About half a decade ago Open and Free Technology Community (OFTC) separated from OpenProjects.net, founded by Rob ‘lilo” Levin, because of different opinions on fund raising and managing the project.
One year ago Rob Levin was hit by a car and died by the injuries. Freenode has since then made changes within its managing structure where users can have more influences in decision making and a more transparent organization in general.
This new cooperation between the two networks initially will be observing each others operations and swapping of of staff. What the future cooperation will be like, including a possible merger is not yet laid out. But both sides are interested in taking next steps.
The two networks have very different technical operation, and both fall under a different organization and have cultural differences. The size of both networks are different, 33,000 for Freenode against 3750 on OFTC.
One of the first steps being looked at is moving Freenode to a new IRCd. The current IRCd in use is a highly modified and difficult to maintain IRCd called Hyperion. Head of staff at Freenode Christel Dahlskjaer is currently looking at several options and has special interest in OFTC’s Hybrid-based IRCd and Charybdis (based on IRCd-ratbox).