Convos solves IRC's persistence problem

Posted by Iván Ávalos on 7. Jan, 2021.

When I first used IRC, back in the old days of mid-2020, I was shocked and disappointed by the lack of features in IRC that I consider essential for any messaging protocol—such as persistent sessions and conversation store. I was born in the boom of the Internet, when tons of fancy proprietary IM platforms, such as Windows Live Messenger and Facebook, were already popular, so I grew up with features made popular by these platforms.

Things like IRC and AIM might have been the norm in the 90's, but the youngest generations (mine included) are growing up with different standards of what a decent and usable IM platform/protocol should be like. As a result of huge innovations in communications technology, we now expect a lot more from software and services than older generations did (I suppose). IRC might seem archaic and useless to most people born after 1998, but that's something that can be solved (mostly).

Persistent sessions? Bouncers! Conversation store? Bouncers! E2EE? Well, some people use OTR. Ease of use? Depends on the client. Self-hosting your personal bouncer is what most people seem to do in order to solve the persistence problem and store conversations (logging); but last time I checked, they are not precisely easy to configure and require some sysadmin skills; hosted SaaS solutions (e.g. IRC Cloud) are rare and not free (as in freedom or free beer). These options are definitely an entry barrier for the non-tech-savvy majority of users, one that is incompatible with the just works™ philosophy.

But, guess what? There is something better than bouncers and proprietary services: Convos! Yes, Convos! A free (as in freedom) and open source client-bouncer-platform mixture created by an independent four people non-profit called convos-chat. It consists of an always running shared IRC bouncer and an intuitive web client that looks just like any other IRC client. It's something you self-host as well, but it's way, way easier to configure, manage and share with friends and family, and even offer as a paid service to other people. It is a perfectly integrated all-in-one solution that solves most IRC problems.

I had made my poor laptop suffer with Amphetamine (for macOS) and Textual for nearly a month, when I discovered this wonderful thing, and were able to put my laptop to rest. There were some issues, which were immediately solved by my friend Batman (jhthorsen's nick in Freenode, not the crazy guy that appears in the Marvel comics created by Steve Jobs), and now Convos is nearly perfect. Thanks, Batman and convos-chat, you've done an excellent job in making IRC better for everyone!