Not directly related, but I'm told that there are
plenty of IRC networks
which are as stable as or more stable than Freenode, and which get by
with no donations of money at all. Which leads to the question, why
donate at all? I haven't been able to find an answer for this yet.
What alternative do you have in mind? I don't think a network of
Freenode's size will be able to survive without either fundraising or
sponsors. Freenode could probably get more sponsorship, but it's good to
avoid dependency situations. I have seen big IRC networks shut down
because a major sponsor suddenly lost interest.
I think being part of the largest open source chat network in existence
is also very compatible with our general philosophy. As I type this:
#gentoo - 827 people online
#debian - 723 people online
#ubuntu - 452 people online
##linux - 390 people online
#python - 371 people online
##c - 329 people online
#fedora - 321 people online
and so on. For people with a simple IRC client that doesn't support
multiple connections, being able to hop easily from one cool channel to
the next is a big benefit. In practical terms, not being on a network
with lots of skript kiddies and warez channels is desirable from a
public relations perspective, from a signal/noise perspective, and from
a DoS attack perspective.
$16,000 of their fundraising goal goes into lilo's salary. This is quite
ridiculously small pay given the amount of time he puts into the
project. Except for the occasional downtime (*cough* Wikipedia *cough*),
I find the network to be very pleasant. There are useful services like
ChanServ, NickServ, SeenServ, MemoServ, good documentation, and there's
generally someone available to help you.
Now, why they changed the perfectly cromulent name "openprojects.net"
, I will never understand.