History of IRC

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File:First IRC Server tolsun.oulu.fi.jpeg
The very first IRC server, tolsun.oulu.fi, displayed in the University of Oulu's computer museum.
File:Jarkko Oikarinen.jpeg
Jarkko Oikarinen, inventor of IRC

IRC was created in 1988 by Jarkko Oikarinen who worked in the Department of Information Processing Science in University of Oulu.
Jarkko had alot of free time on his hand, and started working on a communications program that was meant to make the universities public BBS a little more usable. He wanted to allow USENET-like discussions and groups that would be real-time, and integrate some other BBS related stuff.
At least two other programs for real-time communication existed at the time, but they were primarily used for one-on-one discussions. These programs were rmsg which was implemented by Jyrki Kuoppala <[email protected]>, and MUT (MultiUser Talk) written by Jukka Pihl <[email protected]>. MUT had a tendency of not working properly, and in order to fix it Jarkko had sat down and implemented the first IRC server on tolsun.oulu.fi by the end of August 1988.

Timeline of Events


  • First IRC server, tolsun.oulu.fi in August



  • Late in the year, Darren Reed adds hash tables when IRC stops under load.
  • March
    • 2.2msa4
  • June
    • 2.5beta
    • ircII 1.90a
    • 12 users, 38 servers
  • August
  • September
    • 117 servers
    • 41 users, 86 servers
  • November
    • 2.6 released
  • December
    • ircII 2.0beta10


  • Troy Rollo takes over ircII development
  • January
    • The Gulf war, peak goes from 100 to 300 users.
    • version 2.6.1 adds flow control
  • Feburary
    • bandwidth NSF stats record 8.8GB the month of February
  • March
    • NSF is all T1
  • 2.6pre18 (famous for running services.de long after 2.7 release)
  • bandwidth 200k/2 hours
  • 135 servers, 69 US & 66 non-US
  • April
    • 240 average users
  • June
    • Cori booted off
    • The.PLAN
  • August
    • ircII 2.1.3
  • October
    • 399 users, 120 servers, 44 opers
  • November
    • ircII 2.1.5pre3

1992 - 1997

  • ICMP attacks, cert advisory July 1992
  • Matthew Green takes over ircII development in January of 1993
  • irc.colorado.edu reaches 1,000 users in 1994
  • IRC reaches peak 5,000 users in 1994
  • irc.escape.com reaches peak 2,000 users in 1995
  • IRC reaches peak 15,000 users in October 1995
  • Id releases Qtest and # Quake reaches peak 1,556 users in February of 1996.
  • Europe and US EFNet splits into two separate networks as a result of a disagreement on whether the network should use TS or Nick Delay as a means to prevent nick collisions. May 1996, known as the "Great Split", or "Big Split".
  • IRC reaches peak 30,000 users in April 1997.
  • irc-e.primenet.com and irc1.phoenix.net both reach peak 3,000 clients in June of 1997.
  • smurf.c, October 1997


  • January
    • IRC reaches peak 40,000 users
  • March
    • irc.blackened.com reaches peak 4,000 clients
  • April
    • irc.blackened.com reaches peak 5,000 clients
  • May
    • irc.blackened.com reaches peak 6,000 clients
  • June
    • irc.blackened.com reaches peak 7,000 clients
  • September
    • irc.blackened.com reaches peak 8,000 clients


  • February
    • irc.idle.net reaches peak 9,000 clients
    • irc.idle.net reaches peak 10,000 clients
    • IRC reaches peak 50,000 users
  • July
    • irc.freei.net reaches peak 11,000 clients
  • August
    • irc.concentric.net reaches peak 12,000 clients
    • irc.concentric.net reaches peak 13,000 clients
  • November
    • EFNet reaches peak 60,000 clients
    • irc.core.com reaches peak 14,000 clients
  • December
    • irc.core.com reaches peak 15,000 clients
    • irc.core.com reaches peak 16,000 clients

Gulf War Logs

Some highlights

Feel free to add your own if you are browsing through the log files, mode changes & signoffs stripped.

<Mark:+report> 45 journalists in bagdad
<Mark:+report> all in one hotel
*** Cython1 is now known as Cython
<Mark:+report> all all are safe
<nova:+report> "45 journalists still in baghdad (in same hotel)"
<Mark:+report> all in bomb shelter
<lynx:+report> dont chat please
<nova:+report> "nobody is permitted to go outside hotel"
<VOA:+report> world prayed for peace ... saddam prepared for war
<Finland-i> israel not in war
<Finland-i> finnish radio - report from israel
<Finland-i> israel quiet and sleeping
<Finland-i> unbeliveably quiet
<VOA:+report> we now believe only force will ...
<Finland-i> turkish govt have set up crisis center
<VOA:+report> take every necessary step to prevail as quickly as possible...
<Finland-i> tass has said war has started
<VOA:+report> this will nat be another Vietnam!
<nova:+report> "this will not be another Vietnam"
<nova:+report> "casualties will be held at absulote minimun"
<VOA:+report> this is an historic era...