IRC Drama: Fedora and Ubuntu Linux move to Libera Chat following Freenode takeover

Who knew that IRC (Internet Relay Chat) would be making big news in 2021? Look, I spent a good part of my childhood chatting on IRC, but I haven't seriously used it in well over a decade. Well, folks, people are talking about IRC again, but sadly, it is because of drama. You see, Freenode IRC was purchased recently, and the implications have the open source community in a tizzy.

What do people do when they are upset about a change? They wisely jump ship when possible. Yes, many people are running from Freenode as fast as they can. Two of the most popular Linux distributions, Ubuntu and Fedora, utilized Freenode for their IRC server needs, and now they have both switched to Libera Chat. Ubuntu made the switch first, with Fedora following shortly thereafter.

"In order to provide you with the best experience on IRC, Ubuntu is now
officially moving to Libera Chat. You will be able to find the same
channels, the same people, and the same tools that you are used to. In the
event that you see something is not quite right, please, don't hesitate to
reach out to our Ubuntu IRC Team, on #ubuntu-irc," explains José Antonio Rey, Ubuntu.

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Nick Bebout of the Fedora Project says "Since its beginnings, the Fedora Project has used the freenode IRC network for our project communications. Due to a variety of recent changes to that network, the Fedora Project is moving our IRC communications to Libera.Chat."

If you are a regular Freenode user, this news is probably annoying -- and potentially emotionally devastating too. Look, it sucks to have to re-register your nick on Libera Chat (hopefully it isn't taken) and update your IRC client server settings. More importantly though, you may have forged relationships and set up private channels on Freenode that are now in jeopardy.

On the positive side of things, it is nice to see Fedora and Ubuntu switch IRC server networks so quickly. It is good to know that leadership at both Linux distro projects were on top of things. Plus, maybe having IRC in the news will convince younger users to give it a try. And no, IRC is not limited to Linux either. You can grab one of the best IRC clients for Windows, mIRC, here and start chatting with nerdy strangers immediately. Who knows, you just might make a lifelong friend.

Photo credit: ZoomikShutterstock

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