Erik Moeller wrote:
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 had in mind either using an IRC network which doesn't need
fundraising, or just not bothering with helping Freenode to raise money.
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.
Freenode's budget: http://freenode.net/fundraiser.shtml
If you look at the budget, you'll see that none of it (except perhaps
the "telecoms" portion of the $2250 portion near the bottom of the list)
is allocated to network infrastructure.
From talking to people who run IRC networks, what I hear is that in
fact it isn't a problem to run networks of such a size without any
donated money. For example you can ask Domas who runs Aitvaras; see
users/channels stats comparison here:
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.
I've no doubt that Freenode is a pretty good place to be for Wikipedia &
co., in that it's a relatively sane environment. Yes, there is a sort
of lock-in effect because of the difficulty in using more than one IRC
network at a time. The bit about working for small pay is confusing,
given the bucketloads of people who work for $0 per year, some more than
From googling I see that this question has been asked many times: Why
can't Freenode get by with just volunteer labour, since other networks
can do it? _Apparently_ nobody ever gives a straight answer to this,
hence my previous email. Someone could claim that the good environment
of Freenode requires a paid employee, but I haven't seen that argument made.
Now, why they changed the perfectly cromulent name
, I will never understand.
Note that I have nothing against Freenode or lilo; I'm just trying to
make sense of a confusing situation.
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