freenode is a topical network focused on helping free and open source software communities collaborate effectively. It has grown to become one of the single largest IRC networks, and is unique in its policies and philosophy, which help to support the network’s core focus.


Originally founded by the late Rob Levin (lilo) as the #linuxneo channel on EFNet, changed name to #linpeople Moved around from EFNet to Undernet, to DalNet before forming its own small network. Linpeople, which evolved into and later into freenode.

The nonprofit Peer-Directed Projects Center was created to oversee the freenode project, and existed from 2002 to 2013, after which the freenode project continued, but the nonprofit parent organization did not.

Over time, the strong focus on enabling free and open source project communities transformed Freenode into the largest IRC network,


freenode operates as a tightly managed, meritocratic project, under similar principles of governance to many of the free and open source comminities which call the network home.


Catalysts are central for the freenode culture and philosophy - the freenode way is to resolve problems diplomatically, deescalate situations early, and use authority and privilege as a last resort.

Trolls and other disruptive users certainly exist on freenode, as in any other online community, but catalysts act as mediators and ambassadors of the network’s core values, and help to keep disruptions to a bare minimum without need of any special authority or privilege.


In accordance with this philosophy and network policies, and in a significant break with the management practices of most other networks, servers are not “linked” in the traditional administrative sense, rather, they are “hosted” with donated servers, and the hosting organization receives no special consideration beyond an acknowledgement of their donation, and no special privileges whosoever.

Connecting to Freenode

freenode accepts connections at on port 6667 for non-SSL, and on port 6697 for SSL. is an alias, and will work as well.

individual servers may change frequently, and specifying a specific server is not recommended.

Important Channels

The #freenode channel is the main network channel, and is where network staff can be found. We maintain the #irchelp channel on freenode as a general IRC help channel for issues that do not require the attention of network staff, such as general usage questions, IRC client configuration, and even IRC protocol questions.