Since last week, several reputable projects and organizations such as Wikimedia (non-profit that runs Wikipedia), Adafruit, along with several Linux distros such as Ubuntu, Gentoo and CentOS have switched away from Freenode, most notably to Libera Chat, which was founded and is run by the former Freenode staff.In a post, one of Libera Chat’s founders, José Antonio Rey, who is also a member of the Ubuntu Community Council and a former staff volunteer at Freenode, explained the events leading up to the current state of affairs.
Rey accuses Andrew Lee, the Crown Prince of South Korea and current owner of Freenode, of a “hostile” takeover after rescinding his promise to not interfere with the operation of the network.
Following their resignation, many of the IRC network’s volunteer staff created the Libera Chat network.
This led to Freenode taking charge of several hundred channels used by various free and open source software (FOSS) projects, earlier this week, and apparently tweaked their settings, citing “policy violations.”
“Today (2021-05-26) a large number of Gentoo channels have been hijacked by Freenode staff, including channels that were not yet migrated to Libera chat,” wrote the Gentoo Linux project calling the move “an open act of hostility.”
Lee however accuses the former staff of attempting to “destroy [Freenode] from the inside.”
“Freenode has been the home for the entire FOSS community for over 20 years. Fracturing the community only hurts users and FOSS. Your users don’t wish to migrate. Stop forcing them,” wrote Lee urging the projects to stay with Freenode.
Meanwhile, in the one week since its launch, Libera Chat claims to have processed the registrations of over 250 projects, and about 20,000 user registrations, calling themselves the “fastest-growing IRC network ever.”