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IRC: Internet Relay Chat

Last Edit: 10/01/17

IRC stands for 'Internet Relay Chat' and was developed in 1988 by Jarkko Oikarinen. Oikarinen created IRC while he worked in the Department of Information Processing Science at the University of Oulu (Finland). Oikarinen was assisted in developing the protocol for IRC by Darren Reed. Oikarinen claims that the inspiration for IRC came from chat programs like MultiUser Talk (MUT) and Bitnet Relay Chat. Oikarinen states that the first people he contacted about his IRC technology were located at a range of international universities, and these people helped to popularise the use of IRC; they include: Vijay Subramaniam, Jeff Trim, David Bleckmann and Todd Ferguson.

IRC is defined as an 'open protocol', and is part of the application layer of the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). Like with many application layer protocols, the IRC protocol uses and works alongside the the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) of the Internet protocol suite. The protocol of IRC was standardised in the following Request For Comment documents: RFC 1459, 2810, 2811, 2812 and 2813. IRC can be classed as:

IRC is based on a client-server model. A user runs a client program on their computer, such as MIRC, which connects the user to a server connected to the Internet. The server links to other servers to form a IRC network. This allows messages from one user (client) to be transported to another. This means that people from all over the world can talk to each other "live" and simultaneously. While IRC usage has decreased with the advent of voice/video communication - like with Skype - there are still hundreds of thousands of IRC users and channels.

There are a number of popular IRC client programs, such as:

  1. Mirc
  2. Pirch
  3. Virc
  4. Ircle
  5. MacIrc

What do you need:

  1. Connection to the Internet
  2. IRC client program such as:
    1. mIRC for the Windows operating system
    2. ircII for UNIX
    3. Ircle for Macintosh