11.20.21

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Number of Known Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Networks Grew About 10% Since Freenode’s Collapse, Number of Simultaneous Users Globally Around a Third of a Million

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 12:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 249a768218bbf62742a061319e515bca

Summary: About 333,000 simultaneous users in known (to netsplit.de) networks is nothing to sneeze at; contrary to what obituaries and epitaphs want us to believe, IRC hasn’t died and we look at where users have moved to in 2021

THERE are not many sites that keep abreast of IRC. Many wrongly assume that it barely exists anymore, but it has been around for a very long time. As netsplit.de puts it: “Internet Relay Chat (short: IRC) [...] a chat protocol that was developed in 1988 and that’s internationally used for text based communication over the Internet.”

Here’s a list of currently-known networks “in alphabetical order” (Techrights has only just been added, but like many other networks it was “unseen” for a long time).

Based on these known networks alone, the number of users peaks at around third of a million:

IRC totals
Quite steady, quite respectable

“The largest of them that take part in our comparison of IRC networks are contained in the top 100 list,” the page says, “but there are also some IRC networks that are big and run out of competition.”

Well, the collapse of Freenode gave more reasons for many projects to at least consider branching off. I suggested this to the FSF and GNU, but they lacked time and manpower.

“There are 528 known IRC networks listed below,” it currently says, but by using the Wayback Machine we can see that prior to Freenode’s collapse we were only at the 400s. For history’s sake we’re including the screenshots below.

1998

netsplit.de networks survey for 1998

2000

netsplit.de networks survey for 2000

2001

netsplit.de networks survey for 2001

2004

netsplit.de networks survey for 2004

2006

netsplit.de networks survey for 2006

2008

netsplit.de networks survey for 2008

2010

netsplit.de networks survey for 2010

2012

netsplit.de networks survey for 2012

2014

netsplit.de networks survey for 2014

2015

netsplit.de networks survey for 2015

2018

netsplit.de networks survey for 2018

2019

netsplit.de networks survey for 2019

January 2021

netsplit.de networks survey for 2021-jan

February 2021

netsplit.de networks survey for 2021-feb

April 2021

netsplit.de networks survey for 2021-apr

June 2021

netsplit.de networks survey for 2021-jun

July 2021

netsplit.de networks survey for 2021-jul

October 2021

netsplit.de networks survey for 2021-oct

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