History and Growth
The chart below plots the increase in size of freenode over time. The network began as #linuxneo, a tiny GNU/Linux support channel, created by Rob Levin in 1994 on EFNet IRC. That channel soon changed its name to #LinPeople. By 1995, after moving to Undernet and then DALnet, #LinPeople became a small network, irc.linpeople.org. In early 1998, it became Open Projects Net, with about 200 users and fewer than 20 channels.
In 2002, Open Projects Net became freenode, a service of Peer-Directed Projects Center, a tax-exempt corporation.
In 2013, the Peer-Directed Projects Center shut down; however freenode continues to operate as before.
Over the years, freenode has used a few different IRC daemons. In 1999, we began using dancer, which was based on IRCD-Hybrid. We switched to hyperion (based on dancer) in 2005. Since 2010, freenode has used ircd-seven, based on charybdis.
Today freenode peaks at around 85,000 users and contains around 40,000 channels.