IRCNow: The Network The Users Control

IRCNow wants to turn IRC into a real social network that the users control. We want IRC to be a serious competitor to non-free networks, to make it suitable for users of any age, technical skill, country, language, and religion.

We plan to do this without changing the IRC protocol. We want to build a thriving free network using quality software.

Why IRC?

IRC is the home of the free and open source community. IRC is an elegant protocol that is simple to code for and easy to understand. It supports a huge number of clients, has a large and mature ecosystem, and has over 100,000 users from all over the globe.

Fixing IRC

Sadly, IRC is still too hard for average people to use. In recent years, the IRC community has lost over 90% of its users to non-free social media. If we don't fix these problems, IRC will soon be dead.

Unfortunately, IRCv3 does nothing to fix any of the major flaws with IRC. A lot of the major problems with IRC are not flaws with the protocol but rather a lack of a decent service provider.

Major Problems with IRC:

  1. Most major IRC networks and clients are not free. Most do not allow freedom of religion or freedom of the press. The most popular IRC clients do not give you the freedom to share or modify the source code.
  2. Users need free bouncers that can connect to an unlimited number of networks. The bouncers must stay online 24/7, provide multiple vhosts, and be resistant to DDoS attacks.
  3. Users need servers that are physically located in every major country on Earth, and the service must support every major language. This will provide reliable, fast service and ensure that national firewalls don't block access.
  4. Users need a simple, uniform way to register and login to networks with different services
  5. Users need better protection from spam, online stalking, and harassment. They also need better spam defenses that don't randomly ban innocent users.
  6. Users need an easy way to upload a file in-band. Right now, all the clients require you to use an http client to share code snippets, photos, or videos. A lot of users don't want a full web browser inside their IRC client.
  7. Users need a simple way to sync messages across their phones, laptops, and computers. No one wants lost or repeated messages.
  8. Users need message received confirmations, not the message sent confirmations that IRCv3 provides.
  9. Users want buddy lists.
  10. Users want HTTP tunneling to bypass firewalls.
  11. Users want their bouncer to automatically handle frequent disconnects from mobile apps.
  12. Users want audio/video calls.

IRCv3 does almost nothing to solve any of the problems above. In fact, IRCv3 sometimes results in bugs that break compatibility with older IRC clients and servers.

IRCNow aims to provide the features that users care about today, without changing the IRC standard. We work to maintain backwards compatibility with all existing IRC clients and servers. We intend to bypass and ignore IRCv3 altogether.

IRC is not just a protocol for nerds. We the Users plan to transform IRC into a social network for everyone.