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Founded 1996
Geographic location Europe
United States
Based in Worldwide
Average users 75,000 - 98,000
Average channels 45,000 - 50,000
Average servers 40
Content/subject Public/Unrestricted

IRCnet is one of the largest IRC networks. It currently has more than one hundred thousand users.


IRCnet was formed as a European fork of EFnet, when a number of operator disagreements resulted in a group of European admins declaring their independence. This happened between May and July 1996. The reasons for the "Great Split" as it came to be called, included:

  • a policy disagreement about how much power system operators should have. IRCnet formed with the basis that there should be a set of rules defining what SysOps could and could not do. This viewpoint was opposed by many of the US-based EFnet servers.
  • a technical disagreement on whether the network should use timestamping (TS) or Nick Delay as a means to prevent nick collisions, according to Jarkko Oikarinen[1]
  • Vegard Engen, one of the European operators, stated[2] that the immediate cause for the "Great Split" was that a major US EFnet hub had been disconnecting without warning, and thereby breaking the link to the European servers.


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