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Chat: Talking to the World

Talking across the World: Internet Relay Chat

A world-wide `party line' protocol that allows one to converse with others in real time. IRC is structured as a network of servers, each of which accepts connections from client programs, one per user.

(LaQuey Parker: Internet Users' Glossary)

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is another server-client model, developed in Finland in 1988. You connect to a server and are then able to `talk' in real-time to other people connected to IRC. All discussions are divided into groups, called channels (private, public, moderated, secret, or open), and you have to join a channel before you can enter in a discussion. Once joined (and obtained permission to speak, if necessary), you can enter into discussions in real-time with any other person on that channel. The other members could be located on your campus, in North America, or in any of 20+ countries of the world. Everything that is typed by any member of a channel is displayed almost immediately on every channel member's screen, allowing `party line' conversations around the world. You could start your own group and wait for other members to join, of you can join other groups. Your discussions could be designated as private (others can join by invitation only) or public (anybody can join).

Great groups to join are the Chess group, in which you may be challenged for a game of chess by a person in China, or - being German - I search out other people from Germany currently on IRC and talk for a while in German with them.

Using Netscape's version of the Chat program allows you to conduct entire multimedia discussions with other people all over the Internet.

Chat is not part of Netscape. However, a seperate program called 'Netscape Chat' is available from ftp.netscape.com and works extremly well in conjuction with Netscape itself.


Bert G. Wachsmut
Last modified: 05/03/00