I discovered and installed moodle two days ago as an experiment. I love the possibilities, but I agree about chat. But if I had my druthers, I wouldn't rely on this type of chat. Which leads me to the question:
Is there a smooth way to integrate usage of external programs within moodle administration? In this instance, I'm thinking if IRC. I've already got an IRC daemon running. There are plenty of clients to choose from. I could even point my firefox users to ChatZilla.