freenode changes owners, jose resigns as staff.

by José Antonio Rey

To all the people I have interacted with in freenode, and to all the contributors I have worked with over there:

I recently celebrated my 10-year anniversary of having an account in freenode. I have a lot of fond memories, met a lot of amazing people in that period of time.

Some time ago, the former head of freenode staff sold `freenode ltd` (a holding company) to a third party, Andrew Lee[1], under terms that have not been disclosed to the staff body. Mr Lee at the time had promised to never exercise any operational control over freenode.

In the past few weeks, this has changed[2][3], and the existance of a legal threat to freenode has become apparent. We cannot know the substance of this legal threat as it contains some kind of gag order preventing its broader discussion within staff.

As a result, Mr Lee now has operational control over the freenode IRC network. I cannot stand by such a (hostile?) corporate takeover of the freenode network, and I am resigning as a staff volunteer along with most other freenode staff. We simply do not feel that the network now remains independent after two heads of staff appear to have been compelled to make changes to our git repo for the website[4].

Where to now?

We are founding a new network with the same goals and ambitions: libera.chat.

You can connect to the new network at `irc.libera.chat`, ssl port 6697 (and the usual clearnet port).

We’re really sorry it’s had to come to this, and hope that you’re willing to work with us to make libera a success, independent from outside control.

What about Ubuntu?

Whether Ubuntu decides to stay on freenode or move to libera would be a decision of the Ubuntu IRC Council. Please refer to them with any questions you might have. While I am a part of the Community Council, the IRC Council operates independently, and I will personally leave the final decision to them.

Footnotes

[1]: https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/10308021/officers

[2]: A blogpost has been removed without explanation: https://freenode.net/news/freenode-reorg (via the wayback machine)

[3]: The freenode testnet, for experimental deployment and testing of new server features was shutdown on Friday 30th April, for reasons that have not been disclosed to us.

[4]: Unexplained change to shells.com as our sponsor: web-7.0/pull/489, followed by a resignation: web-7.0/pull/493