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IRC friends, enemies and others,

Control of freenode has recently been seized by the proprietors of Freenode Limited, a holding company established by a previous head of freenode and a third party as part of a deal with a corporate sponsor. The terms of that deal were not disclosed, and remain unknown to me.

At the time, we, freenode's volunteer staff, were given informal guarantees that staff retained operational control of the network. The same guarantees were repeated after leadership was passed on to a new head of staff. I don't know why these promises were broken or whether they were enshrined in any contract.

What is clear is that Freenode Limited has effected the transfer of the domain name, infrastructure, and data to its representatives, having earlier demanded changes to the website and, bizarrely, the shutdown of testnet. I had also been informed that I was not to make any changes to the network. I'm given to understand that attempting to fight this via the legal system would be impractical.

We've always tried to insulate our users from political drama, but given these circumstances I don't believe that's possible or, indeed, morally acceptable. I have thus resigned my position with freenode, whatever that's worth, and surrendered all associated access.

I still want to help people write and use free software, and to that end I, along with some of the other former freenode volunteers, have spun up a new network at irc.libera.chat. If you want to use it we'll keep it around. Should you want to talk to us, that'd be the best place. I can also be reached at e@kellett.im.

I harbour nothing but the deepest possible gratitude and admiration for my fellow ex-staffers, for what freenode used to be and what it stood for, and for everyone who made it possible. It has been a genuine privilege. Thank you.

Kind regards,
Ed

P.S.
Please insist on verification before assuming anyone on the internet is me. My GPG key fingerprint is 9E2B27E1C6CF5467EF1B83F41AB3269A1105A928; I have constant access to this key and nothing is too urgent to wait for me to get to it.


Collected statements from other former staff:

@fitojb
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fitojb commented May 27, 2021

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