As documented in RFC 2812 and RFC 2813, the IRC protocol is used for text conferencing. Like mail and news, IRC uses a client/server model. Although it is rare for an individual to establish an IRC server, it can be done. Most people use public IRC servers and access them with IRC clients.
Ubuntu Core provides a number of graphical IRC clients, including X-Chat, licq-kde, and Mozilla-chat, but there is no default chat client for Ubuntu. Ubuntu also provides the console clients epic and licq for those who eschew X. If you don't already have a favorite, you should try them all.
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