IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is perhaps one of the oldest surviving
means of group chat on the Internet today. IRC networks thrive, as can be seen
by the open-source-friendly FreeNode IRC network
where you can discuss Linux distributions, programs, and hundreds of other
topics with individuals around the world.

IRC works wonderfully in a collaborative environment as well. Many
people can get together to discuss a topic without having to install some
special software in order to do so; IRC clients exist for every operating
system available, so no matter what OS you use, you can connect to IRC.

Public IRC is great to discuss things with your peers, but in
a company or a situation where some level of privacy may be required, using a
public IRC network for discussion can be a poor solution, and many fall back to
other chat mediums that require specific software to be installed. However,
running your own IRC network couldn’t be easier.

A solid and easy-to-setup IRC server is ngIRCd, available at
Simply download the latest version and do the traditional configure-make-make

# cd /usr/local/src
# tar xvzf ~/ngircd-0.9.2.tar.gz
# cd ngircd-0.9.2
# ./configure --prefix=/usr/local
# make
# make install

Once this is done, edit /usr/local/etc/ngircd.conf to suit
your requirements. The file is heavily commented and extremely straightforward.
You can set up ngIRCd to be a stand-alone server or to peer with other IRC
servers to form a network. If preventing others from snooping on your
discussions is important, you can wrap the connection with SSL using stunnel, or you can set up encryption and
authentication by using SSH as a wrapper. (Detailed information on how to do
this can be found at

To start ngIRCd on your system automatically, simply add the
following to a startup file such as /etc/rc.d/rc.local:

/usr/local/sbin/ngircd -p

Only use the -p command if you are running a stand-alone IRC
server as this disables automatic connections to other servers.

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