to provide more detailed information on the matter.

What I am going to do is appeal for your help. The GNOME project is looking to raise $80,000 to cover the legal costs involved in defending their trademark. At the time of writing this post the freenode network has 89,998 connected users. Users who are passionate about FOSS.

If each of us donated just ONE DOLLAR to the GNOME project they would cover the anticipated legal costs AND have some spare change leftover for a pint when the proceedings conclude.

Even if you do not use GNOME, please consider helping them out. This is bigger than just GNOME and I think would be fantastic if the FOSS communities could drum together to support our own.

If you head over to http://www.gnome.org/groupon/ you can make a donation directly via PayPal by clicking on the “Help us by donating today” button.

Update: Due to the controversial nature of PayPal, GNOME is now also offering other ways to donate .

Thank you!

Update #2: According to the Groupon blog and this article over at Engadget Groupon has issued the following statement: “Groupon is a strong and consistent supporter of the open source community, and our developers are active contributors to a number of open source projects. We’ve been communicating with the Foundation for months to try to come to a mutually satisfactory resolution, including alternative branding options, and we’re happy to continue those conversations. Our relationship with the open source community is more important to us than a product name. And if we can’t come up with a mutually acceptable solution, we’ll be glad to look for another name.”

I am assuming that this means that the trademarks filed will be retracted and that the GNOME project can go about business as usual. I am certain they will be releasing a statement with further details before long.

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!

 

 

Happy Holidays!

Just a quick note to wish each and every one of our users, sponsors, donors, volunteers and projects for making freenode great.

It’s amazing being able to communicate and collaborate with such a variety of people and projects. YOU make the network what it is and help us provide a fantastic resource for FOSS communities.

I’d also like to say a special “Thank You” to Martin (Martinp23) Peeks and Richard (RichiH) Hartmann for squeezing into my size 7’s and keeping a tight grip on the steering wheel ensuring that we don’t weer off track and crash into too many icebergs during my leave from active freenode management duties. You’re doing a tremendous job, and I’m thrilled to see that you’ve got the support from the fantastic volunteer base and our exceptional sponsors.

Have a happy Christmas (or whichever holiday you do or do not celebrate) and a fantastic New Year, I hope it brings you everything you wish for!

Oh. And don’t forget, tis the season for giving!

Cheers,

Christel x

Be Safe Out There

freenode is sometimes a target of spammers, bots, or attempts to trick users into taking action or giving up information they normally would not. One form of spam, popular recently, claims that freenode will require SASL to connect. Others attempt to lure users to a website that may generate revenue for the spammer, attempt to install malicious software, reveal information about the user (such as location, IP address, operating system, and so on), or lead to a shock site intended to offend or disgust. Other spam has no purpose except to cause disruption through channel noise, nick-highlights, and the ensuing complaints from those disrupted.

Don’t be a victim of these mischievous ploys. Don’t react when you see this sort of activity. Don’t click on unsolicited links. Don’t trust spam to be accurate or truthful. Instead, be a catalyst or just ignore the unwanted behavior. Most IRC clients offer a way to filter out messages from a person or containing certain text by using a command called /ignore. Even if your client doesn’t support /ignore, you can mentally ignore it just like you might ignore someone yelling on a street corner.

Bad behavior that is limited to one or two channels can be handled by the helpers and operators in the channel. If you feel compelled to report spam or abusive behavior, privately message one of the people on the channel’s access list, which may be seen using /msg chanserv access #channel list. To check how recently a person was active, use /whois nickname nickname. (Yes, put the nick twice). This will show whether they are away, and how long they have been idle. Some projects use a -ops channel (e.g. #ubuntu-ops) to make it easier to contact an operator.

If bad behavior is widespread, network staff may intervene. As always, staffers can be reached in #freenode. When reporting an issue, please do not (re-)paste spam or highlight many nicks. This only adds to the disruption and makes the reporter look like the spammer. When a staffer responds, you can privately message the content of the spam, if it is important to addressing the problem.

And one final word about announcements: any major change to the network’s operations (like, say, requiring SASL) would be announced properly through the website and/or blog. We might also announce it over IRC using a global notice or wallop. A wallop or global notice would come from a staffer — someone with a freenode/staff cloak in whois — and probably appear in your client’s server or status window. Spammers may choose nicks that look similar to those of staffers, but staffers will have a freenode/staff cloak and we will not spam channels as a way of making announcements. A bit of skepticism before trusting something seen on the internet can help keep you safe, and the network running smoothly.

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.

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).

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!