Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: Curious to know if people still use IRC?
260 points by pyeu on Dec 3, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 248 comments
What channel do you hang out? What do you use it for?

Every day,

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.

What I like is that the clients were written years ago and weigh almost nothing. I can leave them running in the background on even the wimpiest trash netbook and it doesn't care.

Compare to Slack or Signal or Discord where the client is some half a gig chomping behemoth that spins up the CPU fans constantly.

I thought I was the only crazy person that hates anything that spins up a fan on my laptop. Why Java sets of fans when I spin up anything (even an empty spring project) in my IDE I just don’t understand. Even IntelliJ and eclipse with no project loaded seem to set off the fan.

Personally; I can forgive an IDE, depending on what I'm doing (just viewing source shouldn't be spinning my fans).

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.

You're not crazy. I feel the same. Similarly, I was beginning to think that I was crazy.... As another pointed out, I give a pass to heavy applications like my IDE.... but when my shopping-list app is using a Gig of memory and spinning up my fans, then I want to gouge my eyes out in disgust.

Yes, and lots of data fit into 80x24 xterm vs 1280x1024 Discord. Crazy that I need an entire workspace per Electron apps. I have no idea what goes in on the developers' mind when it comes to unnecessary padding/spacing.

You're the reason I joined DarkScience sometime back, event wound up paying for IRCCloud which I can't recommend enough for those who want to just have a "slack like" experience. They open source some of their solutions too.

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.

I'm interested in hearing more about how you've configured your client, do you have a repo or anything? Have you included plugins or add-ins from outside sources?

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

I think this is a fair ask, unfortunately I made my setup for me and it's not exactly designed to be packaged/reused, but I linked my configs (in tarball format) here: https://0x0.st/zl_O.tbz2

What you're requesting is actually the normal way most of the people I talk to use IRC. I have a highlight buffer[0] 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@


[0]: https://weechat.org/scripts/source/highmon.pl.html/

Thanks for all the detailed info! I'll probably save it to look at in a couple of weeks when I'm going on a work trip and planning to redo a bunch of my configurations.

Where can I check for your blog post (assuming you decide to put one up)?

That looks quite nice! If you're using irssi would you be willing to share your colors / setup?

not irssi but I use ERC (an IRC client in Emacs) with a modified version of https://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/ErcHighlightNicknames to automatically color nicknames (it takes the first 12 characters of the md5 of each nick and treats that as an RGB value, with some clamping and color space tweaks). Everybody has a perceptibly different color, even in channels with tons of people.

It's weechat, I can't really claim all the credit, I found blog posts online about minimal setups and I've just kept it up to date. Nothing special.

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 extracted a few color codes and this looks alright.

XFC4-Terminal Config



Hex Variant:


I never heard of darkscience before, so I will definitely check it out.

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.

Please do share your irc client config if possible :)

The client config is a little unweildly unfortunately due to the nature of weechat; but all the config is here if you want to read it;


Nice to see SSL enforced ircd. Coming out of Dalnet, Ircnet and Efnet the only short-coming i really found in IRC was the fact that most networks until very late promoted clear-text transfers. I might even pass by your network this evening to revive that feeling /me once had :)

I totally like this, is it hexchat ? If yes I'd really like to have your theme configs please :)

That's how it looks like to not read the comments, thanks for posting this.

I wonder where you host it? Every other hosting provider does not allow IRC servers, what a shame.

I've not run into too many issues with IRC servers being blocked, but nothing is going to block IRC over SSL running on a non-standard port anyways.

I've never run across a VPS or dedicated server provider that blocked inbound IRC. What providers prevented you from running an ircd?

Even if it's not blocked it is discouraged or against ToS for a fair number of places (including our current provider, tilaa). However I asked specifically for an exemption because we've been around for nearly 20 years at this point.

Most cloud providers (GCE, AWS, Azure) don't seem to mind though.

This was a long time ago (7-10 years), but 1and1, Hetzner, OVH, HostGator, LiquidWeb did not allow IRC hosting. They were the cheapest, tbf. I only use Linode now, haven't looked into it.

Ah. Of those, I've used Linode and OVH. Neither ever gave me grief for having IRC, but I also ensured that I never had botnets connecting to me, which is what most of them don't like dealing with. I've never tried 1and1, Hetzner (ive heard good things about them), HostGator or Liquidweb.

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 never had botnets connecting to me, which is what most of them don't like dealing with.

It’s the DDoS attacks they didn’t like dealing with, but I suppose that’s one way of describing it.

Yeah both really. The botnets usually act as C&C for tools that create outbound DDoS attacks and exfil user data. They also create jump-off proxy points to mask their location. IRC is a very handy way to control large numbers of attack bots.

I think they might no longer do this but for many years Linode's Atlanta location blocked access to IRC-specific ports, I believe because of a specific policy by their Atlanta datacenter.

Linode Employee here:

I've personally checked with our Network Operations team, and ran a test with a teammate. We do not currently block IRC ports.

Hi there! Disclaimer - Linode employee here.

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.

> I still find it the least "invasive"

Doesn't it just broadcast your IP address pretty plainly?

Many of the IRC networks offer a "cloak" if you register your nickname, and of course it's trivial to connect via a VPN or via Tor (if your network allows it).

Side-note on the cloak: You'll want to make sure you're identified before you join any channels, or everyone will still see your IP. The best way to do this on networks that support it is to use SASL.

There are vanity vhosts and there are cloaks.

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. :)

I think this is a split in terminology, actually.

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[1]. It does not offer Unreal-style cloaking.

I imagine this difference in terminology is what's prompted this exchange.

[1] https://freenode.net/kb/answer/cloaks

Back in the days I had to pay extra for a bnc/bouncer service (similar to a proxy), now most IRC networks offer vhost automatically, but I assume it's a bit less secured since the IRC networks themselves still know your real IP address.

It's not really possible for a server not to know the clients IP address though, so I think this is fair.

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.

Who really cares in this day if anyone knows your IP? It's not like that many of us are running servers from our home connection and thus vulnerable in some particularly pointed way. Behind a NAT you're pretty much fine unless some nation-state is out to get you.

You haven't used IRC much, have you? Maybe it's become a more civil place, but years ago exploits and DOS attacks over some stupid dispute were common.

Sadly, I'd argue that broadcasting your IP is the least invasive of the options available today.

It depends, most require you to register first before your IP is hidden, just like Wikipedia. In both cases, it's so the mods at least have some kind of tools to (hopefully) identify who a person is.

Nah most irc networks masquerade the client ip in the whois to prevent ddos.

Setup something like ZNC

I started using IRC around age, I dunno, 10-12 (30s now), lots of efnet then freenode, at one point I was an ircop until our childish antics got our server desynced. I don't use it anymore. Between the insular cliques and the fact that I can look up archives of 20-25 year old messages I wrote on there because you never know who or where someone is writing logs really turned me off as I got older. I'm in a few community slacks and discords nowadays but I'm not a frequent user there either.

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).

This is what terrifies me about Discord, as well as the fact they store all their logs in plaintext. AFAIK it is impossible to delete logs in Discord and any new user joining a channel gets access to all the back history of chat, so it's even worse than IRC.

I actually think that is fine; private messages and private channels should not have public logs, but public channels should have public logs in plaintext. However, I think IRC is better than Discord, and it is possible in IRC to have server-side logging if the server software implements this (as far as I know, mine is the only one that does), without altering the protocol. But making logs with a special client is also possible (also without altering the protocol) and seems to be much more common in my experience.

Almost every IRC channel I've ever joined had users who logged the chat 24/7. Sure, it wasn't centralized but at no point is there any tacit agreement that public chat channel isn't being logged. I don't really see a difference in this and Discord giving the entire history of the channel the user is joining.

I'm in a couple of tiny communities on IRC. There seems to be no growth potential, and when I've suggested switching to IRC in a work setting people look at me as if I'm mad, and starts hugging their webbased monstrocities filled with emojis and memory leaks, but I think I will always prefer IRC.

Even terminal based weechat is perfectly capable of rendering emojis.

For some reason, maybe cultural, maybe because many clients don't have a nice emoji picker, they seem to be used less though in my experience (which is fine by me).

emojis are old school, i don't use anything unless it has full gif support now.

Gotta have a way of putting up baby yoda sipping gifs when people ask how i'm doing

And posting gifs for some reaction is more rage inducing on my end. 99.999% of the time, a gif is absolutely unneeded and unwanted.

Does rage not seem like a bit of an overreaction to things like gifs and emoji?

Check their username.

Also perfectly capable of leaking memory in 2019: https://weechat.org/files/changelog/ChangeLog-2.6.html#v2.6

Clocking in at 23 years on IRC, with likely very few days of missing coverage.

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.

I bumped into a guy I had just met on freenode, playing WoW Classic. He was using the same handle and starting the same conversations.. really I probably could have guessed who it was without the handle, lol- guy just has a certain tone and range of topics. It was nice to see someone IRC culture pushing moderated discussion in /trade, but it also illustrates why I don't spend much time on IRC anymore. So many people going in loosely predictable circles, and I'd be one of them, until some angry and drunk incel or political sock-puppet shows up to try out whatever misanthropic chat script. As if getting booted for being annoying and disingenuous is some kind of gold-star accolade. And for that to be the interesting part - ugh. I enjoyed IRC a lot more when I would have had a tall glass of whisky to go along with it. IMHO its still the best social network on the internet, too bad that isn't saying much. It's great for languages including the non-programming ones still, for sure. And reading that one russian guy tell stories about being a kid among the intelligentsia and politburo of the late CCCP era - wow I don't know where else I was going to get any related personal experience about that. Pretty cool.

Google uses it internally for incident management.


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.

Googlers also use it for the daily chat, not just incident response.

Very specific Googlers, mostly SREs, use IRC.

After I switched from SRE-SWE to just SWE, my team (of six SWEs) used IRC and it wasn't because of my influence, either.

In my experience most SWE teams just use the hangouts chat nowadays

I could not do my job as a security engineer without Freenode and irc.hashbang.sh

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.

Perhaps only of passing interest to others here but in 1990s Portugal, IRC was the only way for gay people to chat and meet up outside of bars, before sites like Gaydar took hold and then of course apps like Grindr. I feel like something was lost along the way in the move to dating sites and apps; a general forum (channels) to participate in, rather than just one-to-one messaging which doubled down on the meat market aspects at the expense of any attempt at community building.

Last time I checked ptnet (a few years ago) I think it was still one of the few channels with some people in it.

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.

I'm a big fan of IRC, and I'm primarily active in small channels on Rizon. From my experience, the kind of people who stick around long term tend to be extremely capable and fun to interact with. I find small IRC channels have a very high signal to noise ratio, possibly due to what many people see as a high barrier to entry. I won't lie, I was intimidated when I first used IRC all those years ago, but it quickly became second nature. It's so incredibly easy to use and the client stays open 24x7 in the background without needing to pin browser tabs or otherwise getting in the way. With proper alerts set up, you don't even need to check it until something interesting happens. Works fantastically, as it has for decades~

Also, you can implement an IRC client and/or server in about an hour in any decently high-level programming language.

Are you saying literally or figuratively. You mean it is possible to implement a working python3 client in one hour ? I would love to see someone do a live stream .

Yeah. Well, maybe. It might be a slight exaggeration but IRC is ludicrously simple. It's just sending text strings back and forth on a TCP socket. You can literally use telnet as an IRC client.

We use IRC at work and it's just as useful and fun as ever, there are IRC clients that consume a few megabytes (hello Slack). SET autolog ON, then keep all your chat history grep-able in your home folder (again, only consuming megabytes - oh hello Slack, again).

wee_slack.py (if you can create application tokens) works wonderfully for the same purpose.

Since everyone is really pushing slack it makes my life easier to have it natively in my favourite IRC client.

How does it manage Slack threads?

Can't be worse than how Slack manages Slack threads.

Basically as another channel. When a thread is spawned or someone comments on a thread (and checks the box to echo to channel) then you'll see a thread ID (which is usually three characters).

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 used to use Freenode a lot but in recent years have gone elsewhere.

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.

To put some numbers on the board, you'd think #node.js and #javascript channels on Freenode would be massive given the ubiquity and low entry barrier of the technologies. But there are probably 10 regulars across both channels. I hang out in both daily and it's always the same people. Of course, they also suffer from the toxic personality of veterans that tend to scare away normal people.

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.

>you'd think #node.js and #javascript channels on Freenode would be massive

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.

Interesting you mention these channels. As a longtime IRC user, Freenode's #javascript was or has been one of the least enjoyable channels on the whole network over the last five years or more. I only lurked in there but it was so bad that it was referred to jokingly elsewhere on Freenode as an example of a bad channel.

I have started using IRC again since I bought a subscription to irccloud.com. Before that I had stopped because I found the clients too annoying, especially lacking support for using multiple devices concurrently and buffering up messages while disconnected.

> especially lacking support for using multiple devices concurrently and buffering up messages while disconnected.

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.

if anyone is looking for self hosting, https://thelounge.chat/ is a pretty good client (have used it for a few years)

Yup. We use it for chat internally at work, with a gateway to our internal Matrix server, which about half of our folks use. It's also used for most programming communities. I work on Wine, where we use IRC, and have gotten help from systemd, KDE, Gnome/mutter, etc channels. It's very much alive in techy circles. I kind of prefer this, it keeps the low-content GIF/emoticon posters segregated out of the areas I do real work. Kind of like how HN being plaintext-only keeps discussion relevant and high quality.

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.

I oper networks for two pubnix communities: https://hashbang.sh and https://tildeverse.org (https://tilde.chat is the irc net).

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.

It's been mostly reduced to free software projects channels/networks and just semi-private channels for groups of friends who've been on IRC for years now. So #archlinux, #dolphin-emu, #python, ##machinelearning, etc. all on Freenode are pretty active.

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.

I use #xendevel to collaborate with other Xen developers basically every day. Also use #centos-devel, #centos-virt, and #centos-meeting for various CentOS-related things. Also lurk on #golang-nuts and occasionally either ask or answer a question on there.

But it's all more or less work-related now.

I was once surprised to find that there is also active porn IRC servers. It's unexpectedly mainstream.

FreeNode seems to have some really active channels... outside of that, all I see on the servers I connect to now and then are a lot of lurkers.

The cool thing is, in general when I've exhausted my options, a lot of people deeply involved in various projects do tend to hang out in freenode's channels. I don't keep hexchat open all the time, just fallen out of habit, but I'll be in ##javascript and #csharp mostly, lately I've also been joining in on ##rust (though I have to manually enter as I'm blocked until after NickServ validation).

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.

Slightly off topic, but did you know you can use SASL to auto identify with NickServ on Freenode?

Edit: typo

Did not know that, thanks... will have to update my setup... just used to NickServ for it all.

Several hundred network operators use a particular IRC network for back channel communications. Chatter on route hijacks, leaks, outages, etc. Great way to cut thru the bullshit support channels and NOC aliases to get to the folks who matter. Outages have been mitigated faster because of this.

I recently started a greenfield project with some newer (to me) technologies. After some Googling for issues, I decided to try some Freenode channels related to the frameworks/languages. To my surprise, the people on IRC were far more helpful on average than the official Slack channels or forums normally advertised. I highly recommend it for code help, but I've yet to re-explore some of the more hobby related channels of my past.

For the people who are doing Advent of Code this year (https://adventofcode.com), there's an IRC channel on Freenode: ##adventofcode

Thank you. Needed This.

I've used IRC since 1988 or so, when all the users were from the University of Oulu, Finland. I hang out in a couple of channels of old pals (in IRCnet) and in a few technical channels in Freenode (#sway, #clojure, occasionally others).

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 personally use freenode all the time. That's where I get the best advice and great tech support from many open source projects. In fact, when selecting an open source project, I consider it a serious knock against it if it doesn't have a freenode channel. I personally can't stand using Slack and am always disappointed when a project requires me to do so...

Agreed, it’s always so odd to see an open source project using Discord or Slack. You basically just throw all your support work and knowledge into someone’s proprietary silo. In a few years you’ll never be able to find anything that was already discussed.

IRC Channels on freenode are usually archived or at least a bunch of people have a local archive of everything.

IRC is my main way to communicate, more than emails or websites like reddit or HN.

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 got a job at 'early' Tinder (2014) after someone I chatted with on a Freenode programming channel went on to become one of its cofounders.

All day, every day! I work for a team of people that have been together for over 20 years in some cases, with a few people dropping out and a few people coming in over the years. We've always hung out in an IRC channel as our main form of team communication. Initially because there wasn't any other workable option, and now because it's what we've always done and it works for how our team operates.

XDCC creator here, and still using it. Long live to IRCii!

Every day on Freenode in various programming related channels, and to talk with friends.

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.

I really enjoy using IRC but it badly needs an update to work on phones without requiring the user to have a sign up for a 3rd party service (irc cloud, shell providers to run a bnc).

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 used IRC for a while, but it logged me out one day, and I haveno idea what email I used to create my account, so I haven't been able to log back in. Recently I've been used a beta client on android called Revolution IRC which is fine for basic usage, however as I've expressed elsewhere in this thread, I've been wanting to develop an IRC client based on the Discord UI, which I'm familiar with.

What's missing for me is cross-device sync of scroll back logs, push notifications on @mention even if you're not connected, and proper user accounting to handle abuse.

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

IRC is still the best place to get help quickly (if you know the right place to ask), especially for some more esoteric tech niches...

And if you know how to ask the right question.

Entirely depends on population/community.

The niche things are normally what I have the most trouble with and will just wait for a stackoverflow or mailing list response

Can you post link to best irc channels

On 9/11/2001 one of the few working parts of Internet communication was IRC. I recall getting a lot of first hand information from NYC via IRC on that day. I've been using IRC for 20+ years and use Quassel server + Quassel clients. On the other hand, I mentor two FRC teams and they much prefer Discord.

Freenode is alive and well. #python, #postgresql, and more recently ##rust

Chromium devs use IRC https://www.chromium.org/developers/irc, WebKit devs use IRC https://webkit.org/getting-started/#irc, Firefox devs use IRC https://wiki.mozilla.org/IRC, llvm devs on IRC https://llvm.org/docs/GettingInvolved.html#irc. I'm sure there are lots of others

Just barely. There's a few stray #pdx... channels still active on Freenode, and a couple private channels with friends.

The usability really is terrible compared to modern chat systems, so I'm always on the verge of switching. Nostalgia is a strong force.

IRC channels are like anime. There is some good great gems. You have to sift through so much garbage finding them is usually not worth it

Although I don't actively lurk on IRC, I do use it from time to time, especially for support for programming or open source projects, as Freenode seems to be the place to go these days.

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.

I still use it, because Freenode is an amazing resource.

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.

I hang out at #lisp, #python, #debian, ##math, ##algorithms, ##security, etc. on Freenode IRC all the time. I remain connected to these channels via ZNC, an IRC network bouncer.

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. :-)

#haskell is incredibly friendly - if you ask questions, people will go above and beyond to explain things to you.

On 9/11 I was on IRC watching it unfold. Links to webcams, newswire messages, panicked discussions. Called my (incredulous) relatives before our local TV even noticed it was happening.

Absolutely. My team uses it to collaborate on a closed (no internet access) network, and it works great.

The only time I have ever used it was about 4 years ago to get some help on Haskell. And the only reason for using it was the community was there. Although I sensed there is a positive shibboleth effect when you meet the person in real life. So maybe IRC is good for virtue signalling / networking.

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.

I use it all the time. I grew up on IRC (37 a few weeks ago). Personally, I learned a lot infastucture and engineering from this IRC. Recently my team hit a problem using an open source ruby gem from AWS, that took us 2 weeks to find. It wasn't us that found it, but a chatter in the #ruby channel that had originally written the code 5 years prior, and knew of a conflict between two specific AWS GEMS. This would of taken months and thousands of lines of code to find. IRC FTW

I've used IRC pretty much forever.

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).

Is there a particular client you use or would recommend? I’ve used irssi on and off in the past, and bitchx occasionally, but I’d be curious to know what’s popular today.

I quite like Quassel, which doesn't seem to get discussed much. Has the ability to run the core and client on separate machines, decent customisation etc. I run the core on my home server and connect to it from elsewhere.

I use weechat nowadays but it's all much of a muchness really.

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.

Yes, use it day to day for work chat. It’s nice in my case because by default people expect irc to have no history and no mobile support. This makes for a good balance. When you are at a computer you’re there, and when you are away you are away. Much more like an actual physical space with less of an assumption of “always on” than chat apps with tight mobile integrations (granted you can use irccloud or similar if you want that)

I'm on IRC constantly via Weechat on a VPS and Weechat-Android connecting my phone.

Servers I use: irc.tilde.chat irc.sdf.org irc.freenode.net 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.

I have a question regarding IRC. I haven't really used it much since 2001-2002 but is there a self-hosted option where i can leave a client running on my server and then access it with my phone and/or browser on a desktop pc when I want to check in?

This would be especially helpful with less active channels where it's nice to have a client constantly online to catch chats.

You can run weechat on server and connect via ssh (https://aaronparecki.com/2015/08/29/8/why-i-live-in-irc describes this setup)

Or you can set up a relay in weechat and connect with glowing-bear (html5) or android-weechat. Works great. The glowing-bear community have good tutorials iirc.


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.

Thanks so much, that's exactly what I was looking for.

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

I do this now, with irssi running in a tmux session that I connect to with juicessh and mosh.

That sounds like a simple, clever solution. Thanks!

This is what I do - my formula is GNU Screen and regular SSH (this old dog can't learn new tricks)

Quassel works like that - you've got a core, and few clients - the default, Qt-based one, Android one, web-based one, even an Irssi plugin to connect to it.

There's also The Lounge, which looks pretty nice, but I haven't tried: https://thelounge.chat/

I think what you are looking for is called a "bouncer" in the IRC world.


That's a term I haven't heard in a very very long time, but you're right, that's exactly what I'm looking for!

ZNC runs in docker and is highly configurable, mature, and well-maintained.

I use JuiceSSH to connect to a tmux session running irssi. I understand this isn't necessarily for everyone, but it works great.

i use an xmpp server[1] as a hub for most of my coms. i run biboumi[2] which caches the messages (up to a limit) so i can read them whenever from any device. there are some interesting xmpp chat rooms too, but it isn't as popular as IRC i'd bet. i host family chats on my server. you used to be able to talk to OStatus servers over XMPP too.

there are some other servies like jmp.chat that i integrate with over xmpp for voip and sms.

[1]: https://ejabberd.im/ [2]: https://biboumi.louiz.org/

In my experience offline twitch chats are the new irc. It's pretty much as close as you can get to an irc experience like gamesnet or quakenet in the early 00s.

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.

Twitch chat is IRC, so you can just join with a dedicated or web client irc.twitch.tv and chat away (OAuth token is required). Most of the offline chatters that I know use a client.

Apart from that I'm on several channels on Rizon and synIRC.

if you want read only access you can use the nick justinfan{randomnumber} and then join what ever channels you like. But its read only so you can't on even pull a list of a channels moderators without signing in with an auth. (The user list only shows active mods in smaller channels, but you can ask the server for a list of the mods in the channel if you have logged in with a valid oauth)

> $ 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 :>

What Twitch chat rooms are you in?

Oh my gosh, yes. All the time. Freenode.net network mostly -- free-software-related channels, but other places too.

IRC is alive and well.

Let's say for example you work on a team doing identity for a large company that provides lots of services to a lot of the world, including email and chat. What infrastructure to the people who keep the system up use to communicate while the system is down? You guessed it! IRC.

I still use IRC, mainly in #esoteric on Freenode but also sometimes others. I think that IRC is much better than many of the more modern protocols. (You can even use IRC without specialized software, and I have occasionally done so on computers before the IRC client is set up.)

• Support channels for various open source projects

• 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.

I'd rather see IRC usage expand over discord and slack use myself... It'd be nice to maybe see an open-source application and bots that allow for better integration with source control and CI/CD options though. This way it's easier for everyone to interact with a more open base standard.

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).

I really do like Discord's, UI, and have wanted to build an IRC client with a similar UI, but I'm not sure how difficult a feature-complete client implementation is.

IRC is, for me, perfect. It does exactly what I want and nothing I don’t need.

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.

I still use IRC.

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.

I don't normally spend much time there, except at 1pm Pacific on Sundays, but at that time I can be found on #poker of my own (poorly administered) devctm.com IRC server.

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.


I did use actively fifteen years ago but I've never really found a community to latch on. Nowadays I'll just jump in once in a while in the room of a project I'm tracking to discuss things with devs.

I use IRC as a last resort since many of the regulars there are rude assholes.

Isn't this a bit like saying "many of the regulars on reddit are rude assholes" but you mostly see subs like r/inceltears or r/tumblrinaction ?

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.

nah on reddit, there is active moderation and users self regulate and you don't see real scum and villainy unless you sort by controversial(or seek out a subreddit that sucks)

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

Perhaps, but the issue you're having is indeed a lack of moderation. And IRC does not lack moderation tools.

It does lack a significant number of people willing to take over somebody else's IRC channel though. There is a lot of cultural inertia around it

I used IRC a lot for some time a few years back. I avoided the big channels like the ones for javascript and python, and stuck to smaller (< 100 people) channels. People were very nice, responsive and helpful. At one point IRC channel-presence became one of the main criteria by which I chose new technology to work with: it correlated with something good if a community maintained a good IRC presence.

Same here, if the newfangled hipster stuff doesn't have an irc channel it doesn't have enough of those really old people who again and again watched their stuff crumble in their hands for reasons they were sure were not going to happen. Just picture them sitting there silently raging at the invasive species that are colorful unicode smiles looking back at them from what use to be their purist text interface. How can you not love a place like that?

This is largely true, but you do find good channels with friendly people on freenode still. #twisted comes to mind..

I still use IRC, or sometimes even a handful of XMPP (Jabber, for grep-ability) rooms (although for the most part it's better for 1:1 chat with friends, and text messages through a bridge) partially for ideological reasons but also partially because I can't use the more "modern" alternatives. My particular reasons don't matter, but a few I've seen in the past include (focusing on Slack as an example, but most of these apply more broadly):

  - 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.)
  - etc.
Most of this boils down to the clients not working for one reason or another, but IRC and XMPP have literally dozens (maybe hundreds) of clients to choose from. Some better, some worse, but you'll almost certainly find one that works for you.

If you want to join us for some Go (golang, for grep-ability) related chat, there's a room on my XMPP server at "golang@conference.samwhited.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 :(

IRC and XMPP are relatively easy to set up servers for, too. I looked at Matrix a little while ago and it's a serious PITA by comparison, so far as going from zero to achieving client-talking-to-server. Of course the company behind it appears to make their money selling hosting, so....

yah, the protocol is pretty crap too (for chat anyways, maybe it has other applications but they push it for chat pretty hard core). Don't get me wrong, IRC and XMPP have their problems, but I'd avoid Matrix at all costs. I was really hopeful it was a good alternative at first (before I get accused of bias for joining the XMPP Standards foundation for a while), but in the end I picked XMPP and I try to work to make that better instead (while still using IRC for group chats due to network effect and my deep love of IRSSI).

IRC is still a very useful tool for tech support, since you can potentially reach someone who will actively respond, rather than posting a message on a forum or a mailing list and waiting endlessly for a response. It was a bit of a bummer when some channels started disabling unregistered users due to spam. It used to be a great "emergency support" option that someone with a failing computer could load up a LiveUSB of some Linux distro, open Hexchat, and immediately pop into a chatroom for help.

#mysql on DALnet has been invaluable in helping me learn how to manage databases. I actually was on DALnet for the last 15 years and stumbled into a number of different rooms to learn various topics. #mysql has been the one that I ended up frequenting the most. Now I ask and answer questions there. Everyone is generally pretty friendly and welcoming (even though some people asking questions are often impatient).

It's still widely used in some video game circles. Twitch chat is an IRC server, and speedrunslive has an IRC server it uses to coordinate races.

Yes, I still use it, mainly to speak to friends, I also IRCOp on irc.nfnet.org and I hang out mostly in #sonicstadium on irc.surrealchat.net. I also use my IRC Client to connect to Twitch's chat. IRC is also good on any Internet speed and it very low on data usage. I use HexChat and IRCCloud as my main two clients. You can also use any client out there (pretty much) to connect to any network.

I spend most of my time on IRC as far as social platforms go, have been running a server for the past 6 years or so for me and a circle of friends.

All day, every day, for both work and social purposes.

Could you please share some social channels you find interesting for the uninitiated?

I think he means private messages but there is one tip I can give you that adds much to the experience: Stay logged in and use IRC like email exchanges on slow channels and in private conversations. IRC ofc does real time chat but the best stuff is even slower paced than email. If no one is talking for months it is perfectly fine to answer a question asked half a year ago. Logging in to dump a question then leave again 5 min later is a bit like removing your mailbox after receiving a letter or quickly switching off your phone after each call. Don't expect anyone to be interested if you use the web client.

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.


No, the best part about them is that they're not known to the general public. If you spend enough time on IRC, you'll find your way into social channels naturally.

Will there be a sr.ht channel/server? Is there already?

There's #sr.ht on irc.freenode.net

Constantly. It's how I keep in touch with most of my friends. I'm on a private server, and on a bunch of channels on freenode.

I use IRC for tech / general chat on a local server.

Much better and cleaner experience than Discord, Slack, or other fat alternatives.

Every day, for keeping in touch with far away friends and for a few programming-related channels on Freenode and OFTC.

I do use it almost every day, using Textual and ZNC. Mostly on the IRC networks of private trackers and freenode.

I’m pretty sure that if I’d run a small company I’d use https://www.irccloud.com/ instead of Slack.

sure. freenode for free and open projects and hackint for everything ccc / chaos community related.

Daily. But I guess it's now used by open source projects mostly. It's not the IRC of the 90s.

I'm on #vim on Freenode everyday.

Almost every day for years and years, since the 90s. Someone here mentioned it as a kind of shibboleth and I hope this information gets to the right kind of people but doesn't attract too much attention. There are just too few useful signals left in tech.

I'm active in development related channels on freenode (e.g. #python, #aws, #docker, etc). As a contractor who codes alone most of the time, it's a great source of help if I can't solve something, or to hear opinion of others about something.

Yepyep. I'm on ##math, #python, ##linux, #vim, and some others on freenode. IRC is my hub.

I used it up through college and then switched over to Discord/Slack for all my text based conversations outside of texting from my phone. I really do miss the IRC crowd sometimes but the people I want to talk to are on Discord or Slack now.

Been using IRC since 2004. I use it from time to time now. IRC is just one of those things that I feel would be better served if the IRC client itself got sleek design / UI friendly options so that the common person could utilize it more.

Idling, hoping it'll come back into prominence through some sort of nostalgia wave.

Most of the channels I've been in on freenode are active... efnet and other nets, not so much.

I still use it every day. I know many communities have switched to heavy Electron apps and I haven't bothered to look at it. For example for go help I go to #go-nuts which is very low traffic since I assume everybody is using Slack

Use it daily. ##math on freenode is not replaceable. I visit a few small ones now and then.

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 definitely use IRC to communicate with users of open-source projects like Spacewalk or Fedora. Anytime I can't get decent help using forums or Google searches, I go to IRC and work with the community there. Works very well!

Yep! breaking.technology +6697

For a day or two, here and there, every time someone mentions it on HN :)

Yeah, I'm still using IRC to connect with folks who have not made the leap to either telegram or discord.

I run irssi inside of a screen session, which I connect to from wherever I am (except mobile).

Yes, all the time. Multiple channels about software development.

I'm looking forward to when the onboarding process for IRC approaches the usability level of contemporary chat services such as Slack, Rocket Chat, Zulip, etc.

Slack is just too hard to understand. I still don't get it. I have to go to a webpage and enter a server / channel name. I have to create a password for each one, if I get approved it then takes me to a slack web client with no obvious way to open the chat in the app. If you install the app on a different machine, you have to add everything again.

It's not a good user experience.

I think some of us geeks have an unusual perspective on what's confusing and what's straightforward or easy. I've been repeatedly told GH issues is "too confusing" or "too technical" versus Asana and Jira for the non-developers (WT actual F?!?! Seriously this one baffles me entirely, I can't even begin to wrap my head around it) and find most social media sites extremely confusing, especially considering how little they actually do.

I don't get it, but there it is.

Here's the flowchart you're running into:

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.

If you use the same email address, then I think Slack will not automatically log you in to all servers you're part of at the same time.

It’s not right for everyone, but I find IRCCloud to have a really low barrier to entry.

I infrequently hang out in the #go-nuts channel on freenode.

I spent a lot of time on Freenode it was my favorite space when I was a teenager, every christmas holidays I reinstall an IRC client to spend some hours there.

I pretty much always have freenode channels open for #reprap and #smoothieware. Bleeding edge of reprap has been IRC for many years...IMHO.

It still has some warez you can't get else where, specifically some fiction books not on Libgen. The gap is closing though.

Used it all the time, and even more with now the Matrix bridge. The future bis bright please get off slack.

Every day at work.

It's where most of the work force hangs out, lots of different channels for different topics.

I believe a number of Open Source projects still maintain IRC communities on freenode.

I hang out on a bunch of private servers. And I built my own IRC client software.

I'm a big fan of IRC - for me it is one of the best tools to communicate

I use it every day, I find it better than asking questions on Stackoverflow.

Yes, it's still where you find some top people in various technologies.

Anyone know good Slack/Discord for embedded software/electronics?

Yes, I've been connected to undernet every day for over 2 decades now.


Twitch's chat system is build on top of IRC so technically yes.

Yes - anytime I need to talk to the amazing stripe support crew! :)

These days, I maintain a presence on the #txr channel on freenode.

This `Ask HN` prompted me to give a look on bash.org after more than 10 years!


Unfortunately not, I got manhandled info the mess that is slack.

I use it for my maker acquaintances.

been using it off and on for about 15 years.

I can attribute much of my early Javascript learnings to IRC.

And I can attribute the little I know of TCL to IRC.

Isn't everybody using slack technically also using IRC?

They used to have IRC / XMPP gateways. Closed them down.

I don't think Slack is based on IRC, no. I believe the best-known IRC-based system (that's not obviously IRC itself) is actually Twitch chat.

I would be on IRC everyday if I could access it from work.

I work at a large tech company and we use IRC heavily

All the time! I grew up in IRC chatrooms...

I haven't used IRC in about a decade.

I use #python as an absolute last resort.

Every day for the last twenty years!

Shhh, it's my secret weapon when it comes to software engineering. Freenode is the place. Whops.. now it's out.

Obligatory XKCD: https://xkcd.com/1782/


yes, plenty of irc servers are still alive

All the time.

Highly recommended.

only when i need stripe support.

I do.

Yep. I pop in #NetBSD on Freenode on occasion, whenever In working on something in current or have an unanswered question. It seems to he the only place to get help on products that might not have the biggest userbase or support out there otherwise. Most channels I've been in have a pretty friendly userbase as well, at least much better than many Discord servers I've been it.

only to download movies with XDCC :-)

A lot. There's a really nice client called Slack. </s>

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact