With Flight 5, XChat-Gnome was removed, leaving only gaim able to do IRC. However, this made getting onto #ubuntu now very difficult, due to needing to setup gaim with multiple arcane dialogs.
Into this breach has stepped JoelBryan. He has written a tool called Ubuntu Live Chat Support, designed to make the process of getting onto #ubuntu a mere wizard dialog away. Rock!
Update: Apparently, the man is not done. How about an easy way to handle irc links?