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IRC – (XChat vs mIRC)

IRC, the Internet Relay Chat. How many of us have used it? I am assuming that the answer is a “plenty” (and I would be right is assuming so – my own little ask around indicates that most people at least know what it is.

But IRC is now almost synonymous with the mIRC IRC client, by Khaled Mardam Bey. There are other clients for it too, but nobody cares (or is aware) a dime. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact the Windows platform dominates the market, but still…

Truth is, open source does it better. I am, of course, referring to the wonderful XChat program. It does exactly everything that mIRC does, and more, but most of it better than mIRC. I am not taking a dig at mIRC, nor am I related to XChat, it is just that facts are facts.

So what are the big things? The biggest thing that XChat does better than mIRC is the chat itself – the famed nick alignment that XChat applies is the most recognizable and easing feature, apart from aesthetic. Then there is the nick colour randomization – every nick in a chat is randomly coloured. XChat makes an ally of readability and aesthetics. The configurability is in a class of its own – simple, detailed, but not overly so. And of course, XChat is open source.

That said, mIRC has an unmatched documentation (XChat lovers may jump at me here, but just look at the HTML help mIRC offers after install). It also has another fine point: the mIRC scripting language, a method of scripting so simple, the average user can peruse the installed manual and come out an expert in ten minutes. XChat has scripting too, and like mIRC, plenty are available online, but the average user is left figuring out the Perl, Python, C++, and Ruby scripts and plugins.

Actually, it is quite simple. If you want power, aesthetics, even simplicity, XChat is the way to go. It is available on Windows too: xchat.org has a Windows version. The only niche that might prefer mIRC is that set which wants very easy scripting, and those who do not care to Google around a bit.

All in all, I have taken XChat. And once you start using it, mIRC will look downright primitive by comparison.

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  1. 14 March 2009 at 9:07 AM

    You forgot that X-Chat (for Windows) costs $20, the same as mIRC. When it comes down to it, most people could care less about open source vs closed source. They look good software. On Windows I prefer mIRC, on Linux X-Chat, on OS X Collioqy (know I misspelled it).

  2. 14 March 2009 at 10:19 PM

    No, XChat is free – even for Windows. Not the official build, but the community builds, such as Zed.
    XChat is best for both Linux and Windows, I think. Arguments above 🙂

  3. Steven
    26 May 2009 at 9:09 AM

    XChat is easy. mIRC is hard. It’s as simple as that.

  4. 27 May 2009 at 12:21 AM

    @ Steven: Many people would disagree. But you’re right, XChat is easy, mIRC is hard. It’s simple as that! 🙂

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