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#debian & IRC Politics 274

eyez writes "Apparently, the recent decision of OPN(now freenode) to ask for donations has ruffled the feathers of a few debian people. This article on DebianPlanet talks about the current discussion on the debian mailing lists which talks about the possibility of moving #debian (and #debian*) off of OPN altogether."
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#debian & IRC Politics

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  • by crazney ( 194622 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @07:53PM (#4090532) Homepage Journal
    Just incase you haven't been listening. The reason for the plee for donations is to go into the pocket of the IRCops - mainly 1: Lilo.
    (no, not to maintain the servers, bandwidth, etc etc).

    Why? Because he doesnt have a job and is finding it hard to survive.
    The reason he claims is because he spends so much time admining OPN..

    Has he thought of maybe offloading some of the work to someone else? Probably, but then he'd have to get a job.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 17, 2002 @07:57PM (#4090545)
    Should Debian users avoid visiting sites that use banners just because it's not free? ( Free, as in woohoo, I'm as cheap as it gets ).
    Come on. There's nothing wrong about donations. It's just another way YOU could help software and services get BETTER. You don't have to, but it would be nice if you did.
    Said that, I don't see any reason to donate to OPN.
  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @08:01PM (#4090557) Homepage Journal
    I got a very good deal that I negotiated as something extra special and I get 320Gbit of transfer for USD$200/mo. The reason I went to a colo was that putting up a box at work did not seem ethical or practical (what if I get fired, quit, move, etc).

    Someone has to pay for OPN's bandwidth, machines, whatever. I'm sorry, but the internet isn't free like some people assume it is, even your ISP has to pay for the bits when going to backbones. (It might not be per-bit it might be an uncapped monthly rate, but if you divide out how much you xfer in a month typically and what you're paying you'd find that bits are not cheap).

    People should quit thier crying because everything isn't free like beer.
  • Lilo needs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 17, 2002 @08:01PM (#4090560)
    ...to get a job.


    He's been pulling this kind of crap repeatedly on OPN, and despite massive backlash in the face of his blatant give-me-money spam, he shows no signs of letting up any time soon.

    I corresponded via dcc chat with him myself, (I am a former disgruntled IRCop from way back on that network) and he has personally told me 90% of the money donated goes toward his mortgage and food purchases. He seems to think of this as a way to support himself without having to resort to a real job but still maintaining the "free" and "open" implication of his irc network.
  • by audiophilia ( 516688 ) <tom@icc[ ]rg ['y.o' in gap]> on Saturday August 17, 2002 @08:03PM (#4090564) Homepage
    There's nothing wrong about donations. It's just another way YOU could help software and services get BETTER. You don't have to, but it would be nice if you did. Said that, I don't see any reason to donate to OPN.

    The reason to not donate to OPN is that your donation doesn't go towards running the network. Your donation goes into the pockets of the admins. I think it's a widespread misconception that these donations are going towards bandwidth and hardware. They're not. The bandwidth and hardware are still donated. Your donation pays for Lilo's rent.

  • by trelaneopn ( 563678 ) <trelane@magenet.com> on Saturday August 17, 2002 @08:05PM (#4090567) Homepage Journal
    About 2 months ago I was on OPN staff, about two months ago, I cared. I started WOPN, and frankly without me, OPN (or free whatever it is) would still be just an irc network without me. It is my impression you'll shortly see advertisements (or at least friendly plugs (which I have seen other dj's do)). I quit both the semi-official staff position I had (of course lilo gives noone real power) and left the radio station. After an argument with one of the more dense opers on the network, I created my own server and the xiph foundation and I moved to another network. The opn at the end of this name is a relic and this name will NEVER be used again to post.

    At the risk of being accused of having an "anger management issue" or being a "Troll" I say this. Anyone who stays on opn needs to conduct a serious reality check. THIS IS NOT FREEDOM ANYMORE. THIS IS A FORCED OPPRESSION. MOVE!

    Andrew D Kirch
    Trelane (all references on the advogato link below will be shortly stripped of any reference to any work done on opn, but will be kept as a historic reference to prove the above claims.)
  • by eyez ( 119632 ) <<eyez> <at> <babblica.net>> on Saturday August 17, 2002 @08:16PM (#4090609) Homepage
    What really bothers me is WHY they're taking donations for this, and for this much ($25k in 6 months!)... To explain, here's a breakdown of the major costs of IRC networks:

    1) Colocation and bandwidth

    .. Well, that's it really. So how does this affect OPN (I don't think 'freenode' is a fitting name for an irc network that solicits donations)? It doesn't. OPN's servers are donated. When you sponsor a server for OPN, you let them run the ircd on your server and use the bandwidth required. You do NOT get an O:line with that. (For those that don't know, the O:line is Oper privileges; it's how you administer an irc server. OPN is the only network I've ever heard of that doesn't let you have an O: on your own machine.)

    OPN is a relatively small network, with only 7000 or so clients connected at once. The Major IRC networks, such as quakenet, ircnet, undernet, efnet, etc, do NOT solicit or accept donations, and they have 80,000-100,000+ clients at once.

    IRC is also a very low-traffic service. A two-server network on t1+ lines could EASILY handle the entire load of opn users.

    So, why does OPN/freenet need the donations? I don't know. The numbers just don't add up to me. The servers are all donated, so they pay no network/bandwidth costs. And 7000 users isn't that much to admin over. (Talking to a quakenet admin earlier today, he mentioned somewhere around 90k users on in over 9000 channels), And it's certainly not something that should warrant full-time effort.

    There are plenty of alternatives to OPN out there; there's the new oftc, and there's quite a few smaller ones, like irc.gimp.org, etc. Almost all IRC networks offer free nick/channel registration (certainly all that I can think of), so there's not really that much that OPN does that other networks can't do for your opensource project.

    And I can't think of a SINGLE irc network out there that solicits or accepts donations, besides the one with 'free' in it's new name. Most IRC networks are adminned by volunteers who keep the servers up because they like IRC and are dedicated to helping the network.

    You could argue that having a lot of projects having channels on the same network is helpful, but that seems really moot to me. I can't think of a single modern irc client that doesn't offer multi-server support, and for most clients it's well-documented and trivial to set up.

    I don't like to pass judgement, but It really seems to me like all the flames about lilo only doing this to get out of having to have a real job at least have some SOME truth to them. I just can't think of any other explanation as to why they'd need that much money.

  • by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @08:50PM (#4090715) Homepage Journal
    I have no particular axe to grind... I've never spoken to lilo and I haven't been on OPN in a fairly long time (I do want to make this clear because it seems like people are taking this one personally). My question is simply this: shouldn't it be up to the person providing the service to decide whether or not to charge for it? He could have chosen methods less likely to inflame users of his service, to be sure, but I don't think that it's a particularly bad goal to become self-sufficient within the community. I don't know when the shift between Free and free occurred, but I'm a bit uncomfortable with the idea that we should start dictating terms by which people must contribute to the rest of us.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 17, 2002 @09:04PM (#4090751)
    The Perl Foundation does about the exact same thing and no one really bitches are around here. I remember Slashdot article not too long ago about how that fund is running low on money. People were whining here about helping to keep that fund going.

    Blender is somewhat similar. I imagine this 100,000 Euros that is needed is going to the pockets of the old board of directors of NaN.
    Would it be any better if Rob Levin asked for $100,000 American and said he wanted no more?

    Slashdot went the same way a few months ago and people bitched. But they soon stopped caring because they wanted Slashdot more than carying on some stupid crusade about how Slashdot should remain free. I imagine this stupid Debian people that are threatening to leave read Slashdot. Do I donate money to Debian? Nope. I won't donate money to them EVER. They should be perfectly content with this too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 17, 2002 @09:19PM (#4090799)
    He's free to do what he wants, his users/server-providers/etc are free to give him their collective middle finger ... and we are free to sit at the sidelines making smart ass comments about it.

    Aint freedom grand? Anyway, its a done deal now ... put a fork in OPN, its done.

    That said, it would be nice if people who provide a valuable service to the open source community could manage to live on community contributions ... the problem is that there are too many people willing to do the same thing for free :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 17, 2002 @11:45PM (#4091227)
    because I am betting that, "hehehe" giggle, snort... I am betting that the real funny part of this is _not_ that they are getting angry at the aspect of asking for donations. No, the really funny part is that people that get angry at this are ironically the same sort that have no problem _FORCING_ 'donations' from others, i.e. socialist programs, taxes, etc.

    So... someone asking for donations is evil, but requiring payment is bad (as in Stallman raising his hypocritical fist in the air and ranting, "NOT FREE... ALL SOFTWARE _MUST_ BE FREE". Yet if we follow that line of logic, then would it not be even worse to REQUIRE anyone to pay for anything, especially something that they are against and is not required for their safety and security? Hmmmmm... maybe its like the old Atari games that you could 'flip' if you made the score high enough.

    Just to prove once again, that speaking, wearing clothes, quoting rhetoric, memorizing things, and doing stuff like coding does NOT make one intelligent.

    Keep on coding monkeys! Make sure and throw your poop against the wall when you are angry.

  • by sfraggle ( 212671 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @12:51AM (#4091456)
    > The Perl Foundation does about the exact same thing and no one really bitches are around here.

    There really isnt any comparison here. The perl
    people are working on something [b]worthwhile[/b]. Thousands of people around the world depend on perl to get their job done. Freenode(OPN) is nowhere near as important and certainly not unique: there are hundreds of IRC networks around the globe providing exactly the same services, including OFTC [oftc.net] which provides an excellent alternative. He doesnt pay the server hosting bills. He doesnt even work on the IRC server code - at least Rusty from kuro5hin contributes in his work on Scoop. Lilo literally wants to be paid to sit on IRC all day.
  • by jsse ( 254124 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:02AM (#4091491) Homepage Journal
    depends on their ops. When ops act childishly and crazily people will leave. The ops in OPN have this tendency.

    The fund rasing is just a trigger for them to leave. I don't disagree lilo to raise fund, honestly, but he should at least spend some time to justify the ops' behavior.

    So I left OPN. It has nothing to do with fund rasing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:03AM (#4091497)
    I wish people would be a little more tolerant. It costs quite a bit to operate OPN and asking for donations to help pay for it is IMHO long overdue.

    The messages asking for donations are sent via WALLOPS, which can be turned off, and via the nick FUNDRASING which you may ignore. It's not as if they are sending everyone on the network a forced message that can not be ignored in any way.

    It is sad to see people get so riled up over something so small. If you don't wish to donate, dont, it really is that easy. OPN/Freenode has provided a service to the community for a long time. They deserve the support of those who would wish to support them, and getting the message out there is the only way. Many many many people who are OPN/Freenode regulars rarely to never visit the website, and other avenues to inform people that help is being requested are pretty slim.

    I'd bet the farm that if Debian ever came up seriously short in some way, and the very existance of the Debian project were threatened, and the good folks at OPN/Freenode were asked to lend a hand by announcing the need for donations they wouldn't miss a heartbeat in making it so. We should all do everything we can to help each other, otherwise we all won't be here at all. If you say that Debian would never do that, I reply; I sure hope to hell they would. What, not and loose Debian? I don't think so. Hard times call for 'measures that work'. Too many people rely on Debian everyday, myself included. You say that would never happen, I reply; don't be too sure. Stranger things have happened. And when/if it does, I'll be there to help, just like I'll be here to help right now, when right now one of OUR services is in trouble, right now.

    Work together, be patient, be tolerant, be reasonable. That's what we all ask of each other already.

    *sigh* I'll miss #debian. Already missing those who have left.

    As a long time fan of OPN and Debian, that is my 1.5c.
  • by Emmettfish ( 573105 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:14AM (#4091533) Homepage
    I agree with you wholeheartedly here, speaking as someone who has felt that the current goings-on at OPN/Freenode (actually, the goings-on between the last goings-on and the current goings-on) was enough to justify moving our project off of OPN/Freenode.

    While it's certainly true that Open Source projects benefit from autocratic 'benevolent despots,' the simple fact is that while Robert has preached his 'philosophy' in one hand, but his actions have proven to be quite the other. If you agree with him, you're an asset to the network, but if you don't agree with him, you're told that you have 'anger-management issues' and that you're 'trolling.'

    OPN/Freenode is his network, and his to do what he wishes. One part of the equation that seems to escape the current administration is that without those Open Projects hanging out on that network, that network is useless. Say what you want about projects 'using' OPN/Freenode; When people come to look for our projects online, they often go to OPN. In other words, it's our work, it's our projects, that bring people to OPN/Freenode.

    We work like hell to raise money for our projects, and our code has proven quite useful to a lot of people. I suspect that our code is a lot more valuable to our userbase than the administration of OPN/Freenode. Should OPN/Freenode be free to solicit for money? Absolutely. But should people who come to that network to specifically to find us be subjected to that panhandling? I don't think so, and that's a large part of why we moved. It's hard enough keeping interest and support (two of Open Source's most valuable resources) in a project, and if we can do anything to clear anything that might clutter that, we have a responsibility to do just that.

    As far as going to OFTC or SlashNet; They're both great networks run by really good people, and I would recommend both to anyone looking to find people to work on their Open Source projects. We felt it would be a good opportunity to 'strike out on our own' and try our own thing; If anyone's got a problem with our IRC server, we need look no further than ourselves, and so far, we've had very few problems. It's just one server, we're not out to start a 'network,' we just want to do our own thing, and treat our volunteers with care and respect.

    The torch of 'IRC for Open Source projects' has been firmly passed to SlashNet and OFTC, and I think that's excellent. Best of luck to them in the future, and I'll continue to recommend them to people starting/running Open Source projects. If you're interested in talking about Ogg Vorbis or other Xiph projects, come visit us on irc.xiph.org! We'd love to hear from you.

    Emmett Plant
    CEO, Xiph.org Foundation [xiph.org]

  • by Xerithane ( 13482 ) <xerithane@nerd[ ]m.org ['far' in gap]> on Sunday August 18, 2002 @03:30AM (#4091802) Homepage Journal
    Damn straight.

    The reason why lilo lost his job is because he would only pay attention to OPN instead of what he got paid for.

    The guy has a wife and kids, if I was his father-in-law, I'd break his kneecaps. He needs to pull his head out of his ass and figure out that this doesn't work. He's been begging for donations for a very long time.

    He's nothing more than a panhandling bum, except he does it from a computer.
  • by Ryan Amos ( 16972 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @04:19AM (#4091898)
    Running an irc network is not a full time job, nor should it be. I help run (notice help, nobody runs the entire thing) a smallish IRC network, EsperNET [esper.net] and all of the admins have full-time jobs.

    I'm not familiar with OPN, but it seems to me that this Lilo guy is just looking for a way to freeload. I was an oper on Dalnet when it was around 75,000 users, and it wasn't nearly a full-time job. There's simply not that much stuff to do. Admining a server is pretty much a hands-off task, you make sure the software stays up, has the correct conf files, and deal with problem users. After that, well, there's nothing do to.

    Running an IRC server is not that special. There are enough free IRC servers out there that soliciting donations is just stupid. OPN isn't special. There are a number of smaller IRC nets that are very friendly to open source (ours being one of them; all the software we use, including our services, is open-source.) All I can say to this lilo guy is get a fucking job. The rest of us seem to be able to run IRC networks (some MUCH larger than OPN) just fine while holding down a full-time job. Why can't you?
  • by Dalroth ( 85450 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @08:44AM (#4092174) Homepage Journal
    From what I understand (I spoke with lilo about this maybe a month ago, so things may have changed), OPN/PDPC/Freenode is looking to become, as the name applies, sort of a hub that would encompass all other IRC networks that serve opensource projects. Think of it all as one big ass relay-bot, that would simplify IRC to the point where different networks are somewhat transparent. Freenode would still continue to run it's own IRC servers as part of this larger network, so you could either be on the Freenode IRC network, an independent IRC network (non-Freenode), or the larger "supernetwork".

    So what? We can do that now. We can do that with a staff of volunteers. And, in fact, I still have no idea what this buys us.

    Face it: The fact is Lilo wants to be paid to sit on his ass chatting on IRC all day. I'm sorry, but I would much rather send my money to USEFULL projects such as Debian or KDE . Why should I pay some jackass to sit on irc all day long when community volunteers have been able to keep other IRC networks up and running for over a decade now?

    Give me a break and somebody get him a REAL job.

  • by KainX ( 13349 ) <mej.eterm@org> on Sunday August 18, 2002 @11:20AM (#4092526) Homepage
    I, too, have been on all sides of the coin, from channel user, to channel admin, to network admin, to IRCop and Services admin/author.

    It really boils down to attitude. A good network admin must understand some key points:

    It's about the network, not the person. The most important thing is the good of the network and its users, not any one person. The good of the many outweighs the good of the few, so to speak. If one person gets in the way of the goal, that person must go.

    Channel matters are separate from network matters. This is vital for appropriate and prudent separation of power. The role of an IRCop or a server admin is to *serve*. Network authorities should be involved in channel matters only to the extent expressly requested by the leadership of that channel. Furthermore, network admins who are also channel leaders should restrict themselves to only using their channel-related powers when acting on behalf of the channel rather than the network.

    Service is key. The network exists to serve the users. To that end, intrustiveness into the lives of the users should be kept to an absolute minimum. Users on your network shouldn't even know you exist until they need you.

    Unfortunately, freenode has no such policies or guidelines for its admins.

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