Insert witty title here

Like every year, we would like to invite our users to take part in the April 1st quiz and have the chance to win an April Fools’ cloak.

Good luck, lots of fun, and thanks for flying freenode trebutchet!

What does Dorothy wish she was on the other side of?
###>++++++++++ [>++++++++++>+++++++++++>+++++++++++>+++++++++++>++++++++++><<<<<<-] >+>++>++++>+>+++> <<<<<< >.>.>.>.>.
##bhggbyhapu

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.

Upgrade and database prune completed

The planned services upgrade and database prune went ahead today as planned and has completed successfully. Approximately 300000 nicks were removed from the database, and we’ve moved to Atheme 7, so hopefully response times from services should be improved, with less of the lag that was sometimes noticeable before.

In addition, certificate based authentication is now available. We’ll hopefully get the docs for this up online shortly.

Group Registration Closure

Our group registration system has been around for some time, in various guises.  Over that time, our small but dedicated team of staff has attempted to keep up with demand for groups.  Unfortunately, in the early years of GRF, this generated a substantial backlog of processing, since the system was very manual, a lot of data was processed (restricting the staff who had access) and each group can take some time to properly investigate.  To address this issue, we’ve tried a number of alternatives, such as priority group emails, and, lately, a streamlined group registration system known as “grf-f”.

For various reasons, these replacements haven’t worked quite how we’d want or need them to in order to achieve our objective of registering groups in a timely fashion.  Meanwhile, development of GMS, our automated replacement GRF system, continues.

For these reasons, we have taken the decision to temporarily close the group registration system.

What this means is that -

  • No new group registrations will be accepted from this point onwards, until further notice.
  • Outstanding grf-f applications already in the queue will be processed in due course.
  • Outstanding “old style” GRF applications will *not* be processed (most of the applications in this set are very old now, and the people who submitted them should have seen at least one reminder to refile under grf-f)
  • All existing registered groups are unaffected and continue as normal.

Please bear with us whilst we work on where we want to go next with this system.  Meanwhile, if there are channels currently owned by freenode-staff that your project could make use of, please contact a staffer to see if (provisional) op rights can be granted to your account. (These would likely be done on a somewhat temporary basis, until such time as registration re-opens.)  Note also that this is *only* to gain ops on channels, *not* for obtaining group cloaks.

As always, thanks for flying freenode!

mrmist.

Services upgrade and database prune

Hi
The long-awaited upgrade of services which we blogged about a while ago is now planned for this coming weekend, the 16th/17th June.

We anticipate up to an hour of services outage for this upgrade and prune to take place. We will notify the connected users closer to the time through the use of WALLOPS and/or globals, but please do plan ahead accordingly for a period of services unavailability.

We will be moving to Atheme 7, so, amongst other improvements, this will see the introduction of certificate-based authentication to services.

To use certificate based authentication, you would need firstly to generate a certificate, then add the certificate to your client, then tell nickserv about your certificate fingerprint. We’ll explain more about this in a future blog entry or on the freenode website in the near future.

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!

April 1st, the aftermath

It’s been two weeks since our April Fools quiz; thanks to everybody who participated. Several people managed to complete the quiz; the first eight are:

  1. dwfreed
  2. bikcmp
  3. divVerent
  4. sbp
  5. meridion
  6. heftig
  7. JoshuaA
  8. [bjoern]

Here are the riddles and their solutions, in the original order:

Stage 1, the picture linked on the blog:

ITucplOwnTShozIfVT1cM2u0VTWyVPZwp3EupaD=


This was base64 + rot13 encryption,
##start

Stage 2, topic in ##start

###### MLG UZHGVI GSZM


Encryption A-Z Z-A,
“NOT FASTER THAN”

With a bit of thinking, this led the users to ######neutrinos

Stage 3, topic in ######neutrinos

#### C0LEMAK 43WRXC 34PTCXRW XSF34GDVC BHJ6 CTP4GHKNL7 87JHKMEN


Solvable with a picture of the Colemak keyboard layout and a bit of tracing with your fingers. Following the path between the keys on the keyboard gave you C, O, D, I, N, G.

Stage 4, topic in ####coding

3. #### Find a five-digit number in which the last number is the sum of the first, second, and third; the third is four less than the last; the fourth is two less than the last; and the first and fourth added are one less than the last. The last number is also three times the second.


Plain math, 13579

Stage 5, topic in ####13579

#### This “huge” work, written over twen ty years, contains ten books. What colour is it?


The Great Book of Amber
####amber

Last Stage, topic in ####amber

i yam what i yam but i yam ####

which lead to ####popeye, the final channel.

We hope you enjoyed our little quiz and had a great time.

Database prune

Every couple of years, freenode likes to get out the shears and prune the services database. Recently we broke the 80,000 usercount barrier, but the services stats are way ahead:

Sat 13:35:46 -OperServ(OperServ@services.)- Registered accounts: 446777
Sat 13:35:46 -OperServ(OperServ@services.)- Registered nicknames: 557497
Sat 13:35:47 -OperServ(OperServ@services.)- Registered channels: 141373

We’ve noticed that nearly half of the accounts shown there haven’t been used in the past 6 months! More importantly, over the past few months many people have noticed significant waits when issuing certain services commands – and we’d like to fix that.

Hopefully, the services upgrade should help with this, but we’re going to coincide this with a database prune.

As of the services upgrade date, any nicks unused for > 150 days are at risk of being dropped. This includes grouped nicks. The easy way to avoid this happening is to use each of your grouped nicks (while identified to the appropriate account) within the next few weeks – and to drop those that you don’t need anymore!

The testnet (testnet.freenode.net, port 9002. 9003 for SSL) is running a database snapshot from mid-March and will be periodically updated from the production network. This database instance is being regularly pruned – so check there to see how your account will be affected (use /msg nickserv info on both the production and test networks to see the differences).

Remember that testnet isn’t running a real-time duplicate of the production network, so when you use nicks which would be expired on the production network, they will still appear expired on testnet until the next database snapshot is migrated. Don’t worry though – the actual pruning will only occur on the current database at the time of upgrade.

On which note.. an upgrade date hasn’t been formally fixed but we’re aiming for mid-May.

Thanks, and don’t forget to test the testnet!

Help us test our services upgrade!

Very soon we will be upgrading your favourite network helpers… (no not erry…): NickServ, ChanServ, Alis etc. They’re currently connected to our testnet and we need your help with testing, looking for any issues which may affect the production network.

You can connect to our testnet at testnet.freenode.net port 9002 (or 9003 for SSL)

The full changelog is rather long and not all of the features offered by atheme are loaded on freenode. So to help you out, we’ve pulled out the highlights which we think deserve attention:

  • NickServ’s certfp module. (see /msg nickserv help cert and this link.)
  • NickServ will now notify you in real time of failed logins.
  • NickServ’s previous limit on password lengths has been increased.
  • ChanServ will still hand over single-# channels to freenode-staff on expiration of the channel founders, but the method has changed.
  • NickServ & ChanServ’s ‘set’ commands have had a general reorganisation behind the scenes. Nothing should be visibly different but it won’t hurt to check them!

Please note that the services database on the testnet is probably more than a few days old. Don’t be surprised if recent changes you have made on the production network aren’t replicated there.

We’re all in in #freenode on the testnet so please come find us there if you have any questions or bugs.

Finally, look out for a followup blogpost (hopefully quite soon) with some important information on the upgrade itself and our planned database cleanup!

Thanks for using freenode!

P.s. a full list of changes from atheme ~5.1 to ~6 can be found here