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Re: irc.debian.org

Ho hum, time to dispell some FUD, for those who have better things to
do than play at IRC politics and aren't aware of the history.

In a change from all the other people who get up on their soapbox
without disclosing their political standpoint:

I've been maintaining the OPN server codebase for about a year now,
and have a peripheral involvement in the administration of the
network. I endeavour to stay out of political matters wherever
possible, although I do habitually shoot down people who make
silly/irrelevant arguments (about anything, not just the network).

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).

Personally, I don't much care about what irc.debian.org points to. I
don't use that DNS name for anything; if it changes, I'll still be on
the same #debian* channels on OPN that I've always been on.

On Fri, Aug 16, 2002 at 05:55:27PM +0200, Josip Rodin wrote:
> That sounds like OPN is turning into a business,
> not a free community network.

OPN (the network) != PDPC (the non-profit corporation) [and Josip is
fully aware of this, having been told numerous times when he's tried
to say this in the past].

Also, what exactly is wrong with businesses? [See below]

> There was disgruntlement within OPN with this and other things, and at least
> two small groups of people previously involved with OPN "forked" their own
> OPN-like networks in the recent history, lilofree.net and oftc.net. The
> first one is obviously spiteful and likely not worth looking at, but the
> other one is a much more interesting. The acronym stands for "Open and Free
> Technology Community", they've got a constitution, a neutral mission
> statement and have recently become a project that SPI sponsors, which means
> they're pretty serious.

As others have noted, Josip is involved with OFTC, so take this
opinion with all due scepticism.

Aside from the fact that OFTC are not currently sending fundraising
messages to their users, I can see no appreciable differences in their

[Side note: be wary of the OFTC web pages. There's plenty more
bullshit on them, read them with the scepticism that everything on the
web deserves.]

> I talked to some OPN people and to some OFTC people, exploring our options.
> An OPN source that wishes to remain anonymous ;) has told me that lilo would
> like to keep #debian (and #debian*), so if we showed that we really dislike
> the fundraising spam, they might stop sending it.

Insert standard rant about abuse of the word "spam". Observe that with
a single command at the start of every connection (I'm working on ways
to make it a one-shot command that persists for all connections by the
same user, but that will take time to implement), the relevant
messages are eliminated.

> We have successfully worked with OPN for years. Several Debian developers
> were also OPN admins, and several still are. I would hate to see us depart,
> but OPN definitely seems to be going into a different direction than
> we are.

This is just grandstanding. Many resources are provided to Debian by
commercial organisations - auric and klecker are hosted by visi.net
and VA (for now) respectively, and I don't see anybody complaining
that these companies do not share any objectives with Debian.

[The following paragraph discards all political bullshit and is based
purely on technical merits]

I will note here that OPN and OFTC are far from the only IRC networks
in the world. In my opinion, DalNet or WebChat would be better suited
to hosting Debian than OFTC; they have established complaints
procedures and have demonstrated in the past that they are capable of
running large networks in a reasonably stable manner. They are
maintained by people with years of experience in these matters;
WebChat runs the ConferenceRoom server (the only commercial ircd)
which, I'm not afraid to say, is hugely better than the current free

That said, OPN does not host *any* "official" Debian stuff. #debian is
run by the network itself; several other channels are run and
frequented by developers, but so what? The Debian project itself does
not run any channels there.

So, what should criteria should we have for such DNS names? Should we
reserve *.debian.org for official Debian services? Should we add
dozens of aliases for everybody that runs a Debian service? [How about
{planet,portal}.debian.org CNAME debianplanet.org?] Should we pick
some services based on technical or political merits? Should we pick
services based on the number of Debian members which can be found
there? [This may include your local pub. It's about as relevant to the
project as any other services.]

If we arbitrarily endorse individual projects, who is deciding which
ones? The constitution has this to say:

> 4. The Developers by way of General Resolution or election
> 4.1. Powers
> Together, the Developers may:
> 5.
> Issue nontechnical policy documents and statements.
> These include documents describing the goals of the project, its
> relationship with other free software entities, and nontechnical
> policies such as the free software licence terms that Debian software
> must meet.
> They may also include position statements about issues of the day.

The only procedure in the constitution under which such statements can
be made is to issue a GR. Also, I would strongly object to anybody
issuing position statements on behalf of the project without
quorum, and possibly majority (should we permit some 50 or so
developers to speak for the project as a whole?).

Note that I do not currently have the answers to any of these
questions. I object to any action until we have answered them.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ | Dept. of Computing,
 `. `'                          | Imperial College,
   `-             -><-          | London, UK

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