Freenode and OFTC IRC networks buddy up
Two Internet Relay Chat (IRC) networks that are used heavily by free and open source software projects, freenode and the Open and Free Technology Community (OFTC), are building bridges by swapping staff and observing each other’s operations. The rapprochement brings together two organizations that sprang from a single project, and may be a precursor for more intimate ties.
Both networks got their start with OpenProjects.net. Founded by Rob ‘lilo” Levin, OpenProjects.net was the precursor to the Peer-Directed Projects Center (PDPC) and freenode. (The OpenProjects.net domain is no longer affiliated with PDPC or freenode.) OFTC separated from OpenProjects.net, at least in part, due to philosophical differences about management and fundraising.
The split, which OFTC network operations committee chair David Graham calls “a very acrimonious and unpleasant separation,” started in 2001. Graham says that all of OFTC’s original staff members were former OpenProjects.net staffers.
OFTC formed a network specifically for free software and open source projects. “The two networks have evolved separately over the half-decade since, with very few staff remaining on either side from that split.”
Last year, Levin was hit by a car while riding a bicycle and died due to the injuries he sustained.
Christel Dahlskjaer, head of staff for freenode and a board member for PDPC, says that, since Levin’s death, freenode has moved to a “more inclusive approach, where both users and staff are involved in decisions and changes pertaining to the future direction of the network.” In addition, Dahlskjaer says that freenode is moving to a “more transparent system” that’s more in line with the community nature of freenode. She says Levin would be “very pleased and proud of what we have achieved with both freenode and its parent organization PDPC in the months since his passing.”
Freenode has grown by about 8,000 users since last October, according to Dahlskjaer. For reference, the Search IRC site pegs OFTC at an average of 3,751 users over the last week, while it estimates that freenode averaged about 33,300 users over the same period. Adding 8,000 users in just six months is substantial growth.
Dahlskjaer also says that the PDPC is “embraced more by the community” despite losing Levin as a fundraiser. “We are seeing a trend in donations from organizations such as the Wikimedia Foundation as well as individual donors, enabling us to focus on other projects such as arranging FOSSCON.”
Read more: Linux.com