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Those aren't really messengers.

Unix talk is pretty close. Also, BBS chat software would be another good example, although that was somewhat rare since few BBS systems had multiple lines and even on the ones that did you wouldn't just hang out waiting to chat.

I missed the low UIN boat on ICQ because I was solidly into FreeBSD back then and the ICQ client was only on Windows. It also looked sketchy as hell with the crudely drawn flower icon and public domain sound effects. I didn't join for years and ended up with a barely 7 digit UIN.

I had a friend that would only talk over ICQ, waaaay after its heyday. I don't remember when I created the account, but I ended up with a 9-digit ID...which I somehow still remember. I was able to log in for the first time in probably 3 years (and input my password for about the first time in 10 years. Pidgin had been configured to auto-login to ICQ on a previous machine of mine).

The flower icon reminds me of the 60s Austin Powers vibe. Wonder if that was the intent?

What about IRC?

IRC is not a messenger-type thing; it's not a local client, it never had a system-wide single handle - you had to register on each network, if it was possible at all.

The typing and receiving may be similar, but the approach is different.

I seem IRC as more of a group chat application. You could direct message people on it, but its purpose was closer to a forum than a messaging app.

Define "messenger."

All of the above (save perhaps write) allow two users to converse freely, over a network. Sounds like a messenger to me.

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