#371 Freenode hostile takeover and what to do
Closed: duplicate 4 months ago by mattdm. Opened 4 months ago by ngompa.

It was confirmed today that Freenode has been subject to successful hostile takeover and most of the Freenode staff have left in response. The new network they've spun up is called Libera.Chat.

We're already in the middle of a transition to Matrix, but we've also generally sold it with the expectation that IRC side folks aren't getting left behind. This adds a huge complication to the whole thing, because now we have to figure out what to do about IRC stuff.

What should we do here?


Metadata Update from @ngompa:
- Issue private status set to: False (was: True)

4 months ago

For those interested, I've filed a similar ticket with the openSUSE Board: https://code.opensuse.org/board/tickets/issue/4

My inclination is that we should move. The staff that went to Libera are good folks who I've worked with for years and they're holding the #fedora namespace for us already. Unless there is a technical reason (e.g. Matrix compat) that we should not go to Libera, I think that's the right call.

Can we work with them and EMS to port things over so that we can maintain the bridging?

Yes, you will be able to do so. But please understand that libera staff are swamped beyond imagining at the moment so it will not be an immediate thing. Anything that was possible on freenode should be possible, both from a policy and an operational standpoint, on libera.

There are also going to be some growing pains at first as is evidenced by the currently unstable state of the network. I fully expect these issues to be resolved soon but patience is key.

I agree 100% with solidarity with the staff folks who have supported us for years.

I've contacted Element about the bridge aspect.

@nb, @kevin -- thoughts here? Are there others from Fedora's IRC community we should bring in?

See also https://discussion.fedoraproject.org/t/matrix-server-channel-setup/29844/14?u=mattdm — I think this gives us a chance to clean things up a little bit and not port over channels which aren't active.

I trust the Libera staff as I've trusted them as Freenode staff, I feel that moving to libera makes sense. I think we'll have to maintain and redirect users for some time but that would be true in any scenario.

FWIW, the "Group Contact" paperwork transferred over, so I am again the Fedora GC on Libera. This means I can set ownership on channels in the namespace (#fedora*, #epel) and request cloaks.

@spot does that apply to @kevin and I as well?

I think libera.chat would be a good choice for moving our IRC channels to.

the freenode staff has been good to us i say go with them

I guess I should be setting up there too. Looks like CentOS pulled the trigger today: https://lists.centos.org/pipermail/centos-devel/2021-May/076920.html

Yeah, FWIW, I am also at least now in favor of libera.chat. I don't know how we want to handle any transition, will need some thought and planning and clear communications to our community.

I've gone ahead and registered my nicks on Libera.Chat and am now awaiting my designated cloak :wink:

@kevin We can certainly set up topics, fedbot announcements, and stick around on Freenode for a while to redirect users. Wiki updates, announcements, etc. I'm sure there's more.

There's SO much documentation to update too :(

This is also a good time to start swapping references for IRC to Matrix as primary chat, so it won't be all bad, but yeah, this sucks. :weary:

Hopefully this will grease the wheels and get the Fedora Matrix Homeserver to happen sooner.
We can make that happen eventually right?

There's SO much documentation to update too :(

Of course, on the wiki all we need to do is update https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Template:Fpchat . I'm sure everyone was using that like they should have been, right? And our oh-so-much-better new documentation system has an equivalent, right? :P

Hopefully this will grease the wheels and get the Fedora Matrix Homeserver to happen sooner.
We can make that happen eventually right?

That's moving as fast as it possibly can already. Shouldn't be much longer.

Of course, on the wiki all we need to do is update https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Template:Fpchat . I'm sure everyone was using that like they should have been, right? And our oh-so-much-better new documentation system has an equivalent, right? :P

It has a similar facility (https://docs.antora.org/antora/2.3/page/partials-and-content-snippets/) but of course suffers from the same problem as the wiki: features which you don't use don't do anything.

So if matrix is subject to a hostile takeover, will Fedora be able to swiftly move to a different network like we are doing on IRC?

Matrix is decentralized. Anyone can run their own homeserver.

So if matrix is subject to a hostile takeover, will Fedora be able to swiftly move to a different network like we are doing on IRC?

We also own our homeserver. So there's that protection. But the Matrix protocol is designed to be resilient to this by making it so channels can be trivially rehomed because all connecting servers synchronize all data and store it.

So if matrix is subject to a hostile takeover, will Fedora be able to swiftly move to a different network like we are doing on IRC?

We also own our homeserver. So there's that.

The SaaS hosting has gone through some serious extreme validation with RH finance and legal around exactly these kind of concerns. But we do have the ability to run our own if need be, or move to other hosting. The key to the freenode situation is domain name ownership, and we (through Red Hat) own the fedoraproject.org and fedora.im domains.

I'd like to note a few things for folks following this ticket:
Yes, we currently are setting up channels on libera.chat. There's no need to worry or for specific channel maintainers to ask about their channel or do anything (yet)
(If we end up moving there we will be ready, if not we will just have wasted some setup time :)
Yes, cloaks will be available on libera.chat, but things are very busy right now and thats not a priority, so please hold questions about cloaks for now.
If you want to register on libera.chat, do make sure to use a different password from freenode, connect via an ssl port and group any nicks you want under your account.
For other questions, pop by #fedora-admin (in either network) and we will answer as we can. Please don't PM people, keep it in channel so everyone can answer you/discuss. :)

I think it's a good time to drop legacy IRC and start switching to the Matrix natively without any bridges.

Now we have at least two full-featured native Matrix clients in Fedora repositories: nheko and neochat.

@xvitaly what about no? Lot's of people do not use Matrix, and IRC is more than just Fedora, the reason to be on IRC is that drive by comments or questions can be asked by uses of other channels without friction.

Lot's of people do not use Matrix, and IRC is more than just Fedora, the reason to be on IRC is that drive by comments or questions can be asked by uses of other channels without friction.

When Fedora will use its own homeserver, users can join rooms with their FAS accounts. No separate registration needed.

You even don't need to install any clients. You can use hosted Element in any web browser.

Let's not argue about Matrix vs IRC here, please.

Hopefully this will grease the wheels and get the Fedora Matrix Homeserver to happen sooner.
We can make that happen eventually right?

That's moving as fast as it possibly can already. Shouldn't be much longer.

It can always move faster with more hampsters. ;)

It can always move faster with more hampsters. ;)

If one hampster can dig a post-hole in an hour... :)

Can I get a cloak protection on LiberaChat for my xvitaly nickname?

Can I get a cloak protection on LiberaChat for my xvitaly nickname?

As I understand it, that's coming but the staff are overwhelmed. We can't do that in this ticket, for sure.

I know I am partly to blame here because I couldn't resist joking about hamsters, but... let's keep this ticket to things about what Fedora can do. General discussion can go at https://discussion.fedoraproject.org/c/friends/off-topic-tech/58

And actually, Pagure tickets get unwieldy with even the number of comments we have already. Let's move conversation to https://discussion.fedoraproject.org/t/discussion-thread-for-future-of-fedora-irc/29953 -- I'm going to close this now and open a new specific ticket for a proposal for the council (https://pagure.io/Fedora-Council/tickets/issue/372).

Metadata Update from @mattdm:
- Issue close_status updated to: duplicate
- Issue status updated to: Closed (was: Open)

4 months ago

And actually, Pagure tickets get unwieldy with even the number of comments we have already. Let's move conversation to https://discussion.fedoraproject.org/t/discussion-thread-for-future-of-fedora-irc/29953 -- I'm going to close this now and open a new specific ticket for a proposal for the council (https://pagure.io/Fedora-Council/tickets/issue/372).

Discussions on Discourse are not better with lots of comments....

Discussions on Discourse are not better with lots of comments....

Arguably no discussion system is, with the possible exception of Usenet from the good old days. I'm not knocking Pagure, this just isn't its focus. But this too is something we can discuss elsewhere. :)

I've pondered proposing setting up a public-inbox instance for fedora... but still pondering on how it could fit in with discourse and mailman3.

FWIW, the "Group Contact" paperwork transferred over, so I am again the Fedora GC on Libera. This means I can set ownership on channels in the namespace (#fedora*, #epel) and request cloaks.

@spot could you add me to the "authorized people" group? I wanted to register #fedora-pl (I'm its founder on Freenode), but Chanserv said:

-ChanServ- The #fedora namespace is registered to the fedora project, so only authorized contacts may register new channels.

I don't mind adding @rathann and a few more people, but I like keeping the group who can create #fedora namespace somewhat small so we can make sure everything is bridged to matrix and etc.

@mattdm I think we should keep it fairly small. I am more than happy to register channels for people and already have been doing so. I think leave it as us three for now. @kevin @spot and I.

Looks like @spot already took care of #fedora-pl

@mattdm more info: there is no way to add people to be able to register without making them an admin of all Fedora IRC.

That sounds good to me. Let's just make sure it's a documented process.

FWIW: they also took over two of my channels (medium sized) recently: #samba and #freeipa, I killed the #sssd channel there today and expect they'll take that one over as well.
No communication whatsoever of course, even though they have contacts.

I think Matthew Garret is right with this observation: https://twitter.com/mjg59/status/1397494286313168901

Oh no a sudden realisation: Freenode's leadership thinks that people are Freenode users and the purpose of channels should be to serve Freenode users, rather than people wanting to be where the project devs are and choosing IRC networks based on that

And a comment this morning in the Freenode #fedora-council channel from a user Rorschach fits that view:

You can move the official channel, start updating docs to reflect it, but shutting down communication channels for the community is a no-go. Freenode Staff have made a commitment to keep a place on this network for the folks caught between chanops and drama between Freenode's ownership and FUD from former staff.

This is unfortunate, because there is obviously great potential for confusion, as there is a lot of documentation, website references, and just plain historical knowledge that will take a long time to update or may never get updated at all. Ideally, we can have our existing Freenode channels pointing to the new IRC network and to our upcoming Matrix instance. Failing that, though, if those channels are to exist as unofficial community channels, they will need to make that clear and follow all of the rules at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal:Trademark_guidelines#Community_sites_and_accounts.

They'll own a pretty ghost town.
Freenode "staff" is wrong of course, because the channel were available also for communication, they were just redirecting elsewhere in the topic, until they started taking over. Then what I, and many owners did, was go with the nuclear option of turning the channels invite only, and kicking all users (They know where to go), so that there'd be a clear signal.
Of course they are taken over and "reopened", but we did what we could.

I think we're going to have to intentionally not close our channels on Freenode then, because otherwise it will get pretty bad.

You definitely need to be careful, however keeping them open in such an environment puts users at risk of being bullied or mistreated without recourse. Choose your poison?

Oh yeah, this is supposed to be closed. Not following my own advice. Please redirect discussion to https://discussion.fedoraproject.org/t/discussion-thread-for-future-of-fedora-irc/29953

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