SlashNET is an all-encompassing IRC network, sponsored by Slashdot (hence, the name) until quite recently, when they became independent. They refuse monetary contributions and the network is run entirely by volunteers.

SlashNET have a unique "hands off" approach to administration. In their own words, unless something breaks the operators are just regular users with a symbol next to their name. Their mission is to keep the servers going, that's all.

Cyclone, their IRC server daemon, is available for download from the site, although I cannot vouch for its quality personally as I don't run a server. From the SlashNET server itself it seems to be quite stable. According to the blurb it has SOCKS checking to make sure you aren't evading any bans and host name cloaking to stop DoS attacks.

The IRC server itself allows nickname registration, and they allow bots, within reason of course. They have servers located in Australia, The Netherlands and the USA, plus a range of random servers to keep things evenly distributed. The network is one of the biggest, certainly comparable to DALnet and its peers.

You can connect to the network by punching into BitchX, Kirc, Kopete, mIRC or whatever you use for IRC. Many clients have SlashNET handily provided in a drop down menu for you, saving you at least 16 keystrokes. Connecting to the address above will automatically select the best server for your location using your IP block. Individual server addresses are available on the website at #everything is hosted on SlashNET, as pointed out to me by Czarkhan... hmm, is this network ubiquitous already?

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