Life After IRC – Your Move, Mozilla!

Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the Internet Relay Chat protocol (IRC) and it is hard to imagine that [Jarkko Oikarinen] could have foreseen the impact his invention would one day have on the world as we know it. How it would turn from a simple, decentralized real-time communication system for university-internal use into a global phenomenon, connecting millions of users all over the world, forming its own subculture, eventually reaching mainstream status in some parts of the world — including a Eurodance song about a bot topping European music charts.

Those days of glory, however, have long been gone, and with it the version of an internet where IRC was the ideal choice. What was once a refuge to escape the real world has since become the fundamental centerpiece of that same real world, and our ways of communicating with each other has moved on with it. Nevertheless, despite a shift in mainstream and everyday communication behavior, IRC is still relevant enough today, and going especially strong in the open source community, with freenode, as one of the oldest networks, being the most frequently used one, along some smaller ones like OFTC and Mozilla’s own dedicated network. But that is about to change.

Last month, Mozilla’s envoy [Mike Hoye] announced the decommissioning of irc.mozilla.org within “the next small number of months, and moving all communication to a new, or at least different system. And while this only affects Mozilla’s own, standalone IRC network and projects, and not the entire open source community, it is a rather substantial move, considering Mozilla’s overall reach and impact on the internet itself — past, present, and now even more the future. Let’s face it, IRC has been dying for years, but there is also no genuine alternative available yet that could truly replace it. With Mozilla as driving force, there is an actual chance that they will come up with a worthy replacement that transforms IRC’s spirit into the modern era.

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Fubarino Contest Example: A Sneaky IRC Bot

adam-fubar

You may have heard about Hackaday’s contest to win one of 20 Fubarino boards. We included an example entry from [Mike]. Here’s my example entry for the contest: An IRC search Bot powered by a Wicked Device WildFire board. We’ve all seen IRC bot’s before, but how many have you seen that can turn on an LED while running off a cell phone battery?

The IRC bot’s operation is fairly straightforward. It enters a channel and can be commanded to search. ¬†The first two searches will return links to Google searches for the strings given. ¬†Every third search however, will return a link to Hackaday’s search page. In the example below, “SedAwk” is an unsuspecting user, and “SearchRobot” is our bot.

SedAwk: SearchRobot: SEARCH Unicorns
SearchRobot: Search Complete! https://www.google.com/#q=Unicorns
SedAwk: SearchRobot: SEARCH Rainbows
SearchRobot: Search Complete! https://www.google.com/#q=Rainbows
SedAwk: SearchRobot: SEARCH Quadcopters
SearchRobot: Search Complete! http://hackaday.com/?s=Quadcopters
SedAwk: What the heck?

Follow along after the break to see what other tricks the bot has up its sleeve…

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PropIRC: Propeller Based IRC Client

propeller

Many people don’t want to miss anything in their IRC room, so they “idle” or just leave the client open to capture all the conversations. It can be annoying to have it going in the background on your computer though. To remedy this, [Harrison] built a simple computer from a propeller microcontroller that’s only purpose is to connect to IRC servers. It can take a regular PS2 keyboard and works with a standard monitor at 1024×768. It’s compact size and low power requirements make it quite a useful tool to have around if you are always on IRC. you can download the source code and schematics on the site.

[Thanks Scott]