Internet Relay Chat, or IRC, is an online protocol used to chat in near-realtime. IRC predates instant messaging and is particularly popular among F/OSS developers.
- it is an open protocol, and
- it is widely supported, including popular F/OSS implementations
FreeCulture.org maintains an IRC channel at #freeculture on server irc.freenode.net. Click here if you have an IRC client installed.
How to use
IRC is widely supported by many programs. Below are a few:
- IRC with Gaim - using Gaim, the cross-platform F/OSS instant messaging program.
- IRC with irssi and screen
- Colloquy for Mac OS X
- X Chat for Fedora Linux and Windows
- Chatzilla, an extension for Mozilla Firefox
If your ISP attempts to block IRC, there are ways around an IRC block.
If you don't want to download anything (or are on a computer where you can't install programs), don't worry! You don't need to!
In addition to the above programs that support IRC, you can visit  to find a web-based portal to #freeculture. Just choose a nickname to use (with no spaces) and go!
This may be particularly useful if you have trouble connecting via other mechanisms.