The GNOME community has become a Matrix-first community some time ago, and we kept the bridges to our historical IRC network gimpnet as a convenience for people who were more comfortable using it. The GNOME community is going to move away from GIMPnet… which doesn’t mean we’re going to severe ties with IRC entirely.

To avoid all ambiguity, allow me to express my gratitude to the administrators of the GIMPnet network. Each one of them I could talk to was extremely nice and helping. GIMPnet has been a strong asset for a long time to keep the GNOME community together, and I want to sincerely thank them for keeping the network running for all these years.

Why moving away from GIMPnet?

The primary reason is that the Foundation is trying to do the best use of ops time. The more services we maintain, the more maintenance time they require. In addition to that, GIMPnet is not directely maintained by the Foundation ops. It is a cluster of nodes third parties run in low maintenance mode.

Every operation on GIMPnet takes a lot of chasing and coordination time, which makes it particularly draining to orchestrate for ops. Finally, GIMPnet’s software stack makes it difficult to integrate it with our primary communication platform: Matrix.

Are you ditching IRC?

We know some members of the contributing community deeply care about using IRC, since this has been their setup for a long time. Our primary communication platform is and remains Matrix, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bridge to IRC if it makes our community’s bonds stronger.

As a matter of fact, Libera Chat has a some good quality of life features that make moderation on the IRC side easy to do, that doesn’t require Matrix users to cast odd NickServ spells, and that will even reduce the risk of split brain on the IRC side. We can even get cloaks for free there!

They also have a very active staff. Their volunteers are not only ready to help projects willing to migrate to their platform: they are also very actively developing their stack, deploying new features to improve the quality of life on the platform.

We firmly believe they’re good partners to work with, and that they can make the IRC experience better for those of us who wish to stay on IRC. Even better: assuming our encouraging tests materialise in healthy IRC channels where spam can be handled properly, we may encourage the Matrix rooms owners to bridge to Libera Chat as well.

What’s going to happen?

Thib and ops have reserved the GNOME namespace on Libera Chat. This means the #gnome and all channels starting with #gnome- can be claimed by the Foundation ops.

We are making a list of all the GNOME rooms in our GNOME Matrix space and creating their Libera Chat counterpart. On Libera Chat, all channels in the #gnome namespace will:

  • Require IRC users to be registered against NickServ. Matrix users will not have to register against NickServ. If you’re using Matrix: you don’t have anything to do.
  • Either be muted if the Matrix room owner doesn’t want it to be bridged, or be unmuted and bridged to the corresponding Matrix room

We will send a server notice to GIMPnet users to tell them GNOME channels are moving to Libera Chat, and that they now need to be registered against NickServ to join the channels.

Finally, by the time we do the switch, all the GNOME channels of GIMPnet will be muted, and the topic will be updated to ask people to join the Libera Chat channels

I’m a Matrix user, what do I need to do?

The migration will be completely transparent for you. You have nothing to do 🎉

I’m a GIMPnet user, what do I need to do?

We’re going to update the irc.gnome.org CNAME record to point to libera.chat. We need to respect the #gnome- namespace on Libera Chat, which means some channels may need to have a different alias as compared to what they are today on GIMPnet.

  • For the channels that have a same alias: migration will be transparent for you.
  • For the channels that need to change alias: you will have to join them manually.

Finally, when we update the CNAME record, your IRC client will think it’s talking to the same network. If you are registered against GIMPnet’s NickServ, it’s going to send your GIMPnet credentials to Libera Chat’s NickServ. If this is a security issue for you, we recommend you to disable automatic identification before the switch. If you’re primarily looking for a transparent upgrade, we recommend you to define the same credentials for your GIMPnet and Libera Chat nick.

We’re going to perform the switch on November 7 2022, please make sure you read these instructions and configured your client accordingly.

Matrix instance clean-up

Restricting the accounts to Foundation members only

As you may know, the GNOME Matrix instance used to be very open in its early days. Everyone could register a Matrix account with a :gnome.org address. We have closed registrations since, as we don’t wish to grant GNOME-branded accounts to people who are not members of the GNOME Foundation. Only people with a @gnome.org email address can register an account on our Matrix instance.

We are going to suspend the Matrix accounts of people who are not GNOME Foundation members. If you have good reasons to and want to keep your account, we recommend you to apply for membership in the GNOME Foundation. In any other case, we’re asking you to pick another provider for your Matrix account. Of course, if you move to another provider you will be able to join the public Matrix rooms you were in without an issue.

Connecting your GNOME account

Once the cleaning up is done, we’re going to connect our Matrix instance to our SSO so you can connect with your GNOME account. Consistency across services, at last! But for this to work, we need to link your account on the GNOME Matrix instance with your GNOME account. We are going to do matching based on the email address.

Please update your email address on the GNOME Matrix instance to match your @gnome.org email alias before November 30 2022 or you may lose access to your GNOME Matrix account.