The srhuston.net network “started” quite a few years ago when Leigh wanted an IRC server he could call his own, where he could chat with friends invited to the service. When Leigh started working for me, at one point he mentioned having run his own server. Since I ran a server years before that, I first joined his and then started looking around at software. I installed a copy of the server software he was running, and we linked the servers. Eventually one of the other users on the network did the same, and we had three servers and services running on the network. Vydor shut his server down sometime before he moved to VA, and we remained as two.
After a while, we had some problems with services and the servers – they refused to properly sync no matter what, so services would op you and one of the servers would deop you right away. I looked at other services packages, and servers, and settled on Hybrid (since it had SSL – while we don’t talk about private issues, we may want to vent about people at work now and then and didn’t want the chance it could easily be sniffed) for the server daemon and ratbox-services for ChanServ/NickServ/etc. After getting mine setup and running, I gave Leigh the information for his config, he restarted with the new server, and we linked up again.
All the while running the network, I’d always wanted it to be bigger. Bring more people in to chat, and possibly more servers if needed (I’m not one who believes having 10 servers is great if you’ve only got 2 people on each one). I headed over to SearchIRC.com, and one of the posts I found on there got me to thinking. There’s a ton of IRC networks in existence… what does ours have to offer someone over the others? Friendly people, sure; but you can find friendly people anywhere. What does our network have that others don’t? This in mind, I didn’t bother advertising the network. I needed to figure out that answer first, then I could try to bring in more people.
Fast forward a bit. I see a post on SearchIRC for someone offering a server to link – doesn’t care what daemon is used. So I reply, mention that we’re running Hybrid (we’d just changed over to Atheme services the previous week, but that was uneventful) and mention the idea for the network that I’d been trying to solidify. The idea: We’re a place where people can go to learn how this all works! Yes, there’s a lot of IRC networks, but there’s a lot of people either new to IRC, or new to networking, who have no idea how it all goes together. Since the majority of the people who hang out in the main channel are very technically inclined (systems administrators mostly), we could “teach” other people how to run a network from the pure technical standpoint of it. Later that night, the person replied, and the network was under way. He connected the next day, and built a copy of Hybrid which we then linked into the network. After a few things I saw which I didn’t care for (including Hybrid’s lack of updates lately) I moved for a change to Charybdis, which we all ran for a while. But at some point that person disappeared, I don’t remember why. Leigh turned off his server when he was moving at one point because he didn’t want to have a static IP anymore. And in 2021 I shifted from Charybdis to UnrealIRCD since the former was “officially” dead.
So there it is – the history of how the srhuston.net IRC network was born. Maybe we’ll rename it at some point, if we can come up with a good name. And maybe the overall “mission” will change in time to something more or less specific. Maybe we won’t really have a mission anymore.