Simplicity of IRC

During discussions with my friends and colleagues, whenever the topic of chat protocols comes up, I often remark how simple the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) protocol is and how this simplicity has fostered creativity in the lives of many young computer hobbyists growing up in the late 1990s and early 2000s. For many of us who were introduced to the Internet during that time, writing an IRC bot turned out to be one of our first few non-trivial hobby programming projects that involved network sockets, did something meaningful, and served actual users.

It’s a big loss we let IRC kind of fall by the wayside as the world moved to things like Slack, Discord, and Teams. It turns out people want features like audio and video chat, emoji, images, videos, and so on – all things a slow-moving, classic standard like IRC will never properly support.

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