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Re: irc.debian.org

On Sun, 18 Aug 2002 14:42:13 -0400
Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org> wrote:
>   We already have servers, and bandwidth, and it would seem to could
>   create a small, stable irc network that could handle our modest load
>   of ~700 concurrent clients. I don't know how well irc scales; could
>   a single server handle that load?

Yeah. You're talking about what we refer to as a 'leaf' node. ie: a
server that primarily handles end-user traffic.

Hubs are much less bandwidth-intensive than leaf nodes, because they
don't have to repeat a message once for each user that receives the
message (think channels). Leaf nodes will end up replicating a lot of
messages and sending them out, but it's pretty unavoidable at the

Anyhoo, a T1 could typically handle that many users without breaking a
sweat. Hardware-wise, something very modest (think P233 or so) could
handle it.

> Pro-network:
>   We can avoid the necessary work of keeping the network running and
>   maintained and dealing with the attacks and bad behavior that irc
>   engenders, as the network has people who do that.

Just like to point out that it'll be less likely for a small Debian IRC
server to be attacked than a large Deban channel on a heterogeneous
network. #debian is usually attacked because it's the biggest channel on
OPN - not because it's #debian.

On the other hand, a single Debian IRC server _would_ be in more trouble
than a network if it was attacked. I think the tradeoff would be worth
it, though, if the person sponsoring the hardware and bandwidth was able
to filter packets at their ISP.

> Anti-network:
>   As has been mentioned, we have debian developers who do that work on
>   OPN and other networks already. So we know how to do it and we have
>   people who could do it if they desired to do so.

Agreed. Myself and others have volunteered on numerous occasions.
>   A single server would be less of a target than an entire irc
>   network.
>   Compare with lists.debian.org, which we could after all farm out to
>   yahoo or something and put up with advertising, but we instead, and
>   quite rightly, host it ourselves, and deal with administration
>   ourselves.

I agree. One of the things people will say to this is "yeah, but mailing
lists are essential. Instant communication a la IRC is nice, but it'
hardly essential." I don't see how that's relevant, though.

> Pro-network:
>   Part of a larger community, cross-fertilization, etc.
> Anti-network:
>   What Wichert said, plus see all the politics that has been dragged
>   into this thread by people who seem to be part of some different,
>   conflicting communities in addition to their membership in the
>   debian community.
>   And quoting Bdale:
>   > Actually, what I observed was that of the various IRC channels
>   > that I spend time on personally, the ones that seem to be the
>   > least irritating and the most useful are the ones where a single,
>   > non-IRC-networked server is hosting the channel.

What Bdale witnesses, I think, is the lack of cross-fertilisation :) (I
mean, it can be a good thing ... and it can be a bad thing :)

> Pro-network:
>   Specifically pro OPN is that they really want to replace irc with
>   something better, and they really badly seems to need to be done.

I'd be careful about this; IRC is popular because it works. There are
lots of things that could use changing, but most of them are technical,
back-end issues. IRC _has_ been replaced, sort of, by ICQ and friends.

I think "fixing" would be better :)

> So I don't see much benefit to us in using a large network managed by
> someone else, unless politics and apathy keep us from hosting our own.
> I say all this as a long-time and mostly happy user of OPN, who has
> known lilo in RL and likes him and admires his stated goals, and who
> has been much more bothered by all the netsplits than the advertising,
> and who would continue to use it for a few other channels anyway. But
> in retrospect the decision to point irc.debian.org at OPN didn't buy
> us much.

Yeah, I'd love Debian to run its own IRC server :)

(There's no need to run more than one given our load, and that'd result
in the same technical problems an IRC network runs in to.)

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