"But what forms of online communication are effective
for managing such a vast community? Mailing lists are powerful,
allowing for further discussion of activity on Launchpad. Mailing
lists are publicly archived collections of conversations, and
similar to email services you might already be familiar with such
as Google Groups, Yahoo Groups and Posterous. However, the bulk of
online activity actually takes place in the form of online
meetings, and these happen on IRC. What on earth is IRC? - I hear
you ask. It's short for Internet Relay Chat, it provides real-time
text chat and it has been around for a LONG time. Wikipedia credits
Jarkko Oikarinen for IRC's conception in August 1988!
"You'll find IRC at the heart of Ubuntu's development. IRC is a
collection of networks, hosted on servers worldwide, each divided
into chat rooms (or channels) to group users by topic of interest.
Anyone can join any network to communicate with others through
channels, or via private message"