Happy 2nd Birthday, Libera Chat!

by Fuchs

Hello everyone, today we celebrate the second anniversary of Libera.Chat going public!

What happened this year

Last year we blogged about our first anniversary and everything that happened since Libera.Chat, the new IRC network for free, open source software and peer directed projects was founded by volunteers.

While certainly less turbulent and active than the first year, especially the first few months after founding, we still had quite some activity this year. While the numbers of users and channels have been mostly stable, with a new record of 51522 users connected this February, we had a couple of new projects arriving at Libera. As usual these come in various sizes and include all kind of topics. The biggest new entry in our family is probably the GNOME desktop environment and community, which migrated over from their own network.

Our communication channels stayed roughly the same and stable, with some growth around our Fediverse presence due to external circumstances involving a turbulent flight of a certain blue bird. As a fancy new extra, we can now offer Libera.Chat branded merch through our partnership with FreeWear, which also adds some funds in addition to the donations we receive. There is a handful of upcoming new stuff there and about our noncorporate identity too, but we unfortunately can’t give an ETA yet.

Development around the software stack that we use is also going smoothly. Both with regards to the IRC daemon and services that we use, which got a handful of long time requested features and settings to fine tune ones experience, and also with regards to the new IRCD that we are developing, Sable. While it is not production ready yet, it is slowly taking shape and we can already do some testing with it.

Our operations team kept the network running smooth and without any bigger issues or outages, and most of the configuration management can now be seen by all staff, which makes it a lot easier for everyone to contribute and to verify how and if things work correctly.

We’re also working hard at keeping our users safe and them feeling welcome on our network, regardless of who they are. Our trust and safety team, despite running entirely on volunteer work as the rest of the network, is handling incidents in comparable and sometimes even better speed as some corporate solutions similar to ours. Of course you can always contact our volunteer staff if something made you feel uneasy on our network or if you are seeing content that should not be on Libera.Chat.

You can find more detailed numbers and activity reports of our various teams in the annual report for 2022 on our website.

In summary we are still going strong and now have more time for working on a stable foundation and refining some rough spots left over from a very busy and intense first year. All of this would not have been possible without many helping hands. So we want to send out a big thank you for all the volunteers, sponsors, projects and users that supported us and keep supporting us.

What the future holds

As usual, one of the biggest issues IRC is facing is its old age, due to which it lacks some features that most users expect these days. Interaction with the service can be clumsy and not very intuitive as well. But we have to compete against more modern, freshly developed solutions which some projects migrate to as it is expected by their community. We hope to address most of these issues with our new software stack mentioned above, which is developed from scratch and will most likely break with some traditional ways of IRC, without sacrificing the many advantages, lightness and simplicity of it.

We encourage you to keep an eye on our website, our social media channels and our source code repositories for news and announcements. During our Birthday and maybe for a day or two more, we will also open up #libera-birthday for celebrations, similar to the new years channel. Why don’t you drop by for a quick chat and some virtual cake and confetti?

We would like to also conclude this years Happy Birthday post with another big thank you. Without our users, projects, sponsors and volunteers Libera.Chat could not exist, run smoothly and keep growing strong. We hope that you are enjoying the services we provide to our communities, and you are always welcome to drop by in #libera for comments, questions or a quick chat with us.