I remember using Freenode early on when I discovered open source. It was a fantastic vibrant place with hackers all over the place. openprojects, lilo, great...
Unfortunately, maybe it's got too big. The atmosphere has changed for the worse IMHO. In my opinion, the staff no longer represent the community.
Today, they put their own ideals ahead of their users. Their objections to Mibbit have been
* It's not open source
* It makes money
So, IMHO, a sad day for Freenode and all that they used to represent, but an opportunity to create a new haven for hackers.
Working with Mibbit clearly costs freenode time and resources that they would rather not spend. Since Mibbit makes money, perhaps you should consider entering into a contractual relationship to provide them with financial incentive and other guarantees, in exchange for their investment in supporting your service?
The 'abuse' reason I believe is a red herring. Abuse is easy enough to deal with, and them operating their own web client won't change how often people abuse using a web client.
The abuse from Mibbit has been the only reason (in months) that I've had to set myself as an operator and ban users. As a user, I don't feel this is a 'red herring'.
I'm perfectly happy on Freenode, and our IRC channels are quite vibrant. I hope you can reach a resolution with the Freenode staff.
I also offered to help with the abuse. I've asked several times for details of abuse. I haven't been able to get concrete details on what abuse happens, when, what they have to do etc. The staff are incredibly secretive - unlike other networks, they don't link servers, their staff run everything, and I believe this was one of the reasons - they want complete control over everything including web clients.
Out of 500 or so people @peak times, I think the abuse level was really low. Also it's easily solved with a WEBIRC setup which we have with a large number of IRC networks (Which we never hear from, because abuse is handled by WEBIRC and their own systems as with direct connections).
I hope freenode will decide to reconsider, but they clearly want people to use their own web client, rather than mibbit. It would have been nice to at least give people some notice rather than just shut off access.
In fact, we were planning to have mibbit links to freenode#perl showing up all sorts of places in the perl community to try and make it easier for people to get onto IRC and ask questions when they got stuck with things. I've notified the guys working on that to hang fire until we work out what the hell is going on.
Most annoying, whoever's fault it is (and being an argument on the internet I'm going to default to "everybody's, and especially mine, even if I wasn't involved" :)
Freenode's position seems to be that they will never trust any third party, no matter what that third party does. The most oft-repeated argument on #freenode was not about the hassle of dealing with bad users (everyone, including axod, agreed with the sentiment of mibbit and freenode working together to resolve those), but that it was actually not possible for mibbit to do anything to resolve that problem.
I'm sure you don't like to hear that, but I sat on that channel for a long while reading what was being said, and Freenode were behaving like a bunch of power-tripping bureaucrats. Every time axod, or anyone else, asked "what can mibbit do, concretely, to make you happy?" the answer was either "make mibbit open-source" or "nothing", or, "axod should have discussed this with us a year ago, it's too late now".
It's a real shame for an IRC network with the legacy of freenode to behave like that. I had a lot of respect for freenode prior to this, but I don't have much left after today. The sad thing is it wouldn't take much effort on the part of freenode to regain that respect... so I'm hoping you and your freenode colleagues come to a saner decision and work with axod to resolve this in an amicable fashion.
There seems to be a bit of miscommunication between mibbit and freenode here, where freenode believes that they tried extensively over at least a year to resolve this with mibbit and mibbit says they had no clue. I'd certainly be suspicious and not necessarily feel welcome to forgiving immediately if something like that happened.
And as for trust - I don't know either group. But from the patient way in which the freenode staffers explained what was happening and their rationale to everyone who entered #freenode to demand their mibbit back for (I think) the better part of twelve hours, that leaves me with far more respect for them than for axod at the moment, assuming certain things about his actions fit together like it seems.
freenode deals with a lot of closed source and for profit projects, the idea that the ban is purely for those reasons is "very" far fetched.
the freenode admins have said multiple times that they will be happy to reverse their position as they have in the past
the entire problem seems to be down to a lack of communication between mibbit and freenode, and both sides have blamed each other for the miscommunication.
after witnessing axods attempt at communicating, and seeing freenode communicating find with a large number of other partners, Its fairly reasonable to assume axod needs to the communication issues sorted at his end.
I'm not a freenode staffer, but I was in the channel while this discussion was ongoing. What they did say was that:
1) the WEBIRC protocol, which mibbit pushes heavily, is fundamentally not trustable unless you know exactly what code is running
2) there are additional incentives for a commercial enterprise to potentially abuse any level of trust given to it
3) that this discussion was a tangent from the actual issue, which was that mibbit has not been, for over a year, open to discussion and working with freenode.
Their own client is not less capable of preventing abuse, because they can integrate it into their network better (which I take to mean things like actually presenting a guaranteed IP address and similar things), which means that they can then reliably block abusive users using the standard IRC techniques.
EFNet for example was more than happy to setup WEBIRC. So are hundreds of others. For Mibbit, it's the cleanest, least hassle solution. It needs no management. The networks own security handles everything. That is why it's recommended.
I'm really skeptical that abusing trust would be a good thing to do - if trust has been broken, networks can just ban you easily.
#3 I disagree with strongly. I have tried extremely hard to have an open dialog with freenode, to get details of any abuse, to get any email reports to firstname.lastname@example.org or PM.
I'm working on new anti-abuse features for non-webirc networks that will hopefully help here.
Of course. My intent with that post was not to get into a discussion about why Freenode was right or wrong in making their decision - like I said, I'm not a staffer, and I have no access to the information they presumably are making their decisions on.
My intent with that post was to point out that Freenode's reasons were significantly more nuanced than you claimed in your parent post, and to address your response to one of them using arguments that they, again, outlined while you were in the channel.
As someone who is an ircop on another network with a few thousand users that also blocks Mibbit, abuse is not a red herring at all.
The last time Mibbit was unbanned on the network, it was used repeatedly for users to evade channel bans and harass users. Implementing a non-standard protocol that only Mibbit seems to use is not a valid answer to this problem.
IMHO, its a sad day when a single, relatively new client (that displays ads/produces income for), feels that it is important enough for a network that has been around much longer to bend its policy to work around. And then have the gall to accuse the network of wanting to make a profit itself?
WEBIRC is the standard solution to this, and it existed long before Mibbit did. It's also about as simple and obvious as a protocol could be: the web server simply forwards the user's IP address on to the ircd at the start of a session.
We currently have WEBIRC setup with 454 IRC networks, representing around 200k users. I hardly think that's a "non standard protocol that only mibbit seems to use" is it now. All modern IRC servers support it out of the box.
I don't think I indicated freenode was planning to make a profit out of their client, you'd have to ask them about that. I wish them all the luck.
This isn't about me, or money, etc. This is about them cutting off users, who used mibbit to connect to freenode. IMHO that's a bad decision, and not a nice open friendly thing to do.
It'd be like hackernews blocking opera users if some spam submissions were submitted by opera users.
No, it would be like HackerNews blocking a 3rd party HN client that:
* Required that HackerNews trust the third party client service to provide user identity.
* Had a significantly higher level of abuse as compared to standard users.
* Required a disproportionate amount of resources to support for the given user base.
* (Least important) monetized HackerNews via advertisements.
I'm not claiming Freenode was standing to make a profit from this; you did: "* It makes money" — I also mentioned that you stand to lose money if a major network doesn't let users use your client. I'm not claiming this is your motive for wanting people to use Mibbit. I don't know what you think. Just that from an outside perspective, its a possible thought.
And I don't see the Opera comparison. Opera doesn't force users to proxy through their own servers. Its a completely transparent tool, right out of the box. Users have to actively set up a proxy for Opera to use it. With Mibbit? It uses the proxy by default, no way around it for the users.
I think that you should re-read that unless you are saying he said that Freenode "Isn't open source" as well...
To be fair, I was the first one making that accusation (not axod) and I clearly indicated that it was a tinfoil hat moment - time will tell, but the banning of mibbit and the implementation of their own webchat client (well, currently a default installation of an open source client) is awfully convenient given axod wrote a post on mibbit's revenue only the day before.