Internet chat system IRC turns thirty | University of Oulu

IRC turns 30! This Finnish invention was revolutionary and changed lives. And it lives on.
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) was born at the Department of Information Processing Science of the University of Oulu 30 years ago. Jarkko Oikarinen developed the internet chat system back in 1988.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    On Its 30th Anniversary, IRC Evokes Memories of the Internet’s Early Days

    IRC’s creator Jarkko Oikarinen has attributed some of its success to its built-in decentralization. “Instead of having separate servers, IRC linked the servers together, which allowed all the users to be present in the same network.” (Whereas when Slack goes down — like it did this week — thousands of users suddenly go offline simultaneously.) But he also cites anonymity — the disposable, user-chosen handles — as “what makes IRC special.”

    Back in 1997, Jarkko said he’d already heard of lots of couples who met on IRC, and he even acknowledged that it affected his own life. “It has opened my eyes to see and understand people from different cultures.” Sounding just like any other enthusiastic IRC user, Jarkko said, “I have made many friends around the world, which I would not have made without IRC.”

    “IRC is great—it was even the subject of a hit EDM song!—but it definitely has never been polished,” adds Motherboard.

    “Ask a group of IT administrators how many have used the old-school IRC chat services and plenty of hands will be raised,”

    Jarkko Oikarinen famously created IRC while he was still a college student. “IRC started as one summer trainee’s programming exercise,” he once wrote.

    So how long did it take to build IRC? “The first versions which were tested within Finland were coded in maybe three to four months, with help from several other people in Finland.” Jarkko doesn’t remember the exact day he finally launched IRC, though he remembers it was in August.


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