I admit that I wondered what “own” was for far too long. I’m also surprised IRC came later than I thought. It should be better than it is at that late in the game. Not initially, but it should have been improved more, in my estimation.
The reason IRC never got better is this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/IRCd_software_implementations3.svg
The reason the Timeline lists different IRC networks is because most are not actually compatible with each other: different IRC flavors. This is why Telegram won’t open source the server—once you lose the network, you lose the future (like IRC did).
Yeah, I wrote a raw IRC interpreter for a bot or a proxy once (I intended to have it used for both). It was an exercise in frustration, and knowing the edge cases and ridiculousness of the “IRC Protocol” have made me long for replacing it with something federated and open. Ah, our eternal lists of projects.
Maybe “custom” would be better. (But longer.)