Bonum Certa Men Certa

A Libera.Chat Anniversary and Happy Birthday (Maybe the Last) to 'Leenode'

Video download link | md5sum 4361ab9745e44a014f5da4db97a203f3 One Year of Leenode Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: What became known as the so-called 'Leenode' is a cautionary tale, but maybe it is also a blessing in disguise because IRC as a whole seem to have become a lot more decentralised (as everything should be)

Joseon/Chosŏn/Freenode (or "Leenode" as some people jokingly call it because of Andrew Lee [1, 2, 3]) was little more than a relic by the end of last summer with few active channels left because of Libera.Chat and the exodus of long-serving Freenode staff. In the latest twist (there have been several, including the network reopening to unregistered users several months ago) Gustaf Erikson's blog explains that "unmaintained project channels on Freenode automatically redirect to #freenode [as I noticed the same day]" and the night beforehand I saw that Freenode is down to 9 servers (ours is 1, but we're not an IRC giant). It was almost 50 servers the same month but one year before. From up to 100,000 simultaneous (online) users it's down to 10,000 and the vast majority are inactive/idle/bots.

"...IRC as a protocol is alive and well. Last year we demonstrated that the number of networks had grown."So what's the impact on the channel #freenode? With people being 'funneled' into it there seems to be only more confusion. Just over 24 hours' logs (the past day) are quite telling. There are some mentions of Libera.Chat, the so-called 'anniversaries', many confused people, and lots of ins and outs (JOIN/QUIT). This was and probably still is the most active channel there and it's in a state of disarray, just like the Freenode Web site, having attempted to reinvent itself (and recycle the brand) as a Reddit clone.

Freenode did not really survive the past year, except in purely technical terms. There are still servers there, the network is still accessible, but not much happens there. On the other hand, IRC as a protocol is alive and well. Last year we demonstrated that the number of networks had grown. Here are 500 active IRC network of significant size. We need to further decentralise IRC; throwing everything under Libera.Chat would lead to the same sort of disaster (or tragedy) Freenode became. With censorship being dictated centrally, the same fangers inherent in social control media get inherited.

Here are five articles published here last year about the importance of decentralising things (the last one is from late 2020):

  1. Self-Hosting Where Feasible, Decentralised (P2P) Where Practical, World Wide Web for the Rest
  2. The Decentralised Web/Internet is Constantly Under Attack and We Must Talk About That
  3. Gemini Over IPFS (Decentralised Web, Accessed Over Gemini Protocol)
  4. The Internet Was Made to be Decentralised and We Need to Re-decentralise It
  5. Regaining Control Over Infrastructure With Decentralisation and Trusted Encryption

We also published a number of articles specific to our efforts/attempts at decentralising IRC.

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