|Founded||19 May 2021|
|Average users||48,200 (23 February 2022)|
|Average channels||21,400 (23 February 2022)|
|Content/subject||Public / unrestricted|
Libera Chat, stylized Libera.Chat, is an IRC network for free and open source software projects. It was founded on 19 May 2021 by former Freenode staff members, after Freenode was taken over by Andrew Lee, founder of Private Internet Access.
In 2017, Christel Dahlskjaer, then the head of staff at Freenode, incorporated a new company called Freenode Limited and transferred ownership to technology entrepreneur Andrew Lee. In February 2021, Dahlskjaer added the logo of Shells, a company co-founded by Lee, to the Freenode website. Following criticism from staff, Dahlskjaer resigned from the leadership of Freenode, and Freenode staff elected Tom Wesley as the new head of staff. Lee allegedly removed a blog post explaining the leadership changes and, on 11 May, appointed a new person to oversee the Freenode infrastructure. Freenode staff resigned en masse, and some published statements outlining their view of what happened and claiming that Lee had been applying legal pressure to Wesley.
Lee denied these claims, and said that he had provided Freenode with millions of dollars and was entitled to Freenode's servers as the owner of Freenode Limited. Lee also accused Wesley of harassing Dahlskjaer and of attempting a "hostile takeover."
After resigning from Freenode, the former staff created Libera Chat on 19 May 2021. They have described the network as a successor to Freenode, which they intend to focus around "free and open source software projects and similarly-spirited collaborative endeavours". Many major projects like Bitcoin, FrOSCon, Fedora, Ubuntu, Gentoo, FreeBSD, the Free Software Foundation and Wikimedia have since moved their channels from Freenode to Libera Chat and to other IRC networks.
- "Libera Chat". Libera Chat. Archived from the original on 19 May 2021. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
- Beschizza, Rob (19 May 2021). "Freenode IRC staff quit after new owner "seizes" control of network". Boing Boing. Archived from the original on 19 May 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
- Franceschi-Bicchierai, Lorenzo (19 May 2021). "Developers Flee Open Source Project After 'Takeover' By Korean Crown Prince". Vice. Archived from the original on 19 May 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
- Salter, Jim (24 May 2021). "Freenode IRC staff resign en masse after takeover by Korea's "crown prince"". Ars Technica.
- Dahlskjaer, Christel (12 April 2017). "PIA and freenode joining forces". Freenode. Archived from the original on 20 May 2021. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
- Nardi, Tom (19 May 2021). "Freenode debacle prompts staff exodus, new network". Hackaday. Archived from the original on 20 May 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
- Claburn, Thomas (19 May 2021). "Freenode IRC staff resign en masse, unhappy about new management". The Register. Archived from the original on 21 May 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
- Lee, Andrew (19 May 2021). "Letter to freenode". Archived from the original on 19 May 2021. Retrieved 31 October 2021 – via GitHub.
- "FSF and GNU move official IRC channels to Libera.Chat network — Free Software Foundation — Working together for free software". www.fsf.org. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
- "Major Internet Projects Are Leaving Freenode After Korean Prince 'Takeover'". www.vice.com. Retrieved 26 May 2021.