Our IRC Channel is at ##linux-india on freenode. Use an IRC chat client like xchat, gaim, bitchX or whatever, connect to freenode and type /join ##linux-india at the prompt. Join in the fun and serious discussions there.
The channel has been operating from 24th June 2004. The current attendance ranges from 25 to 50 at any given time. There are members from all over the country and from many foreign countries too. The channel is alive 24/7. There are big contingents from Delhi and Bangalore, and smaller numbers from the other centres. We have visitors from Germany, Ireland, Australia, Morocco, Nepal, England, Russia ...
The channel has the usual rules that govern IRC channels, but they have never been formally written down. Here are a few:
1. Anyone can change the topic, but the entries should be relevant to FOSS, no commercial advertisements that are not related to FOSS. Keep your additions brief.
2. SMS-speak, morse code and l33t sp34k are frowned upon.
3. The language of the channel is English, but brief greetings and comments in any other language is ok. Longer discussions should be in English.
4. Obscene language is barred. Yes, even the F word
5. Avoid sexist remarks. We have few lady visitors, and they are treated well. At times certain individuals get excited at the sight of a female login and start trying to attract attention. These are usually guys who would run a mile from an articulate woman in real life. We recommend the use of the 'ignore' button in case of such harassment.
6. Generally keep on topic, but offtopic chats about cricket, politics, the world in general and personal matters are ok, provided they dont disturb serious discussions.
7. Flame wars are ok as long as personal abuse is avoided
8. Bots not allowed. There has been discussion on the desirability of having a logging bot only to log urls posted. If that comes through, the urls will be posted in a searchable database here.
9. Religion: Abstract discussions on religion (sysadmin skills of god for example) are ok, but avoid discussion on any specific religion practiced in India
10. Politics: bush bashing, government bashing, politician bashing are fine - but discussion of specific political parties (mal)functioning in India is not a good idea.
11. Being politically correct: We are not big on this - you wont be banned if you said 'linux' instead of 'GNU/Linux'. Similarly use of words like mallu, bong, behari, madrassi etc. It is advisable to use these in a friendly manner and *only* when you know the person involved and know he/she would not mind - avoid it if you don't know the person involved or if he has a short fuse.
12. No one can prevent you from privately logging the channel - but avoid doing so. And even if you do, expect an extremely hot reaction if you ever publish any part of those logs. (In general, in IRC, channels that are logged proclaim the fact on entry into the channel - the logs are online, public and hence cannot be tampered with. Whereas private logs are always suspect as they can easily be cooked up.
The channel has several ops who usually remain invisible. Some of them, in no particular order are:
OldMonk, vIkSiT, Hobbes`, mishti, t3rmin4t0r, kbsingh, f3ew, stephdg, tazz
It is very rare for anyone to be kicked/banned on this channel with the exception of bots and obvious spammers. You may be kicked if you are continously abusive or keep flooding the channel.
There is a discussion on whether it is necessary to frame a policy on who gets ops.
Rules for ops
1. Remain invisible as far as possible
2. Warn several times before a kick. Kick several times before a ban
3. Dont take unilateral action. Consult other ops or senior members present on channel (not on PM) before taking action
4. Remove bans at the earliest
5. When an op is involved in a flame war (ops are also allowed to have fun) he should avoid threatening his opponent with kicks and bans. If the opponent is violating channel policy he should call in another op to deal with it or use the ignore button.
Using xchat: on Mandrake:
Fill in username, nickname, alternate name etc
Select Freenode in the servers list and click on connect
When connected register your nick. Type '/msg nickserv help' to learn how to register
If your nick is registered, identify yourself by typing: '/msg nickserv identify yournick yourpassword'
Join the channel: /join ##linux-india
Lurk until you get the feel of the the channel. On the right hand side you will see a list of members present. You can right click on a member's name to get some info on the member - usually the info will not give a real name and address. Dont ask if you can ask a question. Just ask. You may not get an answer immediatly - you may never get an answer, or you may get one after some time. Be polite, be helpful. Dont ask members their real names - you never know if they are on the run from the law (or from their mother-in-law), dont ask what they are doing. Dont PM anyone without permission. Being Indians, we can never rest unless we know where a person is from, so its ok to ask that, but dont expect a truthful answer.
Same procedure can be used with other IRC clients too.
To see the collection of prior postings to the list, visit the linux-india-channel Archives.
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