I spent a good deal (far too much) of my first year in college hanging around on internet "talkers". These were basically little servers that allowed for chatting, and had lots of cute features, like pretty colours and user profiles and suchlike. I had a lot of fun on them. Met lots of nice British people.
At the time, redbrick was still mid-transition from the days of the BBS (you'll need someone else to explain that, I'm not in the mood ;o). A new chat system had not yet been set up.
I spent that summer (when I should've been studying accounting & maths) learning how to write C, by playing with the NUTS (Neil's Unix Talker System, a popular source base for internet talkers) source code. It occurred to me that I could run it on Redbrick, and so I started "theming" it as "Redbrick House". I added lots of new commands, and made it up like it was a house (with living room, kitchen, toilet, etc :o). The admins & chairperson of the time liked it, and let me run it. Plop wrote a frontend for it to separate user input & output (called Itchy NUTS, Imaginatively Titled Client Heralding Yapping on NUTS), and lots of people used it.
It was very cosy, lots of fun, hideously coded, and crashed alot. But no-one really minded. It was replaced with IRC because NUTS didn't run stably on Solaris (Hell, it didn't run stably anywhere. It was a very good tutorial on how not to program ;o), and also because the admins had/have a stated aim of using standards-based, up-to-date technology to do stuff. Not that I would call IRC good technology. ;o)
So there you go. Hmm. This should probably be put in the Encyclopedia.
Origionally from the Encyclopedia