The freenode project began as #linuxneo, a tiny GNU/Linux support channel, created by Rob Levin in 1994 on EFNet IRC. The 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 the freenode project continues to operate as before.
Today, the freenode project plays host to somewhere in the region of 90,000 users and just shy of 50,000 registered channels.
The freenode project is managed entirely by a small team of enthusiastic volunteers who all share a passion for free and open source software and peer-directed project communities. You can learn more about the people behind freenode here.
The freenode project has experienced immense growth over the years and, in line with its original vision, the project provides interactive discussion facilities to a number of free and open source software communities and other peer-directed projects.
Peer-directed projects combine open, informal participation with broad licensing and wide dissemination of output.
You can read more about the Philosophy on which freenode is founded here.