The idea of free, open, community-building chat for Open Source projects was, and is, a good one. I’m grateful to Freenode sponsors and Freenode volunteers over a great many years.
My Freenode Background
In 2018 Dave and I went to the Freenode#live conference, which was a cool celebration of all kinds of Open Source projects. I remember chatting with the Minetest folks and also the Private Internet Access table. The PIA configurations were quite convenient at various other conferences, too.
My Freenode account is younger than kid, but not by much:
[NickServ] Registered : Aug 29 22:00:09 2003 (17y 39w 1d ago)
I probably ended up on Freenode because of Lauri Watts, then KDE translations coordinator and FreeBSD-pusher. I don’t know whether I posted “contractions are now 10 minutes apart, I should sign off” (not my contractions, mind) in Freenode or EFNet, but kid was reported on IRC at a very tender age a bit more than a year later.
In that time I’ve been active in various KDE
communities – FreeBSD, then Solaris, then FreeBSD again – and
going on 4 years of
#calamares. Or is it 5? Time flies.
There’s a few Freenode volunteers I’ve met in real life and would
count among my friends.
And now I’m leaving Freenode because .. well, not because I directly
have had problems, not because the
#calamares channel has been taken over,
but because other people and channels have. That’s not right,
and I choose to trust people rather than shaky institutions.
Calamares, like many Free Software projects, has been using the Freenode network for many years for real-time communication, for idle chit-chat and for community-building. However, it’s time to update and modernize – and leave a platform that is no longer the kind of place the Calamares project wishes to inhabit.
For communications that can wait, like bug reports, issues, feature requests, the best place remains GitHub issues. This is where long-term discussions go, and where we can properly keep track of whether they are fixed or not.
For real time communication, chit-chat, discussing whether something is worth filing an issue for, notifications, and little things (typo’s, website stuff) there are two places, which are monitored with varying intensity by the Calamares team:
- Matrix via :kde.org (link is to Element on KDE.org)
- IRC on Libera.chat (link is to Kiwi IRC connecting to Libera.chat)
IRC is not persistent, so don’t ask-and-leave in the channel because you
will never get an answer. It does not require registration, though.
Matrix is persistent, but you will need to register somewhere on
the Matrix federation. A KDE account is ok (
@someone:kde.org), or a
global Matrix account is ok (
@someone:matrix.org) or any other home-server
will do as well.
Matrix is preferred. It has persistence, rich text, and better notifications.
This is where you can still find some remains, but it’s monitored less-actively:
- IRC on Freenode (link is to Kiwi IRC on Freenode)
Calamares Bots and Notifications
There is no bridge yet between Matrix and the Libera.chat channel. Once things settle down and the folks at Libera.chat have some time, I’ll poke them to set it up for Calamares as well.
Continuous Integration (that is, CI builds from git pushes as well as nightly builds) now sends messages to Matrix rather than IRC. I’ll write about setting that up (with GitHub actions) soon-ish.
One thing that Freenode teaches us is that institutions are imporant. Having good governance in place for a project and for a community is really important to keep it healthy in the long run.
The Libera.chat folk have – this time around – established a Swedish non-profit organization. That means that there’s a relatively clear and open and public means for decisions to be made, and that decisions that affect overall operations and responsibilities will happen in a .. let’s call it a more community-oriented fashion.
Good for them!
The KDE community established something back in 1997 for the same purposes: clear and transparent decision-making and ensuring that the community as a whole can retain control. There’s also the manifesto outlining the moral stance of the KDE community. With nearly 25 years of hindsight, I think we can say that that was a good step to have made.