The recent flurry of projects based around Internet Relay Chat (IRC) should be a fair indication that the beloved protocol is not going anywhere. Now, thanks to [Mike Chambers], you can add to the IRC ecosystem by hosting your very own MS-DOS based IRC server.
This port of ngIRCd (Next Generation IRC Daemon) has already been spun up on 8088-based PCs running at just 4.77MHz, but you’ll still need at least 640KB of RAM. If your vintage IRC server takes off, you might want to think about dropping in an 10MHz V20 for a bit of a performance boost. Even so, it’s impressive that this server can get up on the 40-year-old IBM 5150, and should absolutely scream on an AT-class system.
The limitations of the 16-bit platform means that SSL and ZLIB are unsupported, and Mike has capped total connections at 50 in his port (however, this limitation can be adjusted by rebuilding from source, should you want to find out how far 640KB of RAM can take you). You’ll also need a few other things to get your server up and running, such as a packet driver for your network card and an mTCP configuration file.
Setting up your own IRC server is arguably a
right rite of passage for most hackers and tinkerers, but getting this up and running on a decades-old beige box would make for a fun weekend project. [Mike] has all the juicy details on GitHub, and you can check out a test server running the latest build over at
Also, don’t forget to visit the #hackaday IRC channel over on
[Thanks Sudos for the hot tip]
17 thoughts on “IRC Server For MS-DOS”
Best on energy efficient microcontroller, no?
I know what you meant, but I’ll admit, my first thought was, a microcontroller that runs DOS, I’d buy that.
Now I can have an IRC server on my 486ish DOS+GEOS-phone?
Check out jkmicro.com. They sell two DOS based SBC’s, the Flashlite 186 and Flashlite 386 Ex.
“Right of passage” doesn’t sound “rite”
Whoops, that one snuck in. Thanks!
Hm, kind of makes me want to port this to LwIP…
At least 640KB of RAM?! Do they think we’re just made out of RAM or something?
Sorry for not responding to you when you connected a few days ago looking for info for the article, Chris. I keep a client connected and use it over ssh, but I don’t check it all too often. I wasn’t available at that point in time but I’m glad to see Mike’s project is going to get the attention it really deserves…
Of course it needs 640k. That ought to be enough for anyone.
>”Setting up your own IRC server is arguably a right of passage for most hackers and tinkerers, but getting this up and running on a decades-old beige box would make for a fun weekend project.”
/Al Borland voice
I do not think so, Tim…
No EMS support? :)
Where can I easily learn all this hacker stuff?!? I’ve always wanted to learn. I’m already familiar with ms-dos. And wanting to learn some of this newer stuff. My favorite Microsoft version was windows 98. It was very “user friendly”!! 🤷🤣🤣
It got Hack-A-Day’ed –
+++ Connecting to port 6667 of server irc.xtulator.com [refnum 49]
+++ Connection closed from irc.xtulator.com: Remote end closed connection
Connexion au port 6667 du serveur irc.xtulator.com
USER “username” * * :”first and seconde name”
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