Remembering the wild days of IRC on its 30th birthday

Jon Cog writes, "On the 30th anniversary of IRC, David Cassel pulls together his favorite memories from the 1990s, 'when there were all kinds of fun things to do.' It was an unexplored world of freedom and fun, where even Monty Python's fish-slapping dance got a shout-out in a popular IRC client — prompting one reporter to describe IRC as 'the kind of place that slaps you around a bit with a large trout.' But the article describes the humble origins of IRC (as a Swedish college student's summer project), as well as the many weird and wonderful moments that followed — including an IRC-themed music video from Sweden in 2006. And best of all, IRC is still popular among open source developers today.

On any channel, there was always the possibility of being ceremoniously kicked from the conversation if you offended the channel's creator. And then there was that time back in 1998 when America Online was kicked off IRC — that is, de-linked from all non-AOL servers for internet-relayed chat. On a mailing list for IRC administrators of the EFNet — which still calls itself "the original IRC Network" — AOL had been urged to find more resources to handle abuse, to which their sys-admin had responded instead, "Life sucks. Buy a helmet."

The vote to de-link AOL's server was unanimous.

AOL's not the only major entity who's had to deal with angry operators. "Asking about Ubuntu on Debian's IRC channels is not considered nice…" warns one 2014 web page explaining "how the FOSS Foundation and the Warsaw Hackerspace got (temporarily) banned from #debian at Freenode."

On Its 30th Anniversary, Remembering the Early Days of IRC [David Cassel/The New Stack]