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Eclipse, IRC, Ajax and zx’s law

This is my semi-annual notice of considering IRC as an option to reach the Eclipse community and the adopters of your Eclipse projects.

There has been growth on IRC since last year… we have seen the number of people participating in #eclipse increase to about ~150 and about ~35 in #eclipse-dev (I’d say about ~30% growth). We have also seen popular Eclipse projects like Equinox (#equinox-dev) and Modeling (#eclipse-modeling) make their debut. I’d love to see other projects follow suite, like those CDT guys as there are frequent CDT questions in #eclipse

In the end, this is just another avenue to reach the users of your technology and help support them. It also tends to have a more personal feel than say newsgroups or mailing lists. IRC allows you to build a kind of camaraderie not found in other communication avenues. This is all part of something I jokingly call zx’s law. zx’s law states that the success of an open-source project is highly tied to the number of people that idle in its IRC channels. Just look at #ubuntu and its 1000+ users.

On a side note, someone crazy thought it would be funny to write an Ajax-based IRC client called Mibbit. For those behind crazy firewalls, Mibbit may be a good option as it provides a clean IRC user interface.