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Yeah Right >:)

Obviously that was a lame attempt at an April Fool’s joke >:)

Naturally IRC-Junkie wasn’t the only one attempting:

InspIRCd announced The WOW Starts Now! The project would turn commercial with paid version ranging from Home Basic to Commercial. A free version named Basic would remain available. W00t explained: “It will continue to be available free for those of the world who cannot afford to pay for licencing. It includes an executable file built for redhat 5.1 on the 286 architecture with egcs 1.0 which may or may not work. YMMV.”

Undernet announced over WALLUSERS the merger with QuakeNet: “DuCkTaPe $ In 5 minutes undernet will be going offline for approximately 8 hours to facilitate our merger with quakenet. All quakenet channels will be given existing Undernet channels. Sorry for the inconvenience and we’ll be back soon.” Naturally over wallops some user comments were shared like concerns over loosing their channels and others.

QuakeNet announced a new sponsorship setup, Meeb on the network website: “From today all users who use our channel service Q will have to agree to our new terms and conditions which state your details on QuakeNet are solely owned by us. We will be setting your hostname to paid adverts. This is a unique advertising model allowing you to pay for as many ‘impressions’ as suits your marketing budget. Your advertisements will be in shown as the host names of users on the network, allowing for a subtle yet powerful delivery of your message to an active and rich demographic.”

Got any others? Add them below as a comment!

Undernet Celebrates its 15th Birthday

In October 1992 Danny “WildThang” Mitchell, Donald “WHIZZARD” Lambert, and Laurent “_dl” modified the EFnet irc2.7 IRC deamon and started an experimental network that became known as the Undernet IRC network. This month it will celebrates its 15th anniversary.

Today Undernet still is one of the largest IRC networks where on average 120k users are online.

More information on Undernet’s history can be found on this User-Com page.

Undernet’s User-Com is planning an event of which details are not yet known.

There is also a group of users who are independently from Undernet organizing an event which will take place the 25th of November in #undernet15.

IRC-Junkie spoke to one of the organizers of this party, Huggins. “We will also hold a “memorial” During the event also,” Huggins starts, “which will consist of paying tribute to “lost but not forgotton people”, such as JwPara, c00kie, Jail, Kevbo, etc. Also we will give the users who attend a chance to pay tribute to other “users” they’ve known that have passed away, so the Event isnt official, but all users can participate, as it’s a “Fun” Event at the same time also.”

This event also features a website which is not yet available at www.undernet15.com.

edit 7th Nov: A User-Com admin who wishes to remain anonymous told IRC-Junkie that currently no official event is planned to celebrate the event.

Oslo* server Duo Delinks from Undernet

The 31st of May the Oslo* server duo from Undernet will be delinked. They served the Undernet community for many years, and its staff was active in different help related channels, with #nastrand being well known.

IRC-Junkie had a short interview with one of the admins of the server duo, Bjoern. Bjoern Vik, living in Oslo Norway, has been working in the IP business for about a decade and became involved with Undernet in 2002.

“I used to manage a support center within the dial-up business for Internet and I saw that a lot of the employees there used IRC to communicate among themselves and in general” Bjoern starts to explain his involvement with IRC. “This was back in 1997 and i joined in as well. Main focus at first was to use IRC for the fun of it and the choice of undernet.org was more that the ones I knew where there. Later the use of IRC was more work related in that I was involved with organizations that had offices around the world and we where working on setup’s that was very “beta”. I found that a lot of know-how could be found around on IRC channels and people where more than willing to share knowledge”.

Bjoern have been hosting several servers spread over several IRC networks, both large and smaller networks. Bjoerns’ Undernet involvement came when the other admin Mr_Jobe called him and asked if he could help hosting a server. “[I] pulled some strings and we made it all happen”.

After a while the duo thought a second server could help take off some load from the first, and help Undernet as a whole as well, and the server-duo was born.

A change in contract with the current sponsor and change of interests of the admin team have led to the decision of delinking the duo. “Change of focus from their side and also the admin team of oslo* have come to a conclusion that we have spent a lot of time making this as best we can for the users and now no longer have what it takes to keep it up like we want” Bjoern explained to IRC-Junkie.

Will Bjoern and the others disappear completely from IRC and/or Undernet? “I have one more server on a small network where I still stay and I am sure I will pass by now and then also on Undernet”.

Undernet Re-implements Multiple Logins on X

Undernet introduced multiple logins a few years ago to be forthcoming to users who had to login from work while their home connection was still running for example. In this article however the decision had to be made to remove the functionality again as users were abusing the feature by having bots flood channel that had the +r flag set. The flag requires users to be logged in to join a channel.

Undernet user, and #help op Eenie did not settle with the decision however and started a petition and website in September 2006. “Five hundred and seventy (570) users signed it”, Eenie said to IRC-Junkie.

As a member from #help Eenie had to deal with the quirks of an unstable connection and the time waiting until her other connection pinged-out. On average 10 minutes. “Being an op in some high visibility help channels made me a target of people who have nothing better to do than cause havoc to others”, without the hostmasking DDoS is a real threat.

Despite the response on the petition Eenie got little response back from CService. “Undernet’s Channel Service Coordinator never replied to any of my messages or my emails concerning this issue at all. As one can see from the Undernet Forum posts from a few CService reps, some agreed, some disagreed with our effort.  I never heard of any official stand from CService.”

Eenie got in contact with the coders of the services where she got a few listening ears. “I believe most of the credit goes to the coders who took our plight seriously and worked to get this implemented for us.”

Eventually, success. “About nine months later, on April 18, 2007, the new X feature was unveiled. Seems the wheels of Undernet turn slowly, but in this case, they turned to our benefit!”

Finally, as a member of #help Eenie unveils the workings of the new feature; “A user can now login a second connection to his username without having maxlogins of 2, provided that he/she uses the same IP to connect. If he/she is running ident’d, they must use the same userID for both connections. If they are not running ident’d, they can make the second connection and login to their username with just the same IP.”

IRC: Too Complicated?

OK, this is going to be one of those rants I spit out from time to time. You know I love IRC, I use it to chat, help other users to chat and use it as a base for scientific groups because of its excellent ways to automate tasks with the help of bots. IRC evolves, new functionality is being added almost on a daily basis. And that should be a good thing. But I have to wonder, is IRC becoming too complicated for new users?

Lets take Undernet for example. Not to pick on it, because I love the place, but because this is the network I have most experience with. Just go along with me, and imagine being a new user who would like to check Undernet out because you heard you’ll find mind alikes there.

First you will need an IRC client. OK, maybe not such a big deal, in the end you will most likely bump into mIRC because it seems that is what everyone is using, too the extend some people speak of “see you on mIRC!”. Do you remember back then when you first installed a client? Would you think of hitting CTRL-O, click the Servers tab, and then select the correct network and then the server for your geographic location?

Once you found out how to get connected and get onto a channel, maybe only then you found out your host is visible for everyone else. OK, OK, we now have hosthiding. One way or the other you found out how to set +x automatically in your client. But then you autojoin your channel and find out you weren’t yet logged into X (registering an username is a story on itself as well) so the whole purpose was defeated. OK, Ok, there are scripts around now that wont rejoin a channel before you are logged in. But then, if someone wants to know your host they just have to put you on notify and /whois is when you connect. Ah well, you get the idea when it comes to this.

The power of mIRC scripting and the risks it brings to install and run scripts from people you don’t know warrant an entire story on itself. Yet, as any abuse member of any network knows, users have no problem to install whatever script they bump into.

Then there are the channelmodes. In the inconsistencies when it comes depending what network you’re on. Argh, you just wanted to chat!

Next you might want to start your own channel, because just maybe you didn’t really find the channel you wanted, or did not liked the feeling of the channel you found. Once you finally found 10 people there a very misty process will start of which I of course can’t comment much on, but without knowing the process getting the channel registered will proof to be quite hard.

These are just a few from the examples. I could list many more, for just my network of choice. Other networks will have at least an equal amount of examples waiting. And to add to it, channelmodes identifiers can have different meanings on different networks. Ask any IRC client coder! IRC services with the same name work differently on different networks. The list goes on and on.

As said, in these examples I picked out Undernet, only because I have most experience there. The story is exactly the same for other networks. The question remains the same: are we making IRC too complicated for new users of the medium? In the end its the users that make IRC, and its essential we attract new users to the medium. Keeping that in mind might help the admins and developers keep a fresh eye while developing new functionality to our platform of choice for chatting.