EFnet or Eris Free network is a major IRC network, with over 40,000 users. It is the modern-day descendant of the original IRC network.
IRC clients can connect to EFnet via irc.efnet.org which will connect to an EFnet IRC server at random (using round robin), or clients may wish to connect to a geographically closer server.
Initially, most IRC servers formed a single IRC network, to which new servers could join without restriction, but this was soon abused by people who set up servers to sabotage other users, channels, or servers. In August 1990, the server
eris.berkeley.edu remained the only one to allow anyone to connect to the servers.
A group of IRC server operators, with the support of Jarkko Oikarinen, introduced a new "Q-line" into their server configurations, to "quarantine" themselves away from eris by disconnecting from any subset of the IRC network as soon as they saw eris there.
For a few days, the entire IRC network suffered frequent netsplits, but eventually the majority of servers added the Q-line and effectively created a new separate IRC net called EFnet (Eris-Free Network); the remaining servers who stayed connected to eris (and thus were no longer able to connect to EFnet servers) were called A-net (Anarchy Network). A-net soon vanished, leaving EFnet as the only IRC network.
Continuing problems with performance and abuse eventually led to the rise of another major IRC network, Undernet, which split off in October 1992.
In July 1996, disagreement on policy caused EFnet to break in two: the slightly larger European half (including Australia and Japan) formed IRCnet, while the American servers continued as EFnet. This was known as The Great Split.
In July 2001, after a string of DDoS attacks a service called CHANFIX (originally JUPES) was created, which is designed to give back ops to channels which have lost ops or been taken over.
In 2007, various EFnet servers began implementing SSL.
February 2009 saw the introduction of a new CHANFIX module called OPME, a mechanism for EFnet Admins to use to restore ops in an opless channel. It provides a much cleaner alternative to masskill, which was unnecessarily invasive and disruptive to the network.
Later in 2009, some major IRC servers were delinked:
irc.pte.hu, EFnet's only UK server
efnet.demon.co.uk, and EFnet's only UK hub
hub.uk, which were sponsored by Demon Internet.
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