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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 eyez ( 119632 ) <> on Saturday August 17, 2002 @07:53PM (#4090530) Homepage
    Debianplanet took that article down about an hour ago. I'm not sure why.
  • by ChrisJones ( 23624 ) <cmsj-slashdot AT tenshu DOT net> on Saturday August 17, 2002 @08:06PM (#4090572) Homepage Journal
    Let's remember here that points to OPN, or freenode, or freeload, or whatever it's called today, so newbie debian users are getting spammed asking for money to support a service that is widely available elsewhere - most IRC networks run just fine and have run just fine without solicited financial donations for years.
    Running an IRC network isn't *that* hard, it's definitely not a fulltime job, so just what is the thousands of dollars (assuming people donate that much) going to buy?
    It wouldn't be so bad if the money was going to be shared out between the people providing servers to offset their costs, but instead it's going to be supporting lilo so he doesn't have to get a job like all the other people who run IRC networks. I really don't understand it.
  • by ThatComputerGuy ( 123712 ) <> on Saturday August 17, 2002 @08:10PM (#4090595) Homepage
    I can't speak on the long-term, but I do know that recently OpenProjects has been aiming for a different goal than the current presence of just another IRC network, and for this lilo must remain at the top, at least until OPN is closer to this goal. This goal is the reason behind the name change to Peer Directed Projects Center/Freenode.

    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".

    Like I said, I only heard of this during the stage when it was being discussed privately.. A little may have changed, or a lot may have changed. My understanding of the concept may now be much different from what is actually being implemented. Anyone with corrections, feel free to chime in. And for the official word on Freenode (which I have not read lately), see [].
  • by dzym ( 544085 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @08:29PM (#4090654) Homepage Journal
    Bandwidth and hardware are paid for by thoughtful benefactors who have donated their resources to OPN generally without any recompense. No server sponsors are automatically given an O: line on OPN/freenode.

    This money would be going to lilo's personal business-class DSL line with RDNS capability.

    To wit, [] has ip [] which is owned by Robert Levin (lilo) from Southwestern Bell Internet Services [].

  • by suss ( 158993 ) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @10:20PM (#4091002)
    I think greycat's apt factoid says it all...

    lilo lart is -apt- [GlobalNotice] Hi all. I have a serious drug habit and I need to raise $12000 to pay off my loan shark, or his thugs are going to break my diodes. Please give me money so I can continue to spam you, and thanks.

    I put lilo's nick on ignore but he changed it to FUNDRAISING (yes, all caps). My ignore list is a bit longer now...
  • The status (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 17, 2002 @10:22PM (#4091009)
  • by trelaneopn ( 563678 ) <> on Saturday August 17, 2002 @10:41PM (#4091050) Homepage Journal
    I am not really on oftc in any official capacity, I am watching it, as my background in coming to openprojects is ircd's and irc networks, I am actually working on my own network which I hinted to in my first post. at risk of spamming, a crime any irc network administrator should be shot for, (I just feel safe that I'll see an shoot you before you can get me) I'm on, and my answer to WOPN will be forthcoming, bigger and better. someone remind me to delete this nick so I quit posting from it :)
  • by hacker ( 14635 ) <> on Sunday August 18, 2002 @12:18AM (#4091369)

    I caught lilo doing this a couple of years ago (and have full irc logs of the dozens of conversations over the years), and was summarily g-lined from the network (being on that network as long as I have, there are many ways into and out of there, seen and unseen, he knows this as well). He knows who I am, and I have no reason to hide my identity. Now I'm regretting moving the several channels I relocated a few years ago to OPN.

    I've been there when it was truly a free network, linpeople. It was then perverted into OpenProjects, and most-recently freenode. I notice that the motd over the years has changed from "This is a free network" (linpeople) to "This is a private network" (OPN, check your irc logs people, it's in there: "This is a private service, provided for and by private users and organizations. It is not a public forum."), to no mention of free or private (freenode). Was that an intentional omission? I believe so.

    OPN has always been a very locked-down, authoritative (read: non-free) network. It will continue to be such, as long as the "maintainer" of the network refuses to delegate control of it. I've suggested this to him personally over 2 years ago, to which he scoffed. Fine, micromanage it into the ground.

    The success of a project is measured if it survives its first maintainer. OPN will not, no matter how many times you rename it. It does not need "donations" to survive, even if Rob Levin needs money to survive. There are other ways to get money, Rob.. such as getting a paying job. Your ego prohibits you from doing so, as you and I have discussed before.

    I've been out of work for a long time, as have many of my friends and former colleagues, and you don't see me asking for handouts, and I *DO* run an open irc network, Open Source CVS services, project hosting, web development, mailing lists, development on my own Open Source projects, and many other things... all without a cent. Why? Because I believe in it. I pay for my own bandwidth, my own servers, my own time. I ask for nothing in return. My "pay" is knowing I'm doing something good for the community as a whole. If you feel you need something back, don't hand it out for free. That's not what Open Source is about.

    I would love to sit home all day and get paid to work on things I love, but unfortunately in the current economy, that's not reality.

    Regarding those "donations" (i.e. used to pay for your rent, groceries, et al), have you begun paying the developers who help keep your network running? What about those who are maintaining the ircd code that you run on the network (dancer). Have they been compensated? Without the software, you don't have a network. What about server administrators? What about backups? Are you compensating your leaf nodes? Likely not.

    This has been several years coming, and don't say I didn't warn you about it. You know I have see the demise long before now, and I've given you dozens of suggestions to avoid it. You refuse to listen, and you bear the burdon of those choices. I just hope that your head doesn't get so big that you and your ego can't fit outside the front door.

  • by lpontiac ( 173839 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @12:35AM (#4091414)

    OPN is trying to establish itself as a pillar of the free software community, but unfortunately it's can't be trusted as a stable organisation. Despite it's "open" moniker, OPN has never made any attempt at democracy. It's an autocracy under Rob Levin (lilo). Even the likes of server owners and all the other IRCops have no final say. My understanding is that Rob even refused to give any IRCops contact information for server owners. He likes control of the network centralised around him.

    Rob's priorities appear to be the following:

    1. Earning his family a crust
    2. Remaining in control of OPN
    3. Expanding the scope and userbase of OPN
    4. Catering to the needs and wants of it's userbase

    (1) is a fair priority for anyone to have, however in the case of OPN the lack of any balancing on Rob's power (eg a committee of IRCops with the power to veto decisions) make it dangerous, as we have seen. (2) is a danger to the network - Rob would rather see it split in half than step down. (3) should not take precedence over (4). I get the feeling that OPN could be an IRC network 100 times larger than it is right now, and it would still neglect what's wanted by the present userbase - not establishing nonprofits with the goal of evolving into some sort of free software monolith, but establishing a sane power structure with proper procedures for users to air grievances.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:31AM (#4091580)
    I see your point, but wouldn't that fragment the community? Why make it even MORE impossible to find each other? To have to track down many different irc servers/channels, or to just keep tabs on those that you need to visit on a somewhat regular basis.

    It seems to me that one irc network that can provide to the greater majority really is a benefit to the community, and that it's value to the community is far undervalued by many.

    Has Rob been entirely 'right' in how he is going about this? Probably not, humans rarely are. I think however that much of this has been blown out of proportion. Rob isn't asking for a full salary (part-time staffer). Did you know that the plan is not to continue asking for donations in this manner forever? There is a lot more to this than, lilo wants $$$ to "sit at home and watch tv all day".

    Bruce, it's fantastic that you show so much support for the community, and that you support the fight for our rights. It is sad to see you use that as a 'position' relating to this particular event. Your decisions on where your money goes, do not have any bearing on the value of donating to OPN/Freenode.
  • Use SILC (Score:3, Interesting)

    by juraj ( 262352 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @06:01AM (#4092012)
    Maybe it's time for moving away from IRC. There's a nice project and protocol called SILC [], which tries to prevent lots of problems of IRC (mainly the lack of enciphering and signing). It has also better network structure (you don't need 10 bots just to guard your channel from takeovers, since this is protected by cryptography).

    So the question should not be, to which IRC network we want to move, but where we want to move.

    Ah, for all you standard weenies, SILC has been submitted to IETF as a next-generation chatting protocol draft. Really check it out, this is the future of chatting (and it's free and open source).

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.