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Happy Birthday, Libera Chat 

by Libera staff

Hello everyone,
today we celebrate the anniversary of Libera.Chat going public!

Where we are coming from

Exactly one year ago Libera.Chat was unveiled as a real time communication
and collaboration service for free and open-source software, peer-directed
projects, openly licensed content and collaboration. Starting from scratch
we managed, just within a few months, to become the largest IRC network.

Starting from scratch, we managed to gain around 50 000 users in just
a month and a half, a number which has been mostly steady since.
With regard to channels we had roughly 15 000 channels formed
within half a month, compared to the usercount this number is still
growing, but the curve flattened itself a bit.
You can see detailed graphs over at
https://netsplit.de/networks/statistics.php?net=Libera.Chat

We also saw many communities and projects migrating over to Libera
from other places in the first few days, counting 250 in just one week
and 500 after a month. Today we are hosting roughly 950 projects
and communities, and that number is still growing. We are hoping to reach
the 1000th registration soon!

All these communites are quite diverse. Libera.Chat services are not only
used by major free/open source operating systems and well known, world wide
operating institutions such as the Wikimedia Foundation; we also have local
Linux User Groups, the hackspace around the corner hacking on whimsical
gadgets and liberating your hardware or someones scratch-your-own-itch image
viewer that call Libera.Chat their home.

In summary we had a phenomenal first year and all of this would not have
been possible without many helping hands. So we want to send out a big thank
you for all the volunteers, sponsors, projects and users that supported us
since we started.

Where we are now

With the numbers becoming mostly stable, we focus on keeping the network
running smoothly, ironing out some minor bumps and improving our tooling.
Just recently we finally got infrastructure up and ready to accept monetary
donations, details can be found at https://libera.chat/contributing/donate/.
We are using this money to cover the operational costs of the network as well
as the administrative upkeep of the legal entity. These costs were mostly
covered and donated by our volunteers so far. Libera.Chat will stay a
non-profit organisation, ran by unpaid volunteers on donated hardware.
We will communicate our financial status and usage of donations in a
transparent manner.

Transparency in general is very important to us. You can find our annual
report for our first year at https://libera.chat/annual-reports/2021/,
including the financial and auditor report and the reports written by our
three main teams: engineering, operations and projects & community. They
contain some more detail about the various areas and daily work of libera
volunteers.

In the last few months, we have launched a Trust & Safety working group to hone
and organise the tools and skills we have for keeping users safe and
mitigating abuse on our network. The working group has already seen
enthusiastic involvement across our stafferbase and the group has been the
source of numerous compassionate new ideas and solutions to difficult human
problems, and they look forward to continuing to do so going forward.

What the future holds

We are aware that the protocol we are using, IRC, has been around for quite a
while and had various features glued on over the past decades.
Therefore it is sometimes hard to compete against more modern, freshly
developed solutions in terms of usability or also features.
We are working hard, both on our software stack and by collaborating
in working groups such as https://ircv3.net/ to offer a more pleasant user
experience and IRC being easier for fresh onboarding users.

We are equally aware that some of our tooling could be more open, more
usable and sometimes more useful in general. As such, we are looking to
continue work on tools and make further improvements.

As usual, keep an eye on our website, our social media channels and
our source code repositories for news and announcements.

We would like to conclude with another big thank you. Without our users,
projects, sponsors and volunteers Libera.Chat could not exist and would not
have grown as much within just one year. We hope that you are enjoying the
services we provide to our communities, and you are always welcome to drop by
in #libera for comments, questions or a quick chat with us.

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