December 15th DDoS

We are currently experiencing heavy DDoS against several locations at which some of our servers are hosted. The attack is ongoing and cause a lot of disruption, both to users of the network and unfortunately to projects/companies/individuals whose infrastructure is hosted at the same locations as us. Our sponsors and our sponsors’ upstreams are working hard to try curb the attacks as best they can.

We will try keep this page updated with any significant information as and when we receive it, however, users of the network will also be able to receive (infrequent) status updates via global notice and slightly more frequent updates via wallops for those who have chosen to go +w (/umode +w or /mode yournick +w) will enable wallops in your irc client should you wish to see these. Global notices do not work on a opt-in basis, and are restricted to information we deem important, however for those of you who have absolutely no interest in what’s going on with the network you may /ignore *!*@freenode/staff/* notices in order to prevent global notices from displaying in your client.

We apologise for the inconvenience this no doubt causes for you and your project(s) and we would like to thank you all (in particular, our very generous and dedicated sponsors) for the patience and support while the issues are still ongoing.

December 8 2009 Connectivity Issues and Netsplits

As you are probably aware, we’ve been facing some fairly major splits today as there have been issues between some of our major hubs. We’ve rerouted these and are working on tracing down the cause of any other splits.  Please be aware, our staff are already hard at work on these issues and will resolve them as quickly as possible. Included here are 2 global notices about this matter.
-christel(i=christel@freenode/staff/exherbo.christel)-
[Global Notice] Hi all, we appear to be having some
connectivity issues with our main US hub, as a result of
this we are temporarily without  services, if this affects
your channel please contact staff in #freenode for
assistance. We’re looking into the issues as we speak. Thank
you for your patience.

-christel(i=christel@freenode/staff/exherbo.christel)-
[Global Notice] Hi all, we’re having some major issues with
connectivity at the DC hosting one of our hidden hubs, I’m
going to re-route around it,  which will cause about twice
as much noise as the splits already made. Apologies for the
inconvenience.

These and other issues are a large part of the reason for the upcoming migration to ircd-seven, and we still need your help in that regard.  We are still in need help testing the new ircd and working out the bugs.  If you would like to help out, have a look at this posting for information on how you can test the new ircd.

Thank you for using freenode, and have a great day!

DCC spam, and how to handle it.

We are aware of the recent DCC spam attempts, and we are working on this issue.  In the meantime, please do not paste the full DCC text you recieve in #freenode (or any other channel) as in many cases it can cause you to appear as a problem yourself.

Instead, feel free to report it by first verifying (using  the /whois command) that the sender is still online, and then reporting the sender in #freenode.  Please be aware that #freenode is a general help channel and we need to keep it clear of general chatter in order to support the many users of freenode.  If you wish to discuss anything other than an immediate support request, please find a more appropriate channel for the topic.

On this topic, please be sure to only accept DCC requests from trusted users and to be cautious about them at all times.  You may wish to consider filtering out the DCC requests using your clients ignore functions, or enabling umode +C to prevent CTCP messages from being received. If you would like help with these topics feel free to stop by #freenode or your clients support channel.

As always, thank you for using freenode.

Testing the nets

We’re in the late stages of testing our new ircd, ircd-seven, which is intended to replace our current hyperion ircd, and we need your help!

While we have been testing it regularly against some basic loads, nothing really replaces users, and we need as many as possible to connect, try it out, and report back with any issues.  Please note that ircd-seven differs from our current software; hyperion — and some bits of behaviour may differ, if your project/channels rely on the use of bots on the production network we encourage you to also test these on the testnet!  We would really like to stress, there are some significant changes in the new ircd so please do test the full functionality of any bots you require at this time, as we’ll be moving forward with this new ircd in the future.

To connet, use testnet.freenode.net for ipv4 or ipv6. Port 9002 listens for regular connections, while 9003 listens for SSL.

We want a lot of traffic, and while we don’t normally encourage it — you are welcome to bring bots and drones en-masse! So bring in the bots, simulate traffic, join your regular channels, talk or spout nonsense. You can find us all in #freenode when you’ve connected to the testnet.

To connect from irssi: “/connect -ssl testnet.freenode.net 9003″ for ssl and “/connect testnet.freenode.net 9002″ for non-ssl.
To connect from xchat, first open a new tab, then “/server -ssl testnet.freenode.net 9003″ for ssl and “/server testnet.freenode.net 9002″ for non-ssl.

Thank you for using freenode and for helping us out, and freel free to drop by #freenode on either network to report any issues you might have with the testnet.

–update–

Some of you are asking about user and channel modes, many of which will have changed.  You can get a listing of the user and channel modes and what they mean with “help umode” and “help cmode” respectively.  Some clients will allow this directly, using “/help umode” or “/help cmode” but in many you will need to instead use “/quote help umode” or “/quote help cmode”  Some clients also use /raw in place of /quote.

When bots go bad..

First off, allow me to apologise to all users affected by the recent “client killing” rampage of our utility bot; Syn. She appears to have gotten into the Halloween spirit a bit too much!

You may have noticed a large number of people disconnecting from freenode with the reason ‘Nick collision from syn.’ We feel we should explain what happened.

For those of you not already familiar with her, syn is a utility bot that, amongst other duties, regulates gateway access to the network. This could be web gateways such as CGI:IRC or our own webchat, NAT gateways, or some conferences and shell services. One of the things that she does, for web gateways in particular, is to match the reported IP address (hex-encoded in the ident field) against network bans, and deny the connection if a match is found.

It was this particular part that had an unfortunate pair of bugs resulting in the incident you observed. Firstly, in using sscanf() to detect a hex-encoded IP address in the ident field, the validation was not quite strict enough — any ident that *began* with a series of valid hexadecimal characters (the digits 0-9 and letters a-f) would result in a number being decoded. In normal circumstances, this would be relatively harmless as the resulting IP is clearly invalid — in most cases, it would begin 0.0.0., and not match any network bans.

Unfortunately, there was a second bug introduced more recently as part of a performance fix. This meant that in certain cases, a K:line whose host part contained wildcards would incorrectly match against these invalid IP addresses.

Each of these, taken in isolation, would be relatively innocuous, and so they slipped under the radar and made it into production. The combination of the two, however, had rather disastrous results.

We apologise, and welcome you to castigate our developers and staff for our incompetence and for allowing these bugs to make it into production.

Wikipedia licensing change?

Wikipedia to change license to Creative Commons BY-SA?  — From http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/13967

A community vote is now underway, hopefully one of the final steps in the process the migration of Wikipedia (actually Wikipedias, as each language is its own site, and also other Wikimedia Foundation sites) to using Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike as its primary content license.

This migration would be a huge boost for the free culture movement, and for Wikipedia and Creative Commons — until the migration happens there is an unnecessary licensing barrier between the most important free culture project (Wikipedia of course, currently under the Free Documentation License, intended for software documentation) and most other free culture projects and individual creators, which use the aforementioned CC BY-SA license.

To qualify to vote, one must have made 25 edits to a Wikimedia site prior to March 15. Make sure you’re logged in to the project on which you qualify, and you should see a site notice at the top of each page that looks like the image below (red outline added around notice).

If you are eligible, please head over to http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/13967 and find out how to cast your vote!

Free-as-in-node episode 3 released!

The third installment of  free-as-in-node has just been released! Head on over to http://podcast.freenode.net to listen or download.

In this episode, you’ll hear all about freenodes april fools joke and our exploding growth (currently at around 57,000 online users).  Also discussed is the php testfest with input from mgdm (Michael Maclean) in this weeks pimp my project, and then a bit of soapboxing and the announcement of the new “freenode party” in UK politics, so that we too can partake of free-as-in-shoes-your-taxpayers-bought-you.  Make sure you sign our petition before Christel shuts down freenode!

In addition, we’ll let you know whats going on in the world with our take on the talks between Sun and IBM, Debian eating FreeBSD, the new Gnome 3.0 roadmap, and news on TomTom’s settlement with Microsoft.  We’ll also talk about Fedora11beta with updates on our experience on the next episode.

We also discuss the “geeknic” once again with the announcement of yet another geeknic, this one in the Philadelphia area in less than a week! If you can make it, bring us a canoe or kayak.

This week closes again with a wonderful morsel from Bryn_S.  We’ll see you in two weeks!

free-as-in-node: Episode 2 release

We’re happy to announce we’ve just released our second episode of the new freenode podcast, free-as-in-node!  In this episode, we talk about Gary’s recent offenses, geeknics and k-lining park-goers.  We also meet with Dave “Daviey” Walker from Ubuntu to discuss the Ubuntu COC and Ubuntu Locos during this episodes Pimp my project. We continue looking at the recent Microsoft and TomTom legal actions and share our views on them.

During the new freeform discussion segment of the show, we discuss facebook monitoring (and government monitoring in general) and more broadly all the counter terrorism actions being taken by government, including the bomb-resistant sandwich bag.

Head on over to http://podcast.freenode.net to listen in and to share your comments. See you there!

The Beauty of #freenode

#freenode channel, as it currently exists, is a veritable work of art – people who come to the channel are nearly always provided help or referred somewhere for the answer. The really beautiful thing about #freenode, though, is that at least 50% of the help provided comes from network users (rather than freenode staff).

Almost two years ago, the channel #freenode was recreated with new guidelines and philosophy consistent with freenode’s. The ideas weren’t that new – they had already been (somewhat) in use in the old #tapthru channel. The activity in #freenode is generally within the channel guidelines, which may be found at http://freenode.net/poundfreenode.shtml and is highly recommended for anyone planning to participate in the channel.

Whilst many help channels utilize specialized staff to answer questions, one of the most refreshing things about #freenode is that anyone who knows the answer to a question can, and often does, provide the answer or help to the user in need – regardless of status or staff-ness. Numerous users lurk in the channel, either to learn from others’ questions, help other users through their queries or generally just to take up space :)

Some of the more common questions can be, and are, answered by a multitude of people. Keep in mind that being on staff is not a prerequisite to having the correct answer to your question! Here are some common questions:

  • How do I register a nick? A: http://freenode.net/faq.shtml#nicksetup
  • How do I register a channel? A: http://freenode.net/policy.shtml#channelnaming /msg ChanServ help register http://freenode.net/group_registration.shtml
  • How do I set auto-ops on a channel? A: http://freenode.net/channel_guidelines.shtml
  • What is a cloak and how do I get one? A: First set your nick up this way (http://freenode.net/channel_guidelines.shtml), and then message a staff member. Some users whose accounts have been registered recently may be asked to wait a short time before being eligible for a cloak. Cloaks are privileges, not rights – they may be removed in the event of misconduct on the network.
  • There is someone trolling my channel! What should I do? A: freenode strongly encourages the idea of catalysing and has gone so far as to make it part of its policy for staff and official network channels, as well as encouraging others to use the same principles. For two helpful guides on freenode’s catalyst policy, please see http://freenode.net/catalysts.shtml and http://blog.freenode.net/2007/02/the-heart-and-mind-of-a-catalyst/. Part of dealing with trolling is understanding the motivations of the troll. Feel free to read this blog post on the subject or catch a staffer for more ideas: http://blog.freenode.net/2007/05/silence-is-golden-handling-trolls-and-spammers/
  • I’ve lost my password! Can someone help me regain access to my nick? A: If you set your nick up properly when you registered, staff is able to send you a password reset key. Ask in #freenode and when a staffer is available, he/she will be happy to do so.
  • I would like to use a nick that is already registered, will you drop it for me? A: again, staff can assist you. However, try running /msg NickServ info $nick – be sure it’s at least 60 days unused. Then /nick to the nick. Staff will not drop the nick unless you are using it when you ask for the drop. There are situations where, even if a nick is unused for at least 60 days, staff cannot or will not drop it. Be prepared to find another nick if that is the case.
  • I’ve been banned from a channel! Let me back in! A: #freenode is not the place to ask. If you have been banned from a channel, you need to contact the operators of the channel and request to be unbanned. May I suggest doing so politely? No matter how indignant you are, demanding to be unbanned is likely to not serve your goal. To find channel operators, try /msg ChanServ access #channame list
  • How do I find a specific channel if I don’t know the name? A: You can try using ALIS. /msg ALIS help

These are just a few of the many and varied requests in #freenode. Please feel free to feel free to hang out, learn, help and listen!

Canonical Pledges Matching Funds

Thanks to all of you for the donations you have contributed so far towards our fundraising drive. freenode has a few interesting fundraising events and ideas up its sleeves, so hopefully there will be a few more updates to the blog with more details in weeks to come! Today, freenode and the PDPC announces one of a number of exciting updates to the fundraising process:

Mark Shuttleworth and the Canonical team have kindly agreed to provide matching funding for up to £1700, which is enough to meet our £5000 goal). Effective immediately, every donation you make will have a matching contribution, thereby doubling in value! This is an extraordinarily kind gesture and we at freenode would like to thank Mark and Canonical, and the Ubuntu community, for directly and indirectly making it happen!