The IRCnet is one of the largest IRC networks in the world. It is visited by an average of 65,000 users per day (as of 2011).
The IRCnet was a European spin-off from EFnet after a disagreement arose in July 1996 over the regulation of the powers of the system operators. In the rules of the IRCnet the power of the operators (irc-ops) is clearly defined. Many of the American EFnet servers rejected this rule.
The idea of an independent network had been simmering for some time when an American IRC hub, which was the main connection to the European IRC servers, interrupted this connection without warning. A group of European administrators then declared themselves independent. All European EFnet servers switched to IRCnet, later the EFnet servers from Japan and Australia were added.
The network also contains the oldest IRC server in the world. It was decided that the network should take the name IRCnet. Before that, this name was commonly used for all IRC networks. Before the name was set, the network was known as "European EFnet".
The history of the IRCnet
The IRC protocol ( Internet Relay Chat ) on which IRCnet is based is based on a chat extension originally developed by Jarkko Oikarinens for the Bulletin Board System (BBS). The first IRC server, tolsun.oulu.fi, was created in 1988 at the University of Oulu , Finland . The first IRC network was created by merging the IRC server of the University of Oulu with those of the Universities of Helsinki and Tampere , and later with the servers of the Universities of Denver and Oregon .
In 1989 there were already over 40 interconnected IRC servers worldwide. In 1990 the network split into the EFnet and the (unsuccessful) A-Net. After a few smaller spin-offs, the Big Split finally occurred in 1996, when the European part of EFnet and several non-European servers separated from the server network and jointly formed the IRCnet. The number of users of the IRCnet soon exceeded that of its "big brother" EFnet by far.