Freenode is dead -- Long live Libera.Chat!

Freenode is dead. That’s the unfortunate truth. On May 19, an event regularly described as “hostile takeover”, in which the control over the biggest IRC network for free, open-source software has been forcefully taken away from the volunteer group called Freenode Staff who have run it ever since it was founded about 20 years ago, has taken place.

Therefore, all the communities I am involved in and/or manage on Freenode are moving or have already moved to the new network which most of the former Freenode staff have founded: Libera.Chat. This includes:

I do not have time to provide a nice summary on the topic as I have previously, e.g., for the youtube-dl incident. In the past days, I have analyzed the available resources (i.e., blog posts, pasted chat logs, and other publicly available information from both sides), and I support the former Freenode Staff in this matter. Large parts of their claims can be verified, something I cannot say about claims from the “new management”. The way this “new management” has literally grabbed power and then started to defame the old staff clearly shows that they don’t have the best intentions, not for the users, not for Freenode as a project, not for IRC.

I have curated some links to interesting resources such as summaries, news, blog posts, resignation letters etc., so read on if you want to take a look yourself.

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Update: youtube-dl reinstantiated thanks to EFF

In October, the popular and famous archivist tool youtube-dl was taken down by GitHub due to a DMCA request by the Recording Industry Association of America. I posted a detailed analysis explaining the relation between international, US, EU and German law, and showing why this request was very different from what most people know as the “classic” DMCA takedown request. I felt this was necessary since there were a lot of rumor and wrong claims out on the Internet (not just in forums or on the (anti)social media, but also on media offerings), which did not help the discussion at all. The repository is back now, thanks to the EFF and its team. They filed a counter-notice on behalf of the youtube-dl maintainers, which allowed GitHub to reinstantiate the repository.

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youtube-dl, GitHub, and a takedown request

On Oct 23, 2020, GitHub Inc. published a takedown notice after taking down youtube-dl’s main repository as well as a number of its forks.

youtube-dl is a Python library which can be used to decode stream URLs of a large variety of services. This allows third-party video players to stream videos, legitimately download copies and much more. It has been used as the basis for many other applications, but also ships with a CLI front end targeting advanced users.

The takedown request is justified with so-called anti-circumvention laws, as well as a German court decision. There are plenty of rumors on the Internet around this case, but a lot of them are apparently wrong. Therefore, in this blog post, we’ll have a glance at the request as well as the German laws and the court decision. We also discuss several third-party responses.

There is one important fact that needs to be stressed: This text was not written by lawyers and does not provide any legal advice. It simply provides a third-party analysis of the situation.

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AppImageLauncher: 1000 stars on GitHub

This week, AppImageLauncher’s “stargazer” count exceeded the 1000 mark. To me, this shows how many people appreciate a tool designed for the average Linux desktop user, providing a simple and intuitive workflow to manage AppImages.

By the way, did you know you can help translate AppImageLauncher? Please refer to GitHub for more information.