I started using IRC in the early 2000s and was primarily using it because at that time there was no global internet access in our city. However we had a city-wide local network, and our internet provider ran an IRC server for everyone to chat. It was rather a small server with about 50 channels, created by random people for their needs, and I’ve spent a lot of time on some of that channels. A lot of my schoolmates were there, and we were chatting constantly about our studies and games. It was a really fun time.
But in around 2005, another internet provider appeared and merged with our city-wide local network. And a short time after, two providers merged into one, and the server was no more. Some people, who originally worked there and administrated that server tried to run their own one, but because worldwide internet access finally became available to almost everyone, and ICQ was really popular back then, most of the people who I knew didn’t care much about IRC and local network anymore. So while the server was created after some time, it became rather unpopular, partly because not everyone knew where the server moved, and there was a delay of about a month between these events. And some people didn’t have enough trust to use the “non-official” city IRC server. At that time I mostly stopped using IRC, as no one in my surroundings used it anymore.
But after some years, when I went to the other city to study at the university, I met some guy, who was using IRC, and he was using the Freenode network. I’ve never really bothered to research the topic of public IRC servers, so I didn’t know what Freenode is. But after a short time, I understood that this is quite a popular server, with tons of channels for a lot of different projects.
So with this bit of backstory, it’s fair to say that I’m a bit of a late Freenode comer. But for me, it’s still pretty sad to see how events are unfolding right now. I will not go into Freenode acquirement details, other sources covered this pretty well 1, 2. Right now a lot of channels are moved or reopened automatically, removing OP status from everyone, changing channel topics, messing Matrix bridges, and so on. This happened to #zig, and #haskell, #emacs, and other tech related channels I’ve used to hang on.
So today I’m leaving Freenode, and again I’m not sure where to chat. A lot of channels are moving to https://libera.chat/, while some are considering https://www.oftc.net/. This can result in a lot of fragmentation because many channels created alternative channels on both servers or even split up into several channels, but it’s still better than staying on Freenode.
This brings back old memories, but those are a rather sad ones.