It's become a social network of sorts for geeks, despite the age of the protocol I still find it the least "invasive" and most friendly experience, but that's probably because I spent the time configuring a client that's nice for me. (preview: http://imgs.fyi/img/9ve2.png )
I run a network even, called darkscience and it's available at irc.darkscience.net (TLS only on port 6697) the lobby is #darkscience
ircs://irc.darkscience.net:6697/#darkscience (for those that can parse the url!).
Everyone here is welcome to join us of course, but we put a high emphasis on civility.
Compare to Slack or Signal or Discord where the client is some half a gig chomping behemoth that spins up the CPU fans constantly.
But debugging, deep code inspection and so on are complex features used by specialists.
Slack is designed to be used by everyone; thus I don't give it as much of a pass. Because if everyone in my company is using a CPU core and 1GiB of memory to just talk to people then that's a very high actual cost of resources.
Just like you can forgive specialist software in other areas (final cut, photoshop, CAD) taking significant resources.
Tools designed to be used by everyone should be lean, optimised and feature complete. In my opinion.
DarkScience is a good community, I'm not very active, I lurk a bit, but these days my social network is all on Discord. I've ran my own independent IRCd before using ngircd and it was great for my small community, but now that they're just all on Discord, it's kind of pointless for me to run a daemon.
I do dream of hosting an IRCd again if Discord ever goes too far. We do talk about reverse engineering and such so we are kind of at their mercy. I think the one thing IRC is missing is a solid client for those of us who like desktop / mobile clients. There's no reason an IRC client can't preview images and render youtube videos like Slack does, at least for those of us who like that kind of thing, I know some IRC users like their terminal clients.
Edit: Just saw your other comment, I'll check out your setup later this week!
I find that what I want out of a chat client is something that can easily idle in the background and beep at me if someone @'s my username, with a way to handle missed messages, but I've never really gotten irssi setup in a way that feels comfortable for that kind of flow. Something about the way IRC works seems to encourage me to just hop on if I have a question for a community, and then hop off when I'm done to avoid people trying to follow up with me while I'm not there. It's hard for me to imagine what the IRC experience looks like for the people who hang out there seemingly semi-permanently
What you're requesting is actually the normal way most of the people I talk to use IRC. I have a highlight buffer script which keeps a history of all the times I get mentioned, and weechat supports libnotify so if your desktop is able to get pop-ups then you will be notified on highlight. (I use dunst for this).
There are also Quake-like terminal emulators that drop down on hotkey- these are also quite common and can make it really easy to just check what's going on when you have a spare second.
I will write a blog post about how to achieve my setup for linux users since there seems to have been mild interest. And I'll do some work on packaging it up so it's easy to take the bits that people like. I am using a fair number of plugins though.
this is what I have loaded (they are all on the weechat scripts site, just google the filename and "weechat):
bashorg.pl@ colorize_lines.pl@ notify_send.pl@ sysinfo.pl@
beep.pl highmon.pl@ perlexec.pl@ volumeter.pl
autosort.py@ colorize_nicks.py@ fullwidth.py@ otr.py@ ws_replace.py@ zncplayback.py@
bandwidth.py@ edit.py go.py@ urlgrab.py@ xfer_setip.py@
chanop.py@ emoji2alias.py@ ichatts.py@ vimode.py@ zncnotice.py@
Where can I check for your blog post (assuming you decide to put one up)?
Since I don't know how to easily package it I just took a tar of my .weechat and .config/alacritty directories, which should at least help you get started if you want an identical setup to mine. You just need to change your username in .weechat/irc.conf
I seem to use IRC in irregular bouts, like half a year consecutively and then not at all for a year.
Is there a popular IRC plugin / protocol for pretty printed math formulas? This is also what I miss a lot on HN, but I understand it's due to a more programming centric audience. I wish either HN had math formulas, or a fork of HN directed toward scientists / engineers / mathematicians allowed it.
Most cloud providers (GCE, AWS, Azure) don't seem to mind though.
I am certain that Linode won't give you any grief as long as you make some effort to keep botnets from abusing your service.
I've personally checked with our Network Operations team, and ran a test with a teammate. We do not currently block IRC ports.
It’s the DDoS attacks they didn’t like dealing with, but I suppose that’s one way of describing it.
I can't speak for the other services, but we have a very active IRC channel. I run my IRC instance off of a Linode I created just for that purpose.
Doesn't it just broadcast your IP address pretty plainly?
Cloaks apply uniformally but will not mask the last bit of your reversed hostname. So it might leak info about your ISP or region but not your full IP.
What you stated is true of vanity vhosts though. Which will mask the whole record only if you’re logged in. :)
IRCds such as InspIRCd and UnrealIRCd speak of cloaks in the sense of user mode +x, commonly set on connection, which scrambles an incoming user's hostname/IP address to e.g. hidden-5npgt1.iinet.net.au or hidden-qjia2j.ncp0.j4h4.014d.2804.IP.
Freenode, nota bene the largest IRC network right now, uses cloaks to instead refers to a special format of vHost. It does not offer Unreal-style cloaking.
I imagine this difference in terminology is what's prompted this exchange.
I do see what IP you're connecting from, but that information is limited to me only, and it's not like I care unless you're doing something very harmful to the service in which case I would ban you based on IP most likely.
I dealt with a lot of user drama as an ircop on a large network. I really started to turn negative toward it (especially efnet/dalnet) when I started noticing that toxic users would basically create profiles of other users to use for trolling, blackmail or whatever else was on their imagination at the time.
You can think you're fairly anonymous but when you start having the casual conversations that IRC can lead to and a lurker is logging each users text into separate buckets they'll eventually be able to infer quite a bit about you over the 5+ years you're around casually chatting.
I'm just not comfortable entering rooms that have 50 active users and 900 lurkers anymore. This is probably a fairly paranoid outtake since I've seen these things happen, but they do or have happened and it really wasn't that infrequent back then (early 2ks).
Gotta have a way of putting up baby yoda sipping gifs when people ask how i'm doing
Mostly channels that started with mutual interest (gaming, music, movies, programming) and almost exclusively evolved into personal groupings rather than the initial interest.
I can grep things I remember talking about fairly quickly. And check back on what was going on at a certain point in my life (irclogs/[year]/[net]/#*.[date].log).
The same can't be said for Slack, Messenger, etc. And it's all quite tiny gzipped.
It's a lightweight server and client that can stay up even when most of Googles core tech is down. You can easily log data from channels, and it just works.
Honestly IRC is better now than it ever was.
All the skiddies and people that chase the latest hot centralized proprietary web based gif machines are gone leaving only thousands of highly experienced folks who understand how computers work at a low level, maintain their own personal and server operating systems, and love a good problem to dig into and solve.
We also love the random curious new-world person that wanders in wanting to learn our ways ;)
If you are wondering where all the maintainers to your favorite FOSS software are... They never left IRC because they largely prefer to keep the internet decentralized and support open standards.
About the only thing competing with IRC is matrix.org which even has a fancy GUI if you are into that... And it bridges to IRC so you can join those channels too.
I was very much on local and punk channels. I guess at some point half the people I knew / hangout with in meat space were from IRC.
Also had one of my most successful websites at that time (2001)... I guess only 3 years ago starting working on something with as many pageviews.
Since everyone is really pushing slack it makes my life easier to have it natively in my favourite IRC client.
If you type /thread <3 chars> then weechat will open a buffer in the thread which makes it appear as if it's just another channel basically. Albeit with no name other than the randomly assigned 3 chars.
I also hang out in lots of on-topic channels in freenode for various programming languages and software that I use. Once you find a nice community, it's hard to use anything else.
I use weechat in byobu on my vps and weechat-android on the go. It's a great setup and I've tweaked a lot of stuff to my liking.
The community just isn't what it was before and a lot of that comes down to numbers. It wasn't long ago that Freenode was the place to go for help with open source projects but I've noticed more and more an exodus to Slack, Discord et cetera. It's fairly common now to be greeted with a channel topic about this and by that point you're not going to get much help from the lurkers that remain.
I'm not sure what drove that but I do recall there being a fair amount of drama in some channels (more discussion around moderation than the project the channel was about), ban happy ops, flooding and various network related technical issues.
Now compare that to Elm's Slack community. A much more niche technology yet an absolutely bustling chat community. And I can repeat this for all sorts of Slack/Discord communities I'm part of. Even my MUD Developer group on Discord is more active than any Freenode channel I'm part of.
Things like "always online" and offline messaging are essential for community building.
IRC never solved this because it requires everyone to have a sufficiently capable client (like paying for IRCCloud or using weechat in tmux on your VPS). Even if you solve it for yourself, you haven't solved it for anyone you talk to who will likely be logged out when they close their laptop.
The entire point of still hanging out on IRC is to avoid node and js-wielding hipsters, so no, I wouldn't expect those channels to be massive. IRC is still the definitive resource for anything related to sysadmin/sre/netops/mailops.
>Things like "always online" and offline messaging
That's also kinda the point. I don't want anyone who joins to be able to search everything I've said in that channel over the last 5 years. Some users may keep personal records, sure, but the history doesn't need to be highly available. Likewise with offline messaging -- if I'm saying something on IRC, I want to talk to "the room". If I want to contact someone specific I could PM them, sure, but I could also just email them like a normal person. IRC is meant to be ephemeral -- and that's what makes it so great compared to Slack/Discord.
Yup, this is why IRC is dying. Unfortunately the vacuum has let proprietary services like Discord and Slack take over, just like GitHub now owns open source infrastructure. We'll come to rue the day we let this happen (see: SourceForge). Hopefully Matrix and GitLab will be ready and waiting when that happens.
I also have a small group of online-only friends (there are literally four of us) who I have been chatting with on IRC every single day for more than 10 years.
IRC isn't perfect. It isn't even good. Its major failing is its lack of offline persistence, and I don't see that being solved within the protocol. But I refuse to switch to proprietary communications platforms, so it's still the best. Matrix seems like the best option for a modern chat experience, but non-web-browser support isn't there yet.
There's some hobby and subreddit related channels too. Like ##chess, and #rubik.
Other than that, the language learning community was surprisingly very active years ago, so it's still kinda alive. Language-specific channels like ##deutsch, ##espanol, etc. on Freenode are kinda alive. There's also ##learnanylanguage.
But it's all more or less work-related now.
One key is to really keep one's expectations in check. You'll get a faster response in IRC than say a Github issue, but nobody is under any obligation to help you and it's good to be mindful of that and respectful.
IRC Channels on freenode are usually archived or at least a bunch of people have a local archive of everything.
I use it for:
* getting help (debian channels, #rust, and #ceph on OFTC; #python on freenode)
* giving help (eg. #mastodon and #limnoria on freenode)
* work (public channel and a private one)
* socializing (some friend groups channels and private chats; and offtopic channels of specific communities are great, eg. #rust-offtopic on OFTC)
In total I'm in about 70 channels
I have a tmuxed session that is always connected, and I attach to it from wherever I happen to be. As others have stated, I too find it a non-intrusive, pleasant way to be in contact with certain groups of people.
I mainly use it to talk with friends but I do occasionally ask questions and answer questions in the public channels I'm in. I sometimes skim the channels for a bit when I'm tabbed into my IRC client.
I started on IRC back in the late 90s / early 00s on the Enter The Game network, mainly for Quake. I haven't joined that network in forever tho.
IRCv3 is out there but it seems to me to be simultaneously overengineered and underfeatured. I don't think they're focusing their efforts into the right areas to make IRC relevant again.
I want to be able to leave my desktop at home and pick up where I left off on my phone (with out getting disconnected when I change cell towers) and not miss anything
The niche things are normally what I have the most trouble with and will just wait for a stackoverflow or mailing list response
The fact that matrix/discord/slack are becoming more common in open source projects makes a bit sad, matrix a little less so but still. Matrix is neat in its idea of federating without having to trust other matrix servers, but the protocol is less than friendly in many ways. Its not nearly as simple as the REST JSON API the docs espouse. If its any indication of complexity there's really only one defacto matrix server implementation, there's dozens of IRC implementations. Client implementations are a little more abundant but with a wide array of feature support.
The usability really is terrible compared to modern chat systems, so I'm always on the verge of switching. Nostalgia is a strong force.
I grew up using it and found it a great tool for people to connect and even contribute to projects or just programming in general. I feel even to this day, the ambiance created by IRC "back in the day" with all its contrived features such as server linking and splits, channel ops, bots, and opers still haven't been captured by any of the social media giants even today.
The best things I found about IRC were, TCL scripts, Eggrop bots, and all of the Ascii art that people would use.
For other communities I see they are using Discord, Discourse, Reddit or Slack these days. I have no favorites, I just go along to wherever the community is. Unless it is Facebook, then sorry no, not joining FB.
Disclosure: I created ##algorithms in 2007.
Apart from these, there is #fd100 that we created recently to keep the love for Logo (the programming language) alive. It is a tiny channel consisting of 5-10 members. Please do join #fd100 even if you don't remember Logo anymore. The intention here is not to discuss Logo but to share the joy of computing that we discovered through Logo and has remained in our lives. I hope to see you all there. :-)
I use it for, err, online chat. If I want real-time chat I do it there.
None of the other platforms offer anything other than fragmentation of the user base as far as I'm concerned.
I don't care about the fact that like, you need to run a client all the time, ten year old me was leaving his computer on before he knew what a server even was, I do it anyway because I self host a ton of stuff (for basically the same reasons, almost everything else is proprietary and wanky in some way).
It would be nice if weechat could connect to itself as a relay, my understanding is that it still can't. As a substitute I run it in tmux and connect to that.
Servers I use:
and a few others here and there.
There's a huge amount of IRC usage in the wild still. Major projects use it, like the web-extensions project. Hobbiests have servers and channels gallore. Every programming language has a presence. There's so much to see and explore.
IRC is alive and well.
This would be especially helpful with less active channels where it's nice to have a client constantly online to catch chats.
https://quassel-irc.org/ has a server component you connect to with clients (for desktop and Android, not sure about state of things on iOS), and https://github.com/magne4000/quassel-webserver if you need a web interface.
I'm far more mobile these days than I was 20 years ago which limits the usefulness of most local IRC clients so this looks perfect for having a 'homebase' website/app I can quickly pull up to browse and get caught up when I have a few minutes.
EDIT: Oh, even better, there's a docker version I can add to my existing server stack. I'm already writing my compose file for it: https://github.com/thelounge/thelounge-docker
There's also The Lounge, which looks pretty nice, but I haven't tried: https://thelounge.chat/
there are some other servies like jmp.chat that i integrate with over xmpp for voip and sms.
Discords are mostly a waste of time. Barrier to entry is too low/easy/obvious. You just get tons of low quality content and people just speaking in memes with immature high school environment.
Apart from that I'm on several channels on Rizon and synIRC.
> $ ncat -C irc.chat.twitch.tv 6667
> NICK justinfan123
> :tmi.twitch.tv 001 justinfan123 :Welcome, GLHF!
> :tmi.twitch.tv 002 justinfan123 :Your host is tmi.twitch.tv
> :tmi.twitch.tv 003 justinfan123 :This server is rather new
> :tmi.twitch.tv 004 justinfan123 :-
> :tmi.twitch.tv 375 justinfan123 :-
> :tmi.twitch.tv 372 justinfan123 :You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike.
> :tmi.twitch.tv 376 justinfan123 :>
On EFnet, I'm an op in #wow, and lurk in #geekissues. On Freenode, I lurk in #offsec and #python.
In #wow, most of the chat isn't World of Warcraft-related anymore. The amount of on-topic chat will bump up when an expansion is released, but the channel is mostly dying these days.
I first used IRC back in 1995, and some time shortly after I basically never logged off. Started using a bouncer a few years ago after someone joined a channel, started spamming racial slurs, and so I banned them, and they responded with a DDoS that knocked out my home internet connection. The fact that IRC still exposes your IP address is a pretty serious security issue.
• Fallback in case the new-fangled webshit breaks for the fifth time a month
• Old communities that see no point in moving to said often breaking webshit
But none of this has any growth potential, so we'll see for how long I'll keep using it.
While discord isn't too bad, it's sometimes hard to find and join the communities you might be looking for. Where as with freenode, and irc in general, discovery is imho easier.
I don't bother with efnet anymore, but do also join irc.synchro.net for a couple channels (also very inactive).
FWIW, twenty-one years ago I wrote the first software to deal multi table poker tournaments on the internet. Its first interface was IRC (because there were already bots dealing single table games and tournaments). I've now written a new poker server and decided to start with IRC for a variety of reasons, but mostly nostalgia.
- My laptop doesn't have a GUI (networks using open protocols like XMPP and IRC don't lock you into a single client, so someone will have developed a good CLI one)
- My laptop runs NetBSD, Illumos, etc. and Slack et all don't provide clients for it and the web clients aren't very good, break on whatever browser I use, etc.
- Work only allows certain software on the laptops, IRSSI is approved because it's been on the list the enterprise folks haven't updated since the 80s, but Slack isn't
- For legal reasons I can't sign Slack's EULA (eg. I am in arbitration or part of a lawsuit, or work for a company that's part of a lawsuit with them, etc., disclaimer: I don't actually know how this works, not a lawyer, etc.)
- My laptop is old and Slack's client doesn't run well on older hardware (again, using a network that uses IRC or XMPP lets you use any client you want)
- Work uses IRC (yes, it's still pretty common) and I don't want 10 different chat systems on my machine so I just use IRC at home too
- Work has certain security, privacy, or procedural requirements that Slack et al don't meet, but an enterprise chat based on IRC or XMPP etc. does (eg. using end to end encryption might be easier, a private network using IRC or XMPP can be configured to only use connections that are perfect forward secret, or do external certificate based auth, use end to end encryption, etc.)
If you want to join us for some Go (golang, for grep-ability) related chat, there's a room on my XMPP server at "email@example.com" (one day I'll move that to a nicer looking domain, I think I still own gopher.chat) that gets a bit of traffic, or there's #golang on Freenode. Please avoid their community Slack and ask others to do so as well because I and a number of other contributors can't or won't use it and miss out on a lot of good discussion :(
I think the community has a lot to do with it and each channel is often its own community and culture, even on the same server.
in any irc it's constant and due to the inertia of users, even if you come back a month later the same user will probably come back and say the same dumb stuff to you instead of you finding someone new to talk to
Also, asking questions is fine but answering them is much better if you want to learn something. Other peoples q&a is just as useful. Lurking is fine. Just find the channel for every language and every tool you use and stay there forever.
Some channels have a separate #foo-social or #foo-offtopic place for [usually slow paced] interesting stuff that is unworthy of the main channel. Travel around, check out new places. Some are well hidden.
If you are truly a useful asset you get to behave.... uhmm... somewhat like an idiot.... don't go ask the biologists where the white stork gets the babies from on your first day.
Much better and cleaner experience than Discord, Slack, or other fat alternatives.
I’m pretty sure that if I’d run a small company I’d use https://www.irccloud.com/ instead of Slack.
Not to go off-topic but I saw that article about PIA on the front page yesterday. Does that mean freenode will need a bit of hosting help from the community?
I run irssi inside of a screen session, which I connect to from wherever I am (except mobile).
It's not a good user experience.
I don't get it, but there it is.
Have I already learned how to use something with approximately the same functionality? → [New Thing] is too confusing! [Old Thing] is intuitive!
It's a very simple flowchart and almost everyone in the world uses it.
been using it off and on for about 15 years.
It's where most of the work force hangs out, lots of different channels for different topics.
More and more I appreciate simple, easy to maintain, technology that isn’t bloated. IRC, basic POP email, simple HTML websites, “featureless” phones (which, incidentally, are just phones), stereo receivers, etc.
It’s so nice when you have something that just works. It’s so much less stressful. It always does what you want instantly and their is no maintenance. No updates. No loading screens.
IRC has a learning curve, sure, but it’s not hard. You learn it once and you’re done. You don’t need to read releases notes every month.
So much software dedicated to increasing efficiency or productivity just swaps time spent on old tasks with time spent on new tasks.