Freenode commits suicide, is no longer a serious IRC network

Since this happened after I was banned from Freenode, I didn't get to observe this first hand, but this is the situation as I now understand it.

Global notices were sent to those connected on Freenode announcing that “the new freenode is launched” (reported by Xe, whom I trust):

[root] [Global Notice 1/3] We are moving past legacy freenode to a new fork. The new freenode is launched. You will slowly be disconnected and when you reconnect, you will be on the new freenode. We patiently await to welcome you in freedom's holdout - the freenode.
[root] [Global Notice 2/3] If you're looking to connect now, you can already /server 6697 (ssl) or 6667 (plaintext). It's a new genesis for a new era. Thank you for using freenode, and Hello World, from the future. freenode is IRC. freenode is FOSS.
[root] [Global Notice 3/3] When you connect, register your nickname and your channel and get started. It's a new world. We're so happy to welcome you and the millions of others.

As I understand it, the following has happened:

  • Freenode's new custodians decided they wanted to move from ircd-seven (the IRC server software Freenode has used for years and years), to InspIRCd; and from the Atheme services package to the Anope services package.

  • Since different IRC daemons generally cannot be linked together for the purposes of server-to-server links, this necessarily entails creating a brand new IRC network which is not linked with the old one. In other words, there are now two Freenodes: an “old” Freenode running ircd-seven and a “new” Freenode running InspIRCd. Channel #x on one is completely unrelated to channel #x on the other, so Freenode has essentially netsplit itself. Deliberately.

  • The old services database (registered nicknames, channels, etc.) is apparently gone. All of your registered nicknames and channels are gone. Anyone who wishes to continue to use Freenode (though at this point I honestly can't imagine why anyone would want to) must re-register their nickname.

    In short, it seems there was no effort whatsoever to migrate the services database when migrating from Atheme to Anope. Not only that, this transition happened suddenly with, as far as I am aware, zero warning. Freenode has simply dropped all nickname and channel registrations without warning.

    Even my channel ##hntop which was previously seized personally by Andrew Lee is no longer registered. It's literally open season for anyone who wants to impersonate someone else, steal their nickname, or take over someone else's channel.

  • All of the servers on the round robin appear to be the “new” Freenode. In other words, the idea is that people disconnect and reconnect and are then on the “new” Freenode (with no nickname or channel registrations). However, as of writing, the old servers are still up.

  • Here is a listing of the servers I know about. User counts are as of approximately 2021-06-15 03:00 BST, give or take 15 minutes:

    NetworkServerIPv4In round robin?Reported local usersReported global usersNickServ?

    Since the user counts are obviously taken at slightly different times, don't expect the global user counts to correspond.

  • Not only are the old servers still up, it's also interesting to note that (atheme) services are still up on the old network. Freenode is currently running two entirely separate IRC networks with two separate services daemons with two separate services databases.

  • NickServ is not reachable from all old servers. This suggests that the old server network has also internally netsplit, meaning that the situation is even worse and those users and channels remaining on the old network are also fractured. Meanwhile the “new” network has barely any users, as of 2021-06-15 03:17 BST:

    Current local users: 112  Max: 115
    Current global users: 1588  Max: 1592

At this point, I can't even consider Freenode a serious network anymore.