Alternatives to Freenode?

I really like the very friendly and helpful NixOS online chat community but…

Feeenode is just so difficult to use and I am not even sure if it is democratically managed.

Is there any better online chat room that is managed by cooperatives , or some kind of democratic entity?

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There’s a nix room on matrix. And a discord server.


Discord is not democratically managed. (And is an unofficial and community-driven.)

I don’t know how Matrix is managed, but the protocol is open and federated.

The nix channel that is matrix-exclusive is unofficial and community-driven too. I would personally recommend for Matrix folks to prefer using the Freenode bridge to discuss with the official (and bigger) chat room, but I can’t force anyone to do anything!

You can read more about the communities on the community page of the website.


Hmm they all look still very complicated - what I really am looking for is something like email - where it is clear who the owner is - just look at the right side of the at-sign.

There is so much pollution of vested interests when it comes to public discussion sites and so-called “social media” places…

I am really motivated to write some software to address this :slight_smile:

In the very least, accountability does not even appear to be the priority! It might come from the fact that most of the capitalist corporations are not only uninterested, but they are outright against accountability (except for profit :slight_smile: )

I am not saying that freenode and are for-profit corporations but still I think there does not seem to be a lot of efforts for accountability. What is freenode-IRC bridge? Who owns it? Who funds freenode? Are they cooperatives? etc, etc.

Feeenode is just so difficult to use…

Here’s the straight and narrow, if IRC is too difficult for you, you are not going to able to make use of NixOS.


I’m guessing OP isn’t a native English speaker and by difficult he/she might mean not user friendly. (no persistent logs et al)


Well, I would be more willing to invest efforts, if freenode (or IRC) didn’t seem like a black box :sweat_smile:

If there was a strong democratic body behind such services that explain clearly everything that’s happening behind the scenes with the purpose of promoting democratic ownership and governance, it would be more appealing, even if it looked technically (and maybe needlessly) complicated.

But thank you for your replies - this is probably beyond my original question but I am contemplating on designing (with like minded people perhaps) something far simpler and accountable. But who knows, maybe it s what it is for a reason and my “simple” design may not be possible :sweat_smile:

But thank you for your replies - this is probably beyond my original question but I am contemplating on designing (with like minded people perhaps) something far simpler and accountable. But who knows, maybe it s what it is for a reason and my “simple” design may not be possible :sweat_smile:

A simple protocol often ends up with a need for central source-of-truth for each conversation. If you need to scale, you need resources for hosting. Decentralise management of significant resources is hard.

If you want distributed everything, you can have a more transparent communication, but the protocol gets complicated (see: Matrix), and sometimes the protocol itself needs enough investment that governance gets hard (see: foundation, they are getting better, but it is a lot of work).

BTW, you can reasonably pretend that the bridged Matrix room is The Room, with distributed consensus and rules about how its history behaves, then IRC-Freenode bridge is just… a weird opensource client hosted (for some reason) by two separate entities (not really the most opaque ones, if you are willing to invest a minimum effort into looking into what they disclose about themselves). Some people happen to use this client.

With email, by the way, you either get a mailing list that needs to be hosted by some entity, or you get not-exactly-consistent different views about the list of the recepients if you try to run it in a completely symmetric-peer way.


There are around 500 people on discord, here’s an invite: Nix/NixOS (unofficial)


Thank you, this looks much better! Discord itself looks like a straight forward capitalist cooperation but well, I think we can solve issues one by one and NixOS solves so many problems and I am a big fan😄

I would kindly ask you to leave the elitism at the door when participating in discussions in this community.

Even if this was true, which it may or may not be, it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy to shun users that “aren’t 1337 enough to use IRC”.


It’s clearly stated on their website how they operate: Freenode Holdings - freenode

Freenode is run entirely by volunteers since 1998. The notion that this is somehow less democratic than a private company is really weird to me. Freenode is one of the rare platforms where I don’t hear about them shutting people down and policing their speech, except from obvious spammers.


Please don’t use this elitist attitude, it’s not productive.

I use NixOS as my daily driver but, I don’t use IRC because of many reasons; but the major ones are lack of chat history, and a series of other minor usability cuts, which make for a terrible user experience. There’s a lot of problems I’m willing to solve but a terrible chat experience is not one of them.

Don’t confuse refusal of particular technology as laziness. I tried to give IRC a solid try as well, and didn’t care for the experience


Just a quick FYI: There are logs for the Nix* IRC channels: #nixos on 2021-11-02 — irc logs

(It isn’t a (full) replacement for a typical history feature, but maybe that would be helpful for someone and since it’s a common complaint about IRC I thought it might make sense to mention this here.)


The alternative is to just use Matrix. The bridge maintains history. Its actually pretty easy to use. The main downside is that you’re now dependent on the bridge, which may have downtimes (but stability has drastically improved since the early days).

This gives you IRC with a more “modern” UX.

Random aside: I kind of wished we’d try using Zulip. Its not something you could just easily write a bridge for though, so the step would probably be a lot of effort. Its pretty great for increasing channel bandwidth though (messages have a topic, allowing for >1 discussion at a time).


Not to be too much of an evangelist, but as a heavy-ish user of IRC and discord I don’t consider one all that much more difficult to use than the other for plain text chatting. Personally I think a service being volunteer run on donations (with an open source server) makes it more democratic than discord. It might be worth some time learning if you think the same. I use the same username on freenode as here, feel free to message me if you need any help.


The main downside is that you’re now dependent on the bridge

There’s another minor downside which is NickServ passwords stored on the bridge, not a necessity but it would be nice if you could easily host your own Matrix IRC bridge via NixOS module (due to this and ability to fix it yourself, less SPOF-y).

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Regarding logs many people run either irssi + screen combo in shells or ZNC which is quite awesome but both require VPS or something running non-stop.

I’m trying to make this easier with GitHub - pi-bouncer/pi-bouncer: NixOS & ZNC based IRC bouncer for Rasberry Pi project which allows you to self-host ZNC quickly using RPi (no problem running this 24/7 due to low power consumption and no noise). I consider adding support as well for users that want web interface like IRCCloud.