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On IRC bootstrapping

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Thanks soultcer for talking with the Freenode staffer.  Good to know it's OK at the current size, and now they know who we are.  They're supportive of projects like TOR so I hope they would probably be friendly to us.  We don't want to overstay our welcome.  If we get too big, then by the same token, we're big enough that we don't need IRC anymore and we'll get off.

We only needed IRC because nobody had a static IP.  In the early days there were some steady supporters, but they all had pool-allocated IPs that change every few days.  IRC was only intended as a temporary solution.  Bitcoin's built-in addr system is the main solution.

Bitcoin can get the list of IPs from any bitcoin node.  In that sense, every node serves as a directory server.

When there are enough static IP nodes to have a good chance that at least one will still be running by the time the current version goes out of use, we can preprogram a seed list.

How do you think we should compile the seed list?  Would it be OK to create it from the currently connected IPs that have been static for a while?

BTW, if we want to supplement by deploying separate directory server software, may I suggest IRC?  IRC is a good directory server (I've heard it has other uses too), and there are mature IRC server implementations available that anyone can run. Smiley  Bitcoin's IRC client implementation is already thoroughly tested.
Bitcoin has its own distributed address directory using the "addr" message.  It's about time we coded in a list of the current long running static nodes to seed from.  I can add code so new nodes do not preferentially stay connected to the seed nodes, just connect and get the list, so it won't be a burden on them.

What do you think, should I go ahead with adding the seeds?

It'll still try IRC first.  The IRC has the advantage that it lists nodes that are currently online, since they have to stay connected to stay on the list, but the disadvantage that it's a single point of failure.  The "addr" system has no single point of failure, but can only tell you what nodes have recently been seen, so it takes a little longer to get connected since some of the nodes you try have gone offline.  The combination of the two gets us the best of both worlds and more total robustness.

Is there anyone who wants to volunteer to run an IRC server in case freenode gets tired of us?
The SVN version now uses IRC first and if that fails it falls back to a hardcoded list of seed nodes.  There are enough seed nodes now that many of them should still be up by the time of the next release.  It only briefly connects to a seed node to get the address list and then disconnects, so your connections drop back to zero for while.  At that point, be patient.  It's only slow to get connected the first time.

This means TOR users won't need to -addnode anymore, it'll get connected automatically.  
I run an IRC server you can use, it's fairly stable but it's not on redundant connections or anything.  It is only two servers right now but we don't mess with it or anything, it just runs.

My box is a dedicated irc server:
 2:28PM  up 838 days, 20:54, 1 user, load averages: 0.06, 0.08, 0.08

You can use irc.lfnet.org to connect.
This seems like a good idea.

What does everyone think, should we make the switch for 0.3?
Everybody needs to connect to the same IRC server and channel so they can find each other.

You may want to leave Freenode in as a fallback server -- if his server doesn't work, use Freenode's.
It might not be good if we suddenly rushed freenode with a ton of users all at once.

The fallback is our own seed system.

irc.lfnet.org is pretty old and has impressive uptime.  I think it's going to be fine.

We could take IRC out at some point if we want, but I'd rather ease into it and just test our own seed system as a backup for now, and I really like the complementary redundant attributes of the two different systems.