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Veggen's original history of the split.

From: Vegard Engen (
Subject: Re: Emerging network -- Server List & description
Newsgroups: alt.irc
Date: 2000/01/16

On Wed, 5 Jan 2000 19:02:29 -0800, RckJones wrote: [snip]

>>IRC got to where it is because of the "elite" attitude, as you so put it.

> Oh did it? Like how the original EFnet split in mid 96 because of petty
>politics by the "elites" with no respect for the users? Or how the EFnet has
>become unusable for many because of a lack of channel services, with the
>"elites" who run the EFnet say go elsewhere. Face it, while IRC is growing
>at a "steady pace", it has not even kept pace with the growth of the number
>of internet users. Users, bith skilled and unskilled, have just gone
>elsewhere. The lack of change when it comes to IRC is depressing none the

Just to clear up a few facts abouut the EFNet/IRCNet split.

First: I'm one of the very few persons on the IRCnet side who was responsible for it happened. I'm not really proud of it, or the way we did it (we pissed off a LOT of people on our side too), but....

Second: I believe it had to happen anyways. There was numerous disputes going on at the time. The border wasn't exactly at the atlantic, but more or less. One of the things we were discussing before the split, was a common set of rules for IRC-operators. We (Europe) wanted quite restricted usage of /kill, among other things. This rule *had* to be there for the ruleset to be acceptable to us. Many US operators, namely one of the hub operators, and a person no non-hun-admin in US dared speak against, did NOT want this. They wanted their precious /kill, and NO person was gonna say how they used it. This, at least, is how _I_ understood the situation, and I believe it to be pretty accurate.

Third, there was the timestamp/nick delay dispute. Some people, including me, said at the time it had nothing to do with the split. In reality, it did, I guess. None of the two nick-reducing techniques is quite effective unless implemented throughout the network. And none of the sides was willing to give up THEIR way. Thus, the conflict was unavoidable, sooner or later. I'm not going to list up reasons for/against either of them now, there are pros and cons of both of them.

Now, the way it happened, was this: was the only reasonably-connected hub that Europe had available at the time. People on both sides of the pond relied on that link for talking to their overseas friends. The admin of it was, by many people, regarded as an irresponsible and childish person, but was, in imho, no worse than some of the people who complained about him. A week or so before the split, a US admin decided he'd had enough of this admin, and cut him off, and thereby also Europe, not giving warning to any europeans or trying to reroute Europe. This was in the middle of the night, european time. This was of course not taken lightly, and we got the insurances it would not happen against until the problem with Europe/US-link had been resolved. This happened at the sime time as the dispute about the rules.

A couple of us European admins had informally discussed a new tactic against the unruly US admins. We believed that most US admins was REALLY in favour of some order and rules, but just didn't want to say against the hub- administrator that could cut their links at will. Thus, we conducted some secret polls. Now, our strategy would be to call it "a new network", consisting of nothing more, nothing less, than the amount of servers who wanted strict rules. Thus, it was never meant to be a large inconvenience to anyone, we just wanted to get rid of a few people we believed it was impossible to cooperate with.

The night of the split, we were three-four european admns in a hidden channel, discussing the events. This was when the before mentioned hub-admin squitted again, thereby cutting the US/Europe link. We now believed we were so far in our other plans, that we decided there and then that we was gonna declare our new network as it happend. We quickly wrote an announcement and sent it off to operlist.

Now, as it turns out, americans can be QUITE patriotic. To point of silliness, sometimes. It was never meant as an attack against america, but suddenly the whole of america gathered in a massive support campaign against those "damned europeans". The american side was a little larger, userbase-wise, and also was more of the center, network-wise, so many other parts of the world decided to stay with them. Some exceptions was Japan and Australia. Well, because of this patriotism, all those people in US who'd been in favour of rules and had said they'd probably support our strategy, turned around again. This became a US vs. Europe dispute.

The two parts of the network never joined again, and remained two separate networks, but both two emerged among the very largest networks that exists today.

This is my version of the split in -96, and I've *tried* not to make it TOO biased :)

- Vegard