Messaging Software: Internet Relay Chat, Part 2 in a Series

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Date: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2002, 11:21
Category: Archive

Internet Relay Chat or “IRC” was born in the summer of 1988 when Jarkko Oikarinen wrote the first IRC client and server at the University of Oulu, Finland where he was working at the Department of Information Processing Science. Jarkko eventually got some friends at the Universities of Helsinki and Tampere to start running IRC servers as the numbers of users steadily increased.

Jarkko got in touch with guys at the University of Denver and Oregon State University who had gotten an IRC network running and wanted to connect to the Finnish national network (which was known as Funet). From Funet they also connected to Nordunet, the Scandinavian branch of the Internet. In November of 1988, IRC had slowly started its spread across the virtual world.

Over the next twelve years, series of disagreements caused users to fork off and create separate networks to reside on. These separate networks have allowed for IRC’s success over the years because there are so many different groups available. Today there exists hundreds of independent IRC networks (including: amiganet, linuxnet, galaxynet, bestnet, NewNet, AnotherNet, Chat Net, UpperNet, ZAnet, X-Net, GammaNet, SuperChat, IceNet, RedBrasil, GR-Net, AlphaStar, SorceryNet etc….)

Today IRC can be either seen as a mainstream or alternative client (depending on your personal preference) for real–time chatting. Unlike instant messaging clients, many IRC communities swap and share various files ranging from software to the latest music video shown on MTV.

I started using IRC four years ago on the recommendation of a good friend. To me, IRC seemed like an underground passageway or dark alley that most people didn’t know yielded the true gold of the Internet. Within a few short weeks of my introduction, I had mastered the basics of IRC and come across a few chat communities that welcomed me into their world of text. Four years later, I have become a full fledged IRC addict, which only continues to be exploited by the wonderful IRC clients available for Mac OS X.

What is your favorite IRC client? Tell us about it and why in the comments section below.

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