During college days when I started using Linux for the time, one of my favorite past time was to click on every application icon on my computer. By random clicking, I tried to learn the usage of the applications. Once I managed to open a tool called xchat in the similar fashion, but after seeing the big list of servers I was lost. Never managed to find any guide which I could follow. I learned it is for IRC, but nothing more.
Using the first time
I learned a lot of things at foss.in. The 2005 edition was the first conference I ever attended. A fresh graduate from college awes struck by meeting so many people whose names I read on the Internet. It was a super big thing. During the conference, I met Till Adam, a KDE developer who taught me various important things throughout the conference. Things we count as first steps these days, like how to create a patch, how to apply a patch, and how to compile a big application (KDE in this case), etc. After the conference is over, he invited me to have dinner with him, and some friends. When I reached his hotel room he told me to wait while he checked if there was any message for him, and also who else were coming down. I don’t remember which application he was using. While I was waiting, Till asked me if I stay in the same IRC channel. “I don’t know what is IRC” was my reply. Till took his time to explain the basic usage of IRC to me in the hotel room. Before we came down for dinner, I already got a full overview and was eagerly waiting to start using it. There are many funny stories, and great memories from the dinner, but maybe in a later post.
Pradeepto founded KDE India during foss.in, and we got an IRC channel to stay and talk to all the new friends we made during the conference. I also found ##linux-india where I managed to meet many other ilug guys whom I talked before only on a mailing list. It was a fun time. After coming back from office, joining IRC was the first thing to do every day. Stay up very late, talk to people, make new friends was part of it. Meanwhile, I also started contributing to Fedora and started staying in all the Fedora channels too. First time saw how meetings can be arranged on IRC. There were too many new things to learn from so many people. I got hooked into Freenode server.
Effects in my life
IRC became an integral part of my life. I stay in touch with most of my friends over IRC, even with many friends who lives nearby :) The Durgapur Linux Users Group became synonyms to #dgplug channel over Freenode server. I landed in few of my previous jobs because of IRC. If I have any question about any new technology, or about a new place I am going to visit, I know I can go to IRC, and ask my friends. I still have many friends whom I never met in real life. I managed to meet more people after I started going out to more conferences. Like I met tatica only after 8 years of IRC chat during Flock 2013, there were too many other Fedora developers whom I met for the first time in a single conference. Same thing happened in PyCon 2013 where I suddenly found Yhg1s aka Thomas Wouters. I don’t know how many times he helped me over IRC before, and there suddenly I met him in the conference. In my current job, most of the meetings happen over IRC only. PSF board meetings also use IRC as a recording medium, and we vote on the agendas in IRC. Sometimes Anwesha complains that I can stay happy in a big city or in a remote village as I only need my IRC connection to work :)