Why Our IRC Moved to Libera Chat

As you might or might not have noticed, lately there has been a lot of discussion on the interwebz regarding IRC networks.

In May, Libera Chat split from the former Freenode network. Accusations were made on both sides of the argument, but many (FOSS) projects already moved away from Freenode to Libera Chat. Our small and cosy channel #fhLUG didn’t make the move immediately, not wanting to politicize the issue. We decided to stay and see how everything works out. Freenode was still the network with the most users at the time and we wanted to be discoverable for our visitors.

On May 25 – the International Towel Day – several channels I was part of suddenly had their topic changed by freenode staff, dropping access lists and creating “mirror channels” without any ops. As it turns out, this not only affected a handful of channels, but 700+ others which had the word “libera” in their topic. Not very classy, but whatever. I was still willing to stay. We eventually got some of the channels back and #fhLUG was not affected (The Neo keyboard layout‘s channel #neo, however, was).

Fast forward another 3 weeks to June 15. Without warning, except for a global network notice a few hours earlier, all user accounts and all channels were deregistered/dropped by Freenode, then active connections forcefully disconnected. Less than 12 hours later, all old servers were fully shut down and no longer available. We no longer have access to our channel, all our user accounts are gone. We cannot trust a network whose owners purge user accounts and channels on a whim without warnings or announcements. As of yet, there has not been published an official statement explaining why this happened or what the plan is/was.

Complaints by understandably frustrated users are mostly met with kick-banning the users or scoffing at them, telling them to go back to Libera if they do not like how Freenode handles its users.

Well, that’s what we are doing. We are no longer interested in participating in such a chaotic network. You can find our IRC channel at Libera Chat. All our regulars are already there. If you aren’t, join the network and say hi.

Author: Daniel Knittl-Frank

I studied Software Engineering in Hagenberg. My master thesis dealt with cross-platform portability of .NET applications under Mono on Linux, specifically with the HeuristicLab optimization framework. I do most of the boring stuff at fhLUG, such as organizing events and taking care of the website. Talks I have given have covered several diverse topics, including typesetting with LaTeX, version control with Git, the Neo keyboard layout, the Vim text editor, regular expressions, and shell scripting.

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