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It struck me why almost every open source project which holds an IRC channel does it on FreeNode. IRC is a multi-server protocol and thus I would expect that reasonably big part of OSS community would be scattered over different services. Are there some (perhaps historical) reasons for such polarization?

I admit there are exceptions, like Mozilla hosting own server, or some projects using Gitter, but, as I said, these are exceptions.

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    IIRC Freenode is an IRC network, not a single server. And using an existing service is simpler than hosting your own, especially for smaller projects – which are the vast majority of projects. – amon Jun 15 '17 at 19:01
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IRC is a multi server protocol in that you can use multiple servers to run one IRC network, consider it like load balancing.

So as to why the majority of projects are on there is not a question with a simple defined answer. First of all, there are other IRC networks which host projects too, OFTC being the other big one. Why are the majority on Freenode? probably because it is one of the bigger longer running IRC networks and if it has the majority of users then you want to have your project channel hosted where the largest number of users are, hence Freenode. Perhaps the project creators were already users of Freenode and for ease of use continue to host their channels on Freenode.

Hosting maintaining and moderating an IRC network is no small task and for the majority of smaller projects, the time lost to chasing these issues would be better spent working on the project itself.

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