Please Cc replies, I do not currently subscribe to -project because I'm up to my eyeballs in RL issues right now. On Tue, Aug 20, 2002 at 09:51:09PM +0200, Martin Schulze wrote: [..] > Where should Debian People IRC? Since about 1996, the Debian project > used IRC servers of Open Projects Network for real-time communication. > Josip Rodin points out that the founder of this network has > started soliciting donations for the use of the network, in a highly > questionable way. OFTC (Open and Free Technology Community) was > suggested as an alternative network, which is an affiliated > project of Software in the Public Interest that supports Debian > already. Rob Levin tried to explain why spamming users with > requests to donate is done. [..] After reading the short-lived DebianPlanet coverage of this issue, and the Slashdot coverage of the DebianPlanet coverage, I sent a message to Josip about this issue. He asked me to repeat my comments here since I feel strongly about them, so I will. First let me say that I have become more or less a stranger to #debian and #debian-devel. The channels haven't felt like the places I used to hang out in for some time now and I'm not sure why exactly. This renders me unqualified to make a conclusive statement about what Debian should do with its IRC channels. But I do have concerns regarding OPN and its future, and I feel that others may not understand or appreciate the problems I see. My primary issue with OPN is technical: dancer-ircd breaks compatibility with other clients. Send a complex mode string to the server using the new mode chars and, unless you're using specifically Debian's package of the bitchx client, your client will become confused about the state of the server. Andrew Suffield was approached about this when the switch to dancer-ircd took place. He was openly hostile, telling me that if my client was not compatible with his server, it was my problem, not his. I'm not the only person who has raised this issue with him, and I'm told that others got an even nastier response. I cite Andrew's own statement on this list: "My personal interest in OPN is as a platform to drag IRC-like communication out of the dark ages it has been mired in for the last 10 years or so. (It's not the only place this could be done, but many networks are not interested in such changes). Jeremy Nelson, the author of the EPIC irc client, is not surprised. He believes OPN is no longer a RFC 1459 compliant IRC server, which the above statements seem to indicate is intentional. However, Jeremy notes, the 005 numeric extension was created as a method for servers to tell clients when they had changed standard behavior and how. OPN does not provide this numeric on connection, and attempts at a patch all involve special case hacks to detect OPN and compensate for its "uniqueness". Jeremy will not apply a special case hack for a single network, especially not given that there exist standards for these things. Andrew has been asked by several #epic regulars who use OPN to implement these standards. Again, he has been uncooperative. Regardless of the political issues of lilo's fundraising campaign, I have moved all of the channels I run to other servers long before now because of these issues and the lack of testing before the network-wide rollout of the dancer server, which led to network-wide outages while Andrew and others tried to figure out why the servers kept crashing. I still connect to OPN for #SDL and #icculus.org, but there has been talk of moving these channels to another server and I've offered my advice in both cases: Yes, move the channel! The apparent lack of concern for network stability and backward compatibility are reason enough to warrant a move even without questionable fundraising practices. As to the fundraising, it's lilo's network and he can do what he likes with it. And it _is_ his network too - he is solely in charge of it and has final say over what does and does not happen on it. This has worked well enough in the past, so I'm not out to depose him or anything. I do not think he should be soliciting donations actively on the server as he has been, but it's his call whether to do so, just as it is Debian's call to decide if we as a project have enough of a problem with it to move Debian's IRC channels to a new network. I do question what he needs $25,000 in six months for. Propaganda from sites like http://www.lilofree.net/ would have me believe this money is largely to pay him to IRC. Well hell, if that position earns $50k a year, sign me up! Adminning an IRC network isn't all that hard, especially if you delgate power to other intelligent users to manage the abusive users on the network. On lilo's own site, reference is made to previous donations going to pay his bills, so perhaps there is something to the accusations made by these lilo "fansites". I do know that OPN servers and bandwidth are all donated, so I have a hard time imagining how this money would be going to benefit the IRC users in question. I have not seen any clear statement of how exactly these donations will be used, other than that it has been confirmed that there will be provision to pay lilo at least part time for adminning the OPN network. What else is to be done with it is unclear. If that is the only concrete use of the donation money to date, then I believe asking for donations twice a day is certainly bad form. Please keep in mind, I have been around since before there was OPN. I remember LISC, the #linpeople network. I remember when the main servers were root, tolkien, and jordan. The channels were small, but friendly, even to clueless newbies. I've started using OFTC in the past few days, and it feels a lot more like LISC than OPN does today. It's not surprising since I recognise so many people from those days long past. I can currently be found idling on #Python (which has a gateway bot to OPN and just about every other IRC network on the planet) and #oftc. I'm watching the network carefully. I wish it the best of luck, given that I know so many of the people running it, but it is not without its own little compatibility problems. So far, OFTC staff are aware of these (comparitively minor) issues and are working to fix them. I had not heard of OFTC when I moved my channels off of OPN (and I am not sure it existed then either) but if I were to move them again today, that is probably where they would be moved to. #debian could do far worse than to find its way to OFTC; it could stay where it is now in spite of technical issues and questionable fundraising practices. That doesn't mean the Debian channels should move today or else either. Moving an IRC channel is not a thing to do casually or lightly. At this point, I don't have much faith in OPN and do believe a move is quite justified, be it to OFTC or elsewhere. Personally I think I'd give the OFTC guys a week or so to work out the minor buglets in their servers for now. They're not showstoppers, but people would be annoyed by them and they should get fixed before Debian starts telling people that this is where they should go for support. Again, please Cc any replies or comments, I am not on -project now and will likely not be reading the list again until sometime after the first week of September. -- Joseph Carter <firstname.lastname@example.org> Have chainsaw will travel <Wordplay> You measure your vibrators in "characters per second"? I have bad news for you, c90, you've been masturbating with a dot-matrix printer.
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