Internet Relay Chat (IRC) has been around for a long time now. It’s a protocol for group chat on a client/server network model. What’s important is that it’s the de facto standard for communication among the Grey Hat Group, the cybersecurity interest group I’m in at school.
In my Army days, I actually spent a large portion of my deployment on IRC. I communicated with different units and coordinated missions using mIRC, a proprietary Windows-only client. mIRC is responsible for creating the infamous “trout slap.” At home I was using XChat for a while. It’s cross-platform, it’s (kinda) free, and it was bundled with at least one of my Ubuntu installs. It worked well enough, but it’s become abandonware over the past few years. I then moved to HexChat, a truly free and actively maintained fork of XChat.
All of these clients are functional. I can connect to a server, join a channel with any of the above, and start chatting without a hiccup with any one of them. The problem arises when I invariably shutdown my laptop or it loses network connectivity. We use IRC because we want to be able to talk to each other in real time, and I don’t want to miss a thing. If my IRC client goes offline, then I miss out on the conversation. I also lose operator status on the channels I help maintain. (We don’t have services, not my fault.)
Nowadays I’ve moved my IRC client to a remote server from Amazon Web Services. AWS is a collection of remote computing resources. Since my server is always running, my client is always running. I just connect to the server from wherever I am to jump back into chat. I’m going to run through how to get a free EC2 instance, install a good IRC client, and access it remotely. Read More…