From mIRC's FAQ:
"mIRC is a shareware program. This system of distributing programs, as shareware, shows the true spirit of the Internet. You can download mIRC for free and give it a try. If during or after the 30 days evalution period you decide to continue to use mIRC, you're asked to pay a small registration fee of $20. This will allow Khaled, mIRC's author, to go on developing and supporting mIRC with the same spirit and enthusiasm as he has shown in the past 6(+) years. Your registration of mIRC will support the future of mIRC's www pages for help, hints and support and encourage the development of mIRC, its help files and the FAQ. :-) Once you registered one version of mIRC, you're allowed to use all future versions for free!"
mIRC has been shareware for many years. According to the license agreement, you may use it for a 30 day trial, after which you are asked to register and pay for it or delete it. This is not new.
The only thing different in recent versions is that you can't disable the reminder screen as you could in prior versions. Just because you checked the "dont show me this again" in prior versions and didnt have to be reminded daily, didnt mean you werent expected to pay for mIRC if you continued to use it beyond the trial period. Just as you have the right to expect to be paid for the work you do, so does Khaled. mIRC isnt a hobby for him, its how he makes a living.
mIRC, as in the past, (unlike most shareware) will continue to work if you dont register it. Its to be hoped that even if it takes you a bit longer than 30 days to pay for it, you will as soon as you can and help support mIRC's continued growth. The $20 i paid back in 1996 has given me many versions and countless hours of enjoyment over the years. I consider it money well spent.
There are threads here with ppl expressing their opinions of paying for mIRC. Use the search feature and set it to "all forums" and expand the date range to see them. To find other IRC clients, use a search engine such as www.google.com