While Undernet is far from dead (a /list will say as much), the number of active servers does appear to be dwindling (big thanks to the people behind Hamburg.de.eu.undernet.org for joining) and those that --are supposed to be active are nigh-on impossible to connect to. Whether that is a cause of Undernet -dying-, or a symptom, may be up for debate.
Just to rant on the connection issues... this might in part be on the user's end; i.e. the identd thing. Why the servers continue to all-but-insist on this being active, even though most people will not have this port open and will pose problems for multiple people behind a single router anyway, is beyond me.. but it's clear that it causes a good chunk of the issues as connection attempts will usually stall right after the server complains about the lack of an identd.
Another part might be somewhere in the configuration of the servers. For example, I'm often met with this message (not specific to Helsinki):
[08@20:40:29] -Helsinki.FI.EU.Undernet.org- *** Your forward and reverse DNS do not match, ignoring hostname.
Yet my own ISP's DNS, the Google DNS, lookupserver dot com and others show that my IP resolves exactly to my hostname and my hostname resolves exactly to my IP. They match just fine. So what's it really trying to say there?
And then of course there's just the inexplicable connection attempts that seem to go... but then just drop or stall indefinitely. E.g.
[08@20:31:06] -Helsinki.FI.EU.Undernet.org- on 1 ca 1(4) ft 10(10) tr
[08@20:32:59] *  Software caused connection abort
[08@20:35:33] -Hamburg.DE.EU.undernet.org- Highest connection count: 5929 (5928 clients)
Message of the Day, Hamburg.DE.EU.undernet.org
[08@20:37:46] * Disconnected <-- forced quit because it wasn't going anywhere
That's not to mention the completely oddball (to the end-user) events where you are, seemingly, the only person to be dropped from a particular server*.. you try to reconnect to that same server.. and it won't go. IRC client tries the next server, and the next, and so on, and if your client's server list has already been pruned from servers that refuse to connect you, it will end back up at that same server and there's a good chance you can suddenly connect to it again. * Then you ask in your favorite channel whether there was a netsplit, or if anybody else got disconnected. Nope, it was just you. Go fig.
For what it's worth... I'm in The Netherlands, on the Ziggo network, and here's the results from trying to connect to the servers in the server list (note that there's two.. the incredibly oudated one you'll find via google for 'undernet servers' and is listed in wikipedia (http://www.undernet.org/servers.php
... I will edit the wikipedia entry to fix that link though more information seems seriously outdated) and the far more up-to-date one (http://help.undernet.org/faq.php?what=serverlist
) which I only just now spotted in a random thread, so the below results include some servers from the first list that are already no longer listed on the second list.. I've put those separately at the end) at this moment, all connection attempts made on the default port, 6667:
- bucharest.ro.eu.undernet.org (22.214.171.124 -> 82-76-255-62.rdsnet.ro) - Connection attempt timed out
- Budapest.HU.EU.UnderNet.org (126.96.36.199 -> ircu.atw.hu) - DNS warning, identd warning, Connected OK
- Diemen.NL.EU.Undernet.Org (188.8.131.52 -> undernet.xs4all.nl) - DNS warning, identd warning, Connected OK
- Hamburg.DE.EU.undernet.org (3) - (184.108.40.206 -> irc.euro-transit.net) - DNS warning, identd warning, Connected OK
- Hamburg.DE.EU.undernet.org - (attempt #2, 3, 5, 9) - Connection attempt timed out. Probably still working on stability.
- Helsinki.FI.EU.Undernet.org (220.127.116.11 -> irc2.saunalahti.fi) - Long (90s) delay at 'looking up your hostname', Registration Timeout (1). This was a one-time occurrence, it seems.
- Helsinki.FI.EU.Undernet.org (attempt #2+) - DNS warning, identd warning, Connected OK
- Lelystad.NL.EU.UnderNet.Org (18.104.22.168 -> dana.basefreak.nl) - Connection attempt timed out
- Lidingo.SE.EU.Undernet.org (4) - (22.214.171.124 -> lidingo.se.eu.undernet.org) (5) - Connection attempt timed out
- mesa.az.us.undernet.org (126.96.36.199 -> irc3.easynews.com) - Connection attempt timed out
- mesa2.az.us.undernet.org (188.8.131.52 -> irc3.easynews.com) - Connection attempt timed out
- newyork.ny.us.undernet.org (184.108.40.206 -> unable to resolve) - Connection attempt timed out
- SantaAna.CA.US.Undernet.org (220.127.116.11 -> ircu.krypt.com) - Connection attempt timed out
- Tampa.FL.US.Undernet.org (18.104.22.168 -> Tampa.FL.US.Undernet.org) (5) - *  Software caused connection abort
- Ede.NL.EU.UnderNet.Org - Disqualified for round-robin DNS (2)
- Elsene.Be.Eu.undernet.org - Disqualified for round-robin DNS (2)
- graz.at.Eu.UnderNet.org (22.214.171.124 -> zidpc248.tu-graz.ac.at) - Connection attempt timed out - Was confirmed de-linked
- oslo.no.eu.undernet.org - Disqualified for round-robin DNS (2)
- trondheim.no.eu.undernet.org - Disqualified for round-robin DNS (2)
- Vancouver.BC.CA.Undernet.org (126.96.36.199 -> unable to resolve) - Connection attempt timed out- Was confirmed de-linked
Note that while connecting straight to Helsinki, I got a Registration Timeout. The second time (via Oslo which really was Helsinki anyway (2)), it was slow to connect but OK. The third time through Oslo gave a Connection attempt timeout. The fourth time straight to Helsinki again, it connected me very quickly. It's indicative of trying to connect to most servers.. it's just very unreliable - And this isn't helped by the whole round-robin DNS people get thrown on when trying to connect to some servers (2).
1)Your client may not be compatible with this server.
Compatible clients are available at ftp://ftp.undernet.org/pub/irc/clients
[08@21:17:32] Server error: ERROR Closing Link: ZB_WpmamJJ by Helsinki.FI.EU.Undernet.org (Registration Timeout)
2) The round-robin DNS is essentially a server listed under a given name causing a connection attempt to a different server altogether due to the DNS record pointing to e.g. eu.undernet.org, the DNS record of which in turn points to a variety of IP addresses. These IP addresses are of other UnderNet servers - however, several of them are inactive. Trondheim, below, is a good example where it actually referenced another server which gave another round-robin DNS. The idea is arguably a good one.. when a node leaves the network, people using its name in their connection settings should automatically be connected to a different server and they can chat on IRC as usual while at the same time spreading the connections of users who used to use that server to multiple other servers. Where it falls apart is when that redirect is to other non-existent nodes and the user is left none the wiser as to why sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Hence the 'arguably' as I would argue that it would be better for the hostname to be dropped entirely so that the user can take appropriate action (selecting an active server as their new default).
Note that none of these servers are listed in the alternative and up-to-date servers list.
[08@21:29:25] * Dns resolving trondheim.no.eu.undernet.org
[08@21:29:25] * Dns resolved trondheim.no.eu.undernet.org to 188.8.131.52
[08@21:29:28] * Dns resolving 184.108.40.206
[08@21:29:28] * Dns resolved 220.127.116.11 to oslo.no.eu.undernet.org
[08@21:29:32] * Dns resolving oslo.no.eu.undernet.org
[08@21:29:32] * Dns resolved oslo.no.eu.undernet.org to 18.104.22.168
[08@21:29:35] * Dns resolving 22.214.171.124
[08@21:29:35] * Dns resolved 126.96.36.199 to undernet.xs4all.nl
[08@21:29:40] * Dns resolving undernet.xs4all.nl
[08@21:29:40] * Dns resolved undernet.xs4all.nl to 188.8.131.52
[08@21:29:43] * Dns resolving 184.108.40.206
[08@21:29:43] * Dns resolved 220.127.116.11 to undernet.xs4all.nl
[08@21:29:55] * Dns resolving oslo.no.eu.undernet.org
[08@21:29:55] * Dns resolved oslo.no.eu.undernet.org to 18.104.22.168
[08@21:31:06] * Dns resolving oslo.no.eu.undernet.org
[08@21:31:06] * Dns resolved oslo.no.eu.undernet.org to 22.214.171.124
[08@21:31:16] * Dns resolved 126.96.36.199 to dana.basefreak.nl
[08@21:31:19] * Dns resolving dana.basefreak.nl
[08@21:31:19] * Dns resolved dana.basefreak.nl to 188.8.131.52
3) mentioned in: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=11677
4) mentioned in: viewtopic.php?p=37107#p37107
5) I'm not sure how valid the servers that have DNS records that resolve to themselves are. neither work, regardless.
But even when you can connect, the channels are all smaller (symptom of people migrating to facebook/MSN/Skype/whathaveyou?), bots appear to run amuck (see other threads on forum), the main parts of the website aren't being updated (also see other threads on forum), channel modes (+r, +D) to help deal with bots / ban evaders being illogical in their effect, etc. and in general I'm seeing a lot of people saying that they remembered IRC being a far more fun place.. then again, maybe they're just getting old
Regardless... UnderNet does appear to be 'dying' since 20009 ( http://irc.netsplit.de/networks/details ... menu=years
) I'd say IRC in general appears to be dying but this isn't true for more specialty servers.. e.g. quakenet is still highly popular for gamers and several games offer a built-in chat functionality that is essentially an IRC client hardcoded to connect to that network.
That said.. I'm not blaming anybody.. things are what they are and I know several people participating in the forums are trying hard to make the best of the situation.. but in the end, perhaps IRC in the form of UnderNet, DalNet, EFNet, etc. is just something that is naturally downscaling in favor of other, more rich, media.. and there's really very little that network/server operators can do about that.* Edited by Eenie to change size of a portion of the post to make it readable.