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Bleeding Edge Magazine: Chatting with Linux

Apr 19, 1999, 11:28 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeff Alami)

By Jeff Alami

Online chat is one of the biggest wastes of time I've ever had the fortune to experience. You start up your chat client, you get a few people in a channel, and you sit around. An occasional joke followed by "LOL's" and "ROTFL's" is bound to happen. A remarkable trait of online chat is that you can never stay on the same topic for very long, especially not your intended topic. It's just like business meetings, except you could be in pajamas and no one would care.

How about chatting online with everyone's favourite OS? Linux offers a multitude of chat clients, including dozens of different chat clients to keep you going all day (and all night long), typing away to your heart's content. So, when you feel like procrastinating on your projects, find a chat client you like, and start wasting time right away!

Internet Relay Chat (or IRC for short) is one the most popular ways to chat on the Internet. Using a protocol separate from what's used for the World Wide Web (all under TCP/IP, of course), the IRC protocol is particularly suited for chatting. IRC-specific clients were developed, the most popular being mIRC for the Windows platform.

On Linux, one of the first IRC clients was ircII. ircII is a console client that was followed by another console client known as BitchX. Since then, a proliferation of X11-based graphical IRC clients have appeared; some of these new IRC clients are integrated with desktop environments such as GNOME or KDE.

These new IRC clients include Bezerk, an IRC client written with the Gtk+ toolkit; cIRCus, one of the first graphical IRC clients; Irrsi, a Gtk+-based IRC client that can use the GNOME panel; tkirc, a graphical front-end to ircII using Tcl/Tk and Expect; X-Chat, a powerful IRC client that is well integrated with GNOME; yagIRC, which stands for "yet another GTK+ IRC client"; and Zircon a Tcl/Tk IRC client.

A few IRC clients have been integrated into the K Desktop Environment, using some of KDE's libraries. These IRC clients include keirc, KSirc, and KVirc.

Once you got your IRC client of choice, there are a few places you'd want to check out. First, there's the Open Projects network; you can connect to irc.openprojects.net or irc.linpeople.org, and join the various Linux and Open Source channels. Additionally, the EFnet and Undernet networks have a #linux channel where many Linux people hang out. Also, SlashNET (at irc.slashdot.org) is a place where fellow Slashdotter can rant about current events and stories.

Copyright (C) 1999 Zeta Publications. (Reproduced from Bleeding Edge Magazine)