IRC heavily shaped the modern web, and had market dominance for decades, and built so much user loyalty that die-hard fans are still refusing to migrate off today. IRC isn't the future of chat. But it is completely normal, and often even desirable that successful things should someday die when new paradigms become more useful.
The only way to call IRC a failure is to have such a narrow definition of success that almost nothing in the world could ever be considered successful. Discord is 5 years old. I guarantee you Discord is not going to last 30 years before everyone migrates to a new platform. It probably won't even last 10 years.
Matrix is (in my mind) the future of open chat. If Matrix ends up lasting 30 years before we come up with something better -- and if it gets even half of the market penetration that IRC got -- then I'll be ecstatic. That would be success beyond my wildest dreams.
AIM not pivoting its social graph to be Facebook. That's a failure.
My point isn't "yeah it really is dead" but "man we need to get back to those pidgin days somehow"
I would say this 1999 vibe is caused by smartphone and the "issues" that XMPP and IRC have with multiple clients for the same account. But it's a pity that, instead of improving those protocols, now we have to deal with multiple clients for multiple services.
Why people understand that you can use email with whatsoever client you want, but no with chats?
#python for the python language
#php for the php language
#django for the django framework
#laravel for the laravel framework
#symfony for the symfony framework
#startups for startup stuff
#css and #webdev for web development
#mysql for mysql and mariadb
#math for math related topics
Show me any other chat system where you can go online, ask a question and get answers from professionals in the field instantly. I would immediately use it. But there is none.
But only on IRC you can instantly talk about any technology that you are interested in and meet someone with knowledge.
In my area, IRC servers were maintained by local ISP administrators plus some help of local volunteers. As local, dial-up ISPs consolidated and ended up absorbed or put out of business by telecoms, IRC networks become orphans.
Not that it makes much of a difference from user perspective. Freenode works just fine and I don't need ISP's server for it.
* Clients like hexchat are plain but functional. I'm sure if a designer was hired they could figure out a way to make it prettier and harder to use.
* I don't generally worry about mobile support because I prefer in depth discussion with a real keyboard on a real computer.
* It "failed" because most of the dumb people who don't have anything useful or informative to say prefer to say their nothings via the mobiles and you can't sell people IRC hosting at 10 usd per user per month.
* The only thing it really needs is trivial persistence via a cheap bouncer integrated into clients with fewer steps. As in add credit card number click go.
I hate the UI/UX today. It is unbelievable how much information fits into my 80x24 terminal running irssi, whereas for example Discord takes up an entire workspace and you cannot customize it to your liking, there is just too much unnecessary spacing, and you cannot make the list of friends disappear and so forth without using an extension. Discord started adding unnecessary crap which made me resort to using uBlock to hide them. I cannot do this with Electron apps, so I am using whatever I can (and have to) from the browser, but I wish I did not have to use them in the first place.
In any case: IRC will never die for me. Xterm + irssi will never die for me. :) I will continue growing old with my buddies on Freenode! :D
today, I get a notice in email from Slack when Y-ImportantPerson speaks directly to me, which means a record is entered in a graph database somewhere that says "mistrial9 spoke to Y-ImportantPerson" --meta-data-- .. I am impressed by the addition of constant logging of all communications activity on Slack, as a solution to hacking activity ??
Is this the same social promise that brought us directly into the F*Book era? "people don't care" is not a real answer...
*Or, given that this is 2020, your parents probably do know how to use it, but your children can't be bothered to figure it out because the walled garden alternatives already have all of their friends online.
Why do you think it barely has any new users, and how do we measure it?
And that's the most useful statement in the document.
One thing ive never read is "why is my irc client using GB of RAM".
Food for thought.
There's still a community I hang out with on IRC, and I started thinking about finding an IRC client for my new Macbook Pro (have been using X-Chat on Linux for months). Just the other day on HN I learned about Erc, which is an IRC client that's built right into Emacs. Tried it out last night and it's working awesome so far! Now if only the 8 Slack teams I'm a part of would switch over...
> Clients joining and parting channels and servers didn't
have much state
State and state management is the main design problem at the heart of IRC. There's actually a lot of state considering that this is state that has to be replicated across all servers. (All servers have to know about all users currently connected)
Servers are connected in a spanning tree. All servers need to have the same state. State changes are initiated locally at each server and propagated through the spanning tree (which simplifies state propagation a lot). State changes take time to propagate, which means that servers will not have the same view of the world at any given time. Network partitions means the servers on each side of the partition have to forget all the state that belongs to the other side of the partition. When networks join conflicting state has to be resolved and there aren't really any good ways to do this.
Perhaps we have different views on "state". Perhaps you are talking more about the user experience and not the design challenges inherent in the low level design?
One thing that makes me very sad is that XMPP was such a pig's breakfast. It would have been really nice to have a messaging system backed by an IETF standard that wasn't infested with whatever technology was popular at the time of its creation.
One of the common complaints I have heard about IRC is that there's no history if you're not connected (contrast to, say, Slack). In most cases I consider that to be a feature; one of my biggest complaints about the way many teams use Slack is that it becomes both a real-time chat system and the canonical state of truth about decisions and how they were made.
It's a little more work, but I would personally prefer if chat was used to discuss things, and then someone took the time to actually summarize the discussion and conclusion into a document somewhere. Maybe it's Markdown that goes into Git, maybe it goes onto a wiki, maybe it's just a long-form email that people can review at their leisure. But there's got to be some kind of better record than a disjointed Slack chat.