IRC is an internet chat protocol. It has been under continous development ever since the original RFC has been published in 1993. I have been active on the technical side of IRC since 2002 with my own network and I have been working on a number of software packages for IRC since then. The most popular software I am working on is Anope IRC services.
Today we have released Anope 1.7.20. The bugtracker is nearly empty -- the one bug remaining is probably fixed but we're waiting on full confirmation -- and we're confident that the current codebase of the 1.7 series is pretty stable.
The next step is to fix up all documentation and other documents included in the release so that they are all up-to-date and do not give old instructions to people. Once this is done we can pack up a first release candidate for 1.8.0. Basically this means that 1.8.0 will finally hit the streets in the upcoming 2-3 months.
What will happen once 1.8 is the new stable branch? We will be working on Anope2, a rewrite in C++. The core of this rewrite will not be exclusive to Anope: any project building some sort of u:lined service should be able to use this core. The core will be developed together with the people from Denora. This helps to assure that the core does not get Anope specific, and it reduces the development effort required per developer to a doable level.
The core has been labeled IRC Cantus. There is not much official for that yet, apart from a very early web page with the logo on it. Once there is more info available I will post more updates on IRC Cantus.
I recently had a chat with DrStein, project leader of the Denora IRC Statistics project, about the future of both Anope and Denora. We both want to move to C++ with the next generation core and since we both basically are U:lined servers with slightly different clients, we thought we could work together on a brand new C++ core for both of our projects.
Details are still sparse since we still need to work out the details, but I am pretty sure this will lead to a decent, project-independent core. Having two projects using the core from start will allow us to fine-tune the core to include everything both of us need, but exclude everything that would make the core only really usable for a single project (like with the current Anope core).
I will post more news on this when there are plans on how things will take shape :)