To connect, install an IRC program such as X-Chat or Irssi, and connect to irc.freenode.net. The channel name is, you guessed it, #linuxformat. In a typical IRC client, you'd enter:
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/nick mygreatnickname (whatever you like here, providing it's not already taken)
Note: discussions are prone to going widly off topic, so don't be alarmed if you land in the middle of a debate comparing Foster's lager with glibc.