Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a well-known means of online communication through which users all over the world can chat over internet real-time in virtual chat rooms. This was one of the most extensively used chat rooms when it was introduced.
IRC permits users to create virtual chat rooms and invite people to join in. The interface is simple and user-friendly. In addition to sending text messages, you can also transfer files while chatting. Different software are used for various operating systems like Windows, Mac and UNIX.
The first version of IRC was developed by Jarkko Oikarinen, who studied in Finland at the University of Oulu. Motivated by the 'rmsg' program that was popular during those times, Oikarinen released the IRC in the year 1988. It was instantly popular in Finland and Scandinavia. Later, it spread to North America.
In 1991, when the need for receiving instant information became a necessity during the Gulf War, IRC was the program that was used for this purpose. More and more versions have been released during the later years. IRC is still used by a lot of people both for personal as well as professional purposes.
IRC servers are linked together since forming a superstructure of virtual chat rooms giving access to people for exchanging messages online. DALnet, QuakeNet, IRCnet and EFnet are some examples of huge IRC server networks. The individual servers that form a part of the huge chat network share the traffic and give an illusion to the user as though they are logged into just one server.