Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy New Year! Here Are Some Beginning-of-the-Year Changes

Hello all,

First off, I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe new year, one that will be good and prosperous to all.

As some of you might have noticed, I restarted the network in the early hours of January 01 to implement some changes that I've queued up for the month of December. These changes are worth mentioning but aren't all important in the grand scheme of things.

Without further ado, let's get started!

1. CAP chghost and cycling of hosts going forward

The first change out to be a noticeable one: from now on, when a user changes their displayed host, they will no longer be shown as quitting with the message Changing host. Instead, the new IRCv3 3.2 feature chghost will be used.

Before, cycling of hosts still occurred even if you had the chghost capability enabled, which is redundant. Due to InspIRCd 2 limitations, it isn't possible to only show host cycles to users who don't have the cap, because it is a core feature. This is fixed in InspIRCd 3, and so the behavior might change again on Techtronix when that is finally released (a release candidate might come out at the end of 2018).

Clients that do not support the chghost cap will have to use ordinary /who polling, which most clients did before this capability was developed

2. Tor DNSBL ban times extended

Due to the large influx of Tor-based connection spam over the past month of December, I'm bumping the ban time from 1 day to 7 for these types of connections. This should reduce the amount of log spam I see and cache the results for longer. Techtronix has no current plans to implement a Tor bridge either.

3. New Easter-eggs!

I've made some behind-the-scenes changes to how network spam filtering works, adding Z-Line support.

You can now ban yourself from the network for 10 seconds using the !glineme and !zlineme commands, akin to the !killme Easter-egg.

4. New wait time for nick registrations

NickServ now requires that you wait on the network for 5 minutes before registering. I've had this set to 10 minutes for the past few weeks due to some pesky bots but this is a sane limit that I believe balances practicality with network protection.

5. Fake lag exemptions for authenticated users

If you are a registered user on Techtronix and connect using SASL, you can now chat on the network without any form of fake lag, aka "message throttling". However, the amount of data you can send to the server has not changed. Users who like to submit ASCII art to channels might appreciate this, but remember to throttle how many lines you send or you will get disconnected!

If this feature poses a problem in the future, I may remove it.

6. Web chat going forward

KiwiIRC is developing their next generation web client, known as "kiwinext" or "nextclient". Feel free to give it a try by visiting this link. Eventually, I hope to get all communities to adopt this version of KiwiIRC, as it features a refreshed design built with support for mobile devices from the ground up.

Techtronix still continues to support Mibbit, the stable version of KiwiIRC, and lightIRC using flash policy port 8430 and will continue to do so indefinitely.

7. Channel history in regards to bot users

Users who are marked as a bot will no longer receive channel history messages, as this can cause issues. I submitted this patch upstream as well for InspIRCd 2.0 and it was accepted. More or less, I backported the change from InspIRCd 3 without even realizing it, and I had to rebase the final version of the patch to make it forward-compatible.

8. Ban system improved

As many might know, InspIRCd 2.0 behavior is to send the message akin to "you are banned from this server" as a server NOTICE instead of the way the IRC protocol specifies, numeric 465 (ERR_YOUREBANNEDCREEP). I have corrected this on Techtronix and now the correct message is sent.

9. Port 6667 rejection message updated

I have updated the insecure connection rejection message to the following:
*** Insecure/plaintext connections have been disabled on Techtronix since January 01, 2017. Please connect using TLS on port 6697 or contact network staff for an exemption.

10. SASL gates updated

There are various SASL gateways (requiring SASL to connect) on Techtronix to help prevent abuse from openly free VPN providers, third world countries that produce a lot of bot spam from compromised hosts, etc. I have updated some of these gates to include additional third world countries and removed some restrictions on cell phone providers. However, I will reinstate these if I see an abuse uptick again.