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IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. It is a resilient and low-bandwidth communication protocol which uses text for transferring messages. It started in August of 1988 in Oulu, Finland.


The chat is setup in a client/server model, where the one wishing to communicate starts her IRC client (such as XChat, mIRC or Colloquy), connecting to one or more networks of synchronized servers (such as Freenode, IRCnet or IndyMedia). It should be noted that sometimes a small IRC network has only one server. Each IRC network has their own set of channels and nickname lists, which are not shared amongst distinct IRC networks. Though, as hinted to previously, most IRC clients are able to connect to distinct IRC networks simultaneously.

After the connections to the servers have been established, one can join as many channels as one wishes and is permitted to. Channel names usually start with one hash sign ('#') followed by a label. Most IRC networks have the possibility of registering channel and nicknames to avoid malicious takeover.

Practically all IRC clients can automate, through configuration settings and scripts, the initial steps to connect to the intended IRC networks and channels.

Typical Usage

IRC was designed for synchronous communication amongst people, i.e. when all parties are simultaneously online, exchanging messages in real-time via text messages in the same channel, or via private channels known as queries. Asynchronous communication is also possible, if one leaves the IRC session permanently connected, which is why on some IRC channels you may find many people not responding immediately, since they set themselves away and check back sporadically, which is called idling.

Transition friendly IRC channels and networks

IRC Networks

Networks which are more closely related to Transition Network objectives.

  • Freenode (Free and Open Source Software communities, not-for-profit organizations, and related communities)
  • FuturAgora (a Portuguese Resource Based Economy focused association, literally translates to FutureNow)
  • IndyMedia (a collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage)
  • OFTC (Open and Free Technology Community)


Transition Network Specific Channels

  • #transition on Freenode
  • #TransicaoPFrades on Freenode (a bootstrapping transition initiative in Pinhal dos Frades, Seixal, Portugal)

Permaculture and Related Topics Channels

  • #permaculture on Freenode
  • #permaculture on EFnet
  • #permaculture on IndyMedia
  • #permaculture on synIRC
  • ##ecology on Freenode
  • #sustainability on EFnet

Project Channels

Organization Channels

  • #futuragora on FuturAgora, Freenode and PTnet (a Portuguese Resource Based Economy focused association)

Other Channels

Channels where you may get lucky since some members might be aware of transition initiatives and related.

Alternate/Crypto Currencies & Platforms Channels

Just a few examples, there are many more if you search for the appropriate keywords on

  • #bitcoin on Freenode
  • #peercoin on Freenode
  • #opentransactions on Freenode (Open Transactions - Financial Cryptography software)