GHC and the future of Freenode

Ben Gamari ben at
Wed May 19 12:56:23 UTC 2021

Hi all,

As you may have heard the Freenode IRC network, long the home of #ghc
and several other prominent Haskell channels, appears to be in the
middle of a rather nasty hostile takeover [1,2,3,4]. As a consequence,
it seems it will be necessary to migrate the #ghc community elsewhere.

The next question is, of course, where will this be. One option is
Liberachat, the spiritual successor of Freenode. However, in recent
years I have also heard an increasingly loud choir of users,
contributors, and potential-contributors note how archane IRC feels when
compared to other modern chat platforms. Using IRC effectively in a
collaborative environment essentially requires that all parties use a
bouncer; however, this is (understandably) isn't something that most users
are willing to do.

Consequently, I think it would be wise to expand our search space to
include other FOSS platforms. At the moment, I can see the following

 1. Remain on IRC and move to Liberachat, the spiritual successor of

 2. Remain on IRC and move to OFTC, another widely used network

 3. Move to [Matrix]

 4. Move to [Zulip]

My sense is that of the non-IRC options Matrix is the truest successor
to IRC, being a federated protocol with a wide array of (if somewhat
immature) clients. I know some of our contributors already use it and in
principle one could configure an IRC-to-Matrix bridge for those existing
contributors who would rather continue using IRC.

Zulip, while also being FOSS, is far more centralized than Matrix and
appears to be more of a chat web application than an open protocol.

Do you know of any other options? Thoughts?


- Ben

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