|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2012)|
|Founded||1995, as irc.linpeople.org|
|Geographic location||Europe, United States|
|Based in||United Kingdom|
|Content/subject||Public / unrestricted|
freenode, formerly known as Open Projects Network, is an IRC network used to discuss peer-directed projects. Their servers are all accessible from the domain name chat.freenode.net, which load balances connections by using the actual servers in rotation.  In 2010, it became the largest free and open source software-focused IRC network and, as of 2013, the largest IRC network, regardless of focus, encompassing more than 80,000 users and 40,000 channels, gaining almost 5,000 new users per year.
freenode is centrally managed. Staffers (as IRC operators are called) have the same access across all servers. Some operations that would normally only apply to one server (like k-lines) are propagated across the whole network. Servers are "donated" to the network, rather than "linked."
The network focuses on supporting peer-directed and open source projects. Channels not related to these things are considered off-topic and encouraged to find a home elsewhere. To support this distinction, channels are divided into namespaces. Primary on-topic channels begin with a single #, and groups wanting to use such a channel must officially register with freenode. "About" channels begin with two ##, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis without needing a group registration.
freenode currently runs ircd-seven, a set of freenode-specific patches on the Charybdis IRC server. The network previously ran an ircd called hyperion. The replacement of hyperion with ircd-seven occurred on January 30, 2010. 
freenode began as a 4-person Linux support channel called #LinPeople on EFnet, another IRC network. By 1995 it had moved from being just a channel to its own network, irc.linpeople.org. In early 1998 it changed to Open Projects Net (OPN) with about 200 users and under 20 channels. The OPN soon grew to become the largest network for the free software community, and 20th largest in the world. In 2002 the name changed to freenode and the Peer-Directed Projects Center (PDPC) was founded. PDPC was a registered IRS 501(c)(3) charity from 2002 until approximately 2010, during which it received support from such organizations as the Linux Fund in 2007.
On June 24, 2006, a user with the nickname "ratbert" gained the network privileges of freenode administrator Rob Levin (lilo) and took control of the network. It is likely that approximately 25 user passwords were stolen as a result. This user proceeded to K-line many freenode staff members, and most freenode servers subsequently went down for several hours.
Peer-Directed Projects Center
The PDPC is known as the organization which ran the freenode IRC network, where many prominent open source projects host their official IRC channels. The PDPC was incorporated in England and Wales.
PDPC was created to run the freenode network and to establish a variety of programs relating to peer-directed project communities. According to its charter, the PDPC exists "to help peer-directed project communities flourish", mostly based around free and open source software projects, and encouraging the use of free software through supporting its development. The GNU Project uses the freenode network for communication.
The PDPC was founded and initially directed by Rob Levin. In November 2006, the board went through a reshuffle and new members were installed. Seth Schoen left and Christel Dahlskjaer, senior freenode staffer became the secretary and head of staff on freenode in Schoen's place. Also joining the board was David Levin, Rob's brother.
In March 2013, the PDPC was dissolved. The decision to dissolve was made in part due to the donation levels and costs associated with maintaining its status as a charitable organization in the UK.
Robert Levin (December 16, 1955 – September 16, 2006), also known as lilo, was the founder of the freenode IRC network and Executive Director of the PDPC charity that helped fund freenode. A computer programmer since 1968, Levin worked as an administrator and an applications programmer from 1978 until his death.
On September 12, 2006, Levin was struck by a car while riding a bicycle at night in Houston, Texas in a hit-and-run collision. After the collision, it was reported that Levin was hospitalized for several days. He died on September 16.
From 1994 onwards, Levin worked to encourage the use of IRC for Free Software and Open Source projects. Levin was one of the founders of the OpenProjects Network (OPN), which quickly grew to become the largest IRC network used by the free software community. The OpenProjects domains were later put up for sale, but did not sell.
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- Official website
- Query netsplit.de's IRC network database for freenode
- Query SearchIRC's IRC network database for freenode