29 votes

Why IRC is Still Good in $CURRENT_YEAR

30 comments

  1. [9]
    tomf
    Link
    IRCv3 will be interesting. What I love about IRC is that it just works --- and with the wide array of clients, it works the way I want it to. One thing I especially don't like about the culture of...

    IRCv3 will be interesting.

    What I love about IRC is that it just works --- and with the wide array of clients, it works the way I want it to.

    One thing I especially don't like about the culture of Discord, Slack, etc is that each group has a dozen unnecessary channels. I got into a typewriter chat and there are eighteen different channels.

    Other platforms come and go, but IRC is eternal. Is it perfect? No -- but nothing is. I'd sooner use a platform that wasn't driven by profit / angels than anything. IRC, much like email, is an internet utility.

    21 votes
    1. [8]
      est
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I glanced IRCv3, it didn't mention how images or attachments are transfered. Is it a already solved problem or it is an undesired feature? On telegram, people had lots of fun sending image memes,...

      I glanced IRCv3, it didn't mention how images or attachments are transfered. Is it a already solved problem or it is an undesired feature?

      On telegram, people had lots of fun sending image memes, gifs, transfer compressed files, share some video clips, and most interesting of all, those animation emoji stickers. There are even mini emoji games like dices, darts and hoops. Are these possible with IRCv3?

      1 vote
      1. [7]
        tomf
        Link Parent
        hm. I don't see it, but there are bots that can handle all sorts of games from Werewolf/Mafia, SecretHitler, Codenames, etc. I have a hunch that we'll still be using external hosts for images and...

        hm. I don't see it, but there are bots that can handle all sorts of games from Werewolf/Mafia, SecretHitler, Codenames, etc. I have a hunch that we'll still be using external hosts for images and attachments.

        1. [6]
          est
          Link Parent
          external hosts for images and attachments are fine, but is it clearly defined in IRCv3?

          external hosts for images and attachments are fine, but is it clearly defined in IRCv3?

          1 vote
          1. [5]
            tomf
            Link Parent
            nah, not as far as I've seen. However, previews and all would be handled on the client level --- and have been for years. I think the main features relate to message IDs (e.g. replies), better...

            nah, not as far as I've seen. However, previews and all would be handled on the client level --- and have been for years. I think the main features relate to message IDs (e.g. replies), better indicators, history, etc.

            Which client do you use?

            1. [4]
              est
              Link Parent
              mIRC on Windows, Textual on Mac. I rarely IRC these days. Mostly on Telegram/Slack/Discord

              mIRC on Windows, Textual on Mac.

              I rarely IRC these days. Mostly on Telegram/Slack/Discord

              1 vote
              1. [3]
                tomf
                Link Parent
                not sure about mIRC, but Textual can do inline previews. I'd be surprised if emoticons/reaction gifs/etc make their way into IRC, though. IRC should be as text-only as possible -- at least in my view.

                not sure about mIRC, but Textual can do inline previews. I'd be surprised if emoticons/reaction gifs/etc make their way into IRC, though. IRC should be as text-only as possible -- at least in my view.

                1. [2]
                  est
                  Link Parent
                  speaking of text-only, quoting code is way easier in Slack or Telegram. In IRC we have to use Paste.

                  speaking of text-only, quoting code is way easier in Slack or Telegram. In IRC we have to use Paste.

                  1 vote
                  1. tomf
                    Link Parent
                    yeah -- this is all coming down to preference, but I prefer a pastebin (etc) vs code in the chat.

                    yeah -- this is all coming down to preference, but I prefer a pastebin (etc) vs code in the chat.

  2. [7]
    lionirdeadman
    Link
    I highly disagree. The ability to reference things in the past make so much questions disappear or easier to answer since referencing the past is easy and possible. As for ideas, it's generally...
    • Exemplary

    this makes IRC great for hashing out ideas, asking quick questions, and having conversations while hacking on things.

    I highly disagree. The ability to reference things in the past make so much questions disappear or easier to answer since referencing the past is easy and possible. As for ideas, it's generally good to remember them rather than forgetting them in the abyss as to implement them later.

    If you’re in a group of people you can trust to be competent then it’s entirely possible to make IRC work this way and have a reasonable guarantee of privacy and security.

    TLS does not replace E2EE in any way, it's no better than trusting Discord with your messages.

    IRC is still a really useful and good platform especially for software minimalists and technical users who wish to have a relatively hassle-free experience

    Sure.

    IRC is great for open collaboration and quick support in free software projects (far better than Slack or Discord)

    Not at all. Telling people to use IRC is just as good as telling them to use BBS for support.

    and it can be made to work for private chats as long as you can trust everyone in the group to be competent.

    It gives a tremendous amount of power to the server owner. This is an illusion of safety imo.

    but this doesn’t mean it’s dead, useless, or outdated.

    Yes, it does. IRC is not suitable for the modern era. It should be buried.

    12 votes
    1. [6]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      IRC the protocol? Sure, I don't really care. IRC the ecosystem, community, and resource? The people on freenode have helped me fix so many problems at work they should be on my employer's payroll....

      Yes, it does. IRC is not suitable for the modern era. It should be buried.

      IRC the protocol? Sure, I don't really care. IRC the ecosystem, community, and resource? The people on freenode have helped me fix so many problems at work they should be on my employer's payroll. My co-workers come to me with Postgres questions. All I do is forward the question to #postgresql and relay the response.

      5 votes
      1. [5]
        lionirdeadman
        Link Parent
        Of course the community shouldn't die. I really think that the freenode people should move to Matrix.

        Of course the community shouldn't die. I really think that the freenode people should move to Matrix.

        1. [4]
          Moonchild
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Freenode person here. I don't want to use matrix. Partly, this is because I actually prefer IRC as a protocol. Partly, this is because I'm used to the interface of my IRC client. But mostly I like...

          Freenode person here. I don't want to use matrix. Partly, this is because I actually prefer IRC as a protocol. Partly, this is because I'm used to the interface of my IRC client.

          But mostly I like the culture better on freenode (and efnet, and rizon). That's enough. It's very difficult to create a space on the internet with a good culture and precedent for interaction (as anyone on tildes should know). If matrix isn't already better, what reason do we have to migrate to it? Even if everyone agreed to migrate en masse (which won't happen anyway), the existing culture would still be whatever it is; that just seems rather counter-productive on both sides.

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            lionirdeadman
            Link Parent
            Why do you like IRC as a protocol? If you like the interface, you could use matrix-ircd to use matrix with an irc client or try another terminal matrix client, I assume? I don't understand why...

            Why do you like IRC as a protocol? If you like the interface, you could use matrix-ircd to use matrix with an irc client or try another terminal matrix client, I assume?

            I don't understand why changing platform should mean changing culture. But yes, migration is hard. On the other hand, I'm sure you're aware of how unfriendly IRC is to a new user, right? I think it would be good if work was done on that part and I think using matrix would be the easiest way to do that.

            1. [2]
              Moonchild
              Link Parent
              You can speak it by hand. The simplicity appeals to me. I've written an irc bot or two that pushed and pulled messages directly in plaintext. I also like the peering server model; it looks like...

              Why do you like IRC as a protocol?

              You can speak it by hand. The simplicity appeals to me. I've written an irc bot or two that pushed and pulled messages directly in plaintext. I also like the peering server model; it looks like matrix does something slightly similar, but it allows anyone to set up a server, and channels are associated with servers (though you can access a channel from any server, not just the one that's associated with it)?

              The rich media stuff looks nice, but I'm pretty ambivalent about it: it doesn't seem fundamentally more capable than what's available on irc.

              I don't understand why changing platform should mean changing culture.

              Because culture doesn't change that way. If there's some culture already present in matrix, it's not going to disappear because a bunch of people from irc showed up.

              5 votes
              1. lionirdeadman
                Link Parent
                Yes but also no. Channels can be accessed from any server (as long as they don't block your server of course). However, channels are not associated with servers per se, they have an alias (which...

                and channels are associated with servers (though you can access a channel from any server, not just the one that's associated with it)?

                Yes but also no. Channels can be accessed from any server (as long as they don't block your server of course). However, channels are not associated with servers per se, they have an alias (which there can be an infinite number of) and each server which is connected to it is also the same room. So say that matrix.org's server goes down and you're connected from mozilla.org, people from matrix.org won't be able to talk or receive of course but other people will be able to still talk.

                The rich media stuff looks nice, but I'm pretty ambivalent about it: it doesn't seem fundamentally more capable than what's available on irc.

                I personally like this but I think the most important part for me is that history logs are expected and integrated without a bouncer. This makes referencing solutions so much easier and also finding out if it's been asked before. Also, the Matrix interface and way of working is just a lot more user-friendly than any IRC client will be and doesn't murder your battery on a phone (assuming no bouncer of course).

                Because culture doesn't change that way. If there's some culture already present in matrix, it's not going to disappear because a bunch of people from irc showed up.

                There is no culture on Matrix like there is no culture on IRC. It highly depends on the rooms and servers just like on IRC. Like, Mozilla culture didn't change because they decided to kill their IRC servers and switched to Matrix ones. Freenode (or anyone) could totally host their own server and keep the culture this way.

  3. [4]
    CavesUnderscore
    Link
    Sure, for people who have used it for years. For most people though, Matrix is a better choice. And encryption is pretty much essential unless you're running a public room. It's a lot easier to...

    Sure, for people who have used it for years. For most people though, Matrix is a better choice. And encryption is pretty much essential unless you're running a public room. It's a lot easier to get people to switch from Discord to Matrix than it is from Discord to IRC. Matrix is also growing at a faster rate compared to IRC, which is in my opinion on the way out.

    9 votes
    1. [3]
      dblohm7
      Link Parent
      Yep. IRC was becoming a barrier to contributing at Mozilla. Since switching to Matrix, I've heard some crazy stats like one single Mozilla Matrix channel having more users on it than all of...

      Yep. IRC was becoming a barrier to contributing at Mozilla. Since switching to Matrix, I've heard some crazy stats like one single Mozilla Matrix channel having more users on it than all of irc.mozilla.org did by the end.

      Do I miss parts of it? Sure, but at least in Mozilla's case it was no longer suitable to our needs.

      8 votes
      1. [2]
        CavesUnderscore
        Link Parent
        Damn. I never used IRC. But Matrix seems to capture a lot of the intelligent users who were originally there, supposedly.

        Damn. I never used IRC. But Matrix seems to capture a lot of the intelligent users who were originally there, supposedly.

        2 votes
        1. mxuribe
          Link Parent
          One reason many irc users move to matrix - at least nowadays - is partly the network effect (their fellow chat buddies move over to matrix)...but also because matrix resembles the concepts of irc...

          One reason many irc users move to matrix - at least nowadays - is partly the network effect (their fellow chat buddies move over to matrix)...but also because matrix resembles the concepts of irc - at least somewhat - with the idea of rooms/channels, etc. In fact, the matrix project lead (Matthew Hodgson) was a big time user and admirer of irc...and incorporated modernized concepts of irc into matrix. Bridging is one example often cited as beiung inspired by irc...but of course modernized for the matrix protocol. Matrix is not only designed for chat, rather for many other types of communications; hence made flexible similar to irc...but again with modern (and future) use-cases in mind (beyond just chat).

          EDIT: Spelled out name of Matthew Hodgson.

  4. [10]
    pew
    Link
    Is there any good solution to keep a history, stay connected and have the ability to join from the web and mobile to irc? Running a bouncer solves some issues but they go down from time to time...

    Is there any good solution to keep a history, stay connected and have the ability to join from the web and mobile to irc? Running a bouncer solves some issues but they go down from time to time and you lose the history / mentions for the time you're offline

    8 votes
    1. [5]
      tomf
      Link Parent
      Are you using a free bouncer or hosting your own? I’ve been running my own for years now and haven’t had it drop at all — but the *bnc services often get hammered.

      Are you using a free bouncer or hosting your own? I’ve been running my own for years now and haven’t had it drop at all — but the *bnc services often get hammered.

      5 votes
      1. [4]
        pew
        Link Parent
        Was running my own and for a while used one a friend was hosting. Network issues happen, software updates and so on, this is when I lost some history of a chat conversation. This doesn't happen...

        Was running my own and for a while used one a friend was hosting. Network issues happen, software updates and so on, this is when I lost some history of a chat conversation. This doesn't happen with systems like slack, discord and so on since they store the stuff centralized (I know, I know.. :)). They might go down for me for a while but I won't miss out on the conversation when I'm not there for a few days.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          tomf
          Link Parent
          well, that's weird. Like @Moonchild said, IRCCloud is pretty good. My own bouncer never goes down unless, again like Moonchild, where I'm doing updates. Check out IRCCloud, though. You can also...

          well, that's weird.

          Like @Moonchild said, IRCCloud is pretty good. My own bouncer never goes down unless, again like Moonchild, where I'm doing updates.

          Check out IRCCloud, though. You can also run one on a lowendbox for a few bucks per year (literally $2 in some cases.) I did this for a long time with Gullo's or Inception.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            psi
            Link Parent
            Wow, this is something I never knew I wanted!

            You can also run one on a lowendbox for a few bucks per year (literally $2 in some cases.)

            Wow, this is something I never knew I wanted!

            1 vote
            1. tomf
              Link Parent
              They're pretty great if you're somewhat technical. Its all IPV6, so you get a range of 20 ports from IPV4. The welcome email will have all of this. They're nice because they're cheap and perfect...

              They're pretty great if you're somewhat technical. Its all IPV6, so you get a range of 20 ports from IPV4. The welcome email will have all of this.

              They're nice because they're cheap and perfect if you only need a single, somewhat lightweight application to run. For hosting and stuff, I think most people run it through cloudflare.

              1 vote
    2. [2]
      Moonchild
      Link Parent
      I hear good things about irccloud and thelounge. Huh? The only time my bouncer's ever gone down is when I've updated it or the OS its server runs; both are rare. (Or netsplits, but those are an...

      I hear good things about irccloud and thelounge.

      [bouncers] go down from time to time and you lose the history / mentions for the time you're offline

      Huh? The only time my bouncer's ever gone down is when I've updated it or the OS its server runs; both are rare. (Or netsplits, but those are an inherent part of the protocol.) Either way, I can't remember the last time my bouncer was down.

      5 votes
      1. xnaas
        Link Parent
        Not a huge contribution to the discussion, but +1 for thelounge. Works well and is as modern as you can be with an IRC client.

        Not a huge contribution to the discussion, but +1 for thelounge. Works well and is as modern as you can be with an IRC client.

        4 votes
    3. [2]
      Thra11
      Link Parent
      Quassel is designed to be distributed, so you can have the core always running on a server somewhere and connect and disconnect various different clients as required. It has Linux, Windows, macOS...

      Quassel is designed to be distributed, so you can have the core always running on a server somewhere and connect and disconnect various different clients as required. It has Linux, Windows, macOS and android clients, but I don't think it currently has a web client.

      3 votes