The first time I used IRC was because of livestreams. Can't remember what streaming site that was, but it was before Twitch was a thing (or maybe when it was just starting to gain traction), and certainly before 2012.
One of the Polish Minecraft YouTubers whom I watched a lot was doing a livestream on that site, and IIRC he had it embedded on his website, side by side with a web IRC client. But it the web client was having issues, so I decided to install a regular IRC client.
It was XChat. On Windows. And it worked well. I spent some time in the IRC channel, outside of livestreams too. But I was mostly quiet.
Then I started making serverside Minecraft plugins using Bukkit framework, and Bukkit had an IRC channel on EsperNET as one of their main ways of getting support. Asked a lot of questions there, got a lot of answers.
All that without a ZNC or any other means of persistent connection.
There was a plugin I used on my server which was developed by a small team, and I had an issue with it, so I joined that team's IRC channel (Also on EsperNET. The whole Bukkit plugin community had channels on EsperNET).
I asked a few questions and... decided to start contributing. Most of the discussion about my pull requests was on IRC.
All that while I didn't have ZNC.
Had to pay attention to timezones.
MemoServ was also very helpful.
Several months later, one of the devs from that team let gave me an account on his ZNC. With number of networks limited to 1. So it was enough for EsperNET, but for all other networks, I still had to connect directly.
Only 3 years later I got myself a VPS and set up my own ZNC.
Seems like times are different now.
Web became good enough that people don't need to install clients.
Smartphones became more popular.
The expecatation is to be always online, even with with shaky internet connection.
@gil From today's perspective, I think that Flash was a disease, and modern JS is a spiritual continuation of the same mistake.
But back then, flash games were cool.
The first three things I saw on the internet were Google, Wikipedia, and a site with flash games. I didn't mind that flash games were flash. But I didn't like non-game websites made in flash.
We had Win98 and then WinXP. My dad knew a bit of Linux but not too much. I once used Knoppix liveCD to play games when WinXP broke.
But only really stared using Linux around 2012/2013, when I got mad at Win7 trying to be smarter than me.
Never liked RedHat 🙈
@vamp898 I never tried RedHat. I only found those CDs and the floppy in a drawer.
Did redhat originally sold them in a Box?
@vamp898 no idea