Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a form of real-time Internet text messaging (chat) or synchronous conferencing. IRC was born during summer 1988 when Jarkko Oikarinen wrote the first IRC client and server when he was working in the Department of Information Processing Science at the University of Oulu, Finland. This system enables millions of people around the world to communicate in real time. While IRC has lost some popularity, IRCv3 looks interesting with some advanced client features such as instant notifications, improved security and more.
IRC is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums, called channels, but it also allows one-to-one communication via private message as well as chat and data transfers via Direct Client-to-Client.
IRC is used for many different purposes such as obtaining technical support from developers and users, for conducting meetings and even for rolegaming.
Users typically connect to an IRC network using an IRC client. The client takes the raw IRC traffic and turns it into an easy-to-use interface.
Although the IRC protocol does not provide any file transfer mechanisms, users can create file servers that allow them to share files with each other by using customised IRC bots or scripts for their IRC client.
IRC is a good way of engaging with the Linux community. Being able to tap into the wealth of knowledge of individuals logged into IRC enables users to engage directly with developers and other users of distributions and applications. IRC is not just limited to obtaining and giving technical support to others; it can be used for many other activities.
To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled an updated list of 9 praiseworthy graphical IRC clients. Our findings are captured in the ratings chart below in the classic LinuxLinks-style.
Let’s explore the 9 graphical IRC clients. Click the links in the table below to learn all about each client.
|HexChat||Multi-network IRC client based on XChat|
|Quassel IRC||Distributed, KDE4/Qt based|
|Smuxi||Smart MUltipleXed Irc - the IRC client for sophisticated users|
|Pidgin||Easy to use and free chat client supporting lots of protocols|
|KVIrc||KDE based next generation IRC client with module support|
|Konversation||User friendly client for KDE Plasma 5|
|Polari||Simple to use IRC Client|
|dxirc||Simple yet capable cross-platform IRC client|
|Communi||Simple and elegant cross-platform IRC client|
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