An apology for using IRC for FOSS Projects

Drew DeVault has a spot-on post that presents a salient argument for using IRC chat for FOSS projects over whatever the flavor of the day might be. Today that flavor seems to be Slack (who, ironically, started out as IRC with history) and really took off when it added, attachments (eg images, code snippets) avatars and an embarrassment of emoticons.

IRC is still very much alive and well. It cuts through the graphical crap that has built up like thick ugly calluses on top of text-based chat systems and let's you communicate instead of wasting time.

Wasting time, that's the thing here. IRC can be used to kill time for mindless chat but it really shines as a way of holding short, clean conversations to resolve problems. There aren't many times you really need chat to solve a problem that couldn't be solved by email. But there are lots excuses to waste time when you are bored. Slack and their brethren appeal to the latter, while touting themselves as a solution to the former.

Note: In the title I use the word apology using an older sense of the word, meaning, a formal justification.

Tags: workflow , toolchain , BLOG ,