IRC is Internet Relay Chat, and is what people used to communicate with text and keyboards through the Internet in real-time before there was ICQ, AIM, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger. Many IRC clients are available for various OS like Windows, MacOS, and of course Linux.
To find an IRC Client that is right for you, you have several options:
- Search freshmeat for IRC Clients and see if there is one that you like.
- Search Google for IRC clients and lists of clients you might want to try.
- GAIM is a general purpose Chat client that just happens to support IRC as well as Yahoo Messenger, AIM, MSN Messenger and ICQ user chat accounts -- all in one! GAIM works in Linux, and there is a windows client available too. You may be able to install GAIM as a package from your Linux Distribution.
- ircII is a fairly old, command-line-based IRC client. It is often available as a client for most Linux systems, and is usually packaged with most distributions.
- Other popular IRC clients include: irssi, sirc, BitchX, and xchat.
NBLUG has it's own official IRC channel (#nblug) on IRC.FREENODE.NET. where several members will often hang-out and generate idle-time. Many of the members will join this channel (room) and leave a session logged-in even when they are away from their computer. Occasionally, someone will check to see if anything has changed, and may choose to chat.
If you join and say hello, only to find silence, try waiting around for a while and see if anyone else joins or responds.
For some pretty good documentation on getting help with IRC, check out http://www.irchelp.org/ for documentation and FAQs.