An IRC network founded around 1999 by a guy named Rob Levin, who started with good intentions but became a money-loving whore after he learned he could get donations from people stupid enough to donate to the network. Eventually more people got sucked into this facade, and the network grew. After Rob Levin died, Christel Dahlskjaer took over and made things a little better (but not much). On the whole, the network is still run by power-hungry IRC operators who can't get jack shit done, as shown by the extreme backlog of GCF requests.
People who are insane enough to develop for FreeNode are notoriously bad coders who spend their days smoking meth. Almost paradoxically, FreeNode has closed-sourced many core utilities such as Idoru (though nobody wants the code anyway). The devs also are famous for forking ircd's into piles of useless garbage that only morons who know nothing about IRC would run.
Anyone who has a respectable project that wants a host for their channel should consider hosting it themselves or on OFTC, rather than use FreeNode's "services."
Ugh, I'm so sick of FreeNode. I'm moving to EfNet.
An IRC server where lots of people in the free software (and I suppose open source) community get together and chat and help each other.
Its address is irc.freenode.net
=) freenode is a great IRC server