Thursday, April 9, 2009

Introduction to IRC ( Internet Relay Chat )

    Contents :
  1. IRC (Internet Relay Chat)
  2. History
  3. IRC Clients ( Programs )
  4. Server, Nicknames (nicks), Channels.
  5. Types of users on IRC.
  6. Entering commands
  7. Services on IRC Network
  8. Some smileys and jargon
  9. IRC Scripts

I. IRC (Internet Relay Chat)

IRC is a tool for communicating with folks from all over the world. It's similar to talking via the telephone, only we type and read each other's messages through our computers. It's a wonderful medium for those who are homebound, or going through difficult circumstances in life, or simply looking for a hobby. Chatting can be helpful if your spouse and/or children are out of town as a means of cutting long- distance phone bills. IRC can be many things to many people, and it's up to an individual to determine how much enjoyment this can bring you.

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II. History of IRC

IRC originally started in Finland by a fellow names Jarkko Oikarinen While having too much time on his hands, he looked into writing a better communications system than what was already in place through USENET news, or BBS groups. IRC was born in 1988, but didn't really take off until 1991, when during the Gulf War updates from around the world kept people glued to their computers and IRC channels, hanging onto the latest happenings. It was also a way for military personnel to keep in contact with family members.
In fact, when Princess Diana's death stunned the world, news of this was instantly being relayed through IRC channels, and a specific channel for only this discussion was started for all those wishing to hear more.

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III. IRC Clients ( Programs }

In order to use IRC (Internet Relay Chat), you will first need to download an IRC Client if you have not already done so. Popular IRC clients for major platforms are:

Windows          : mIRC
MacOS            : ircle
Unix X GUI       : xchat
Unix Console     : EPIC or irssi.
Web browser based: Mibbit AJAX client

In addition to the above suggestions, there are many other options available for Windows and Unix. Once you have downloaded a client, you will need to configure the software. Use the documentation provided with the software to do this. The two main settings that need to be configured are a nick name you are going to be identified by and selection of one or more IRC servers you will use to connect to the IRC network.

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IV. IRC Servers, Nicknames and Channels on IRC

IRC Servers

IRC uses specific servers known, unsuprisingly, as IRC servers. In order to use IRC, you will have to tell your IRC client which IRC server to connect to. There are plenty of servers about, although it is usually a good idea to choose a server geographically close to you if you want a good, fast, connection, with minimal lag time (delays). In some, rare, cases, you may be denied access to a given IRC server because of some personal issues of behaviour (unlikely), or perhaps because there have been problems with other IRC users from your ISP. In either situation, there is nothing you can really do to gain access and you're probably best simply trying another IRC server.


In IRC each user is known by a "nickname", such as "smartgal" or "FunGuy". To avoid conflicts with other users, it is best to use a nick that is not too common, e.g. "john" is a poor choice. Your nickname or "nick" will appear before your posting to the channel.

Your "nick" also protects your privacy. You cannot be identified; no one knows what age, sex, race or the country you are in - and you don’t know anything about anyone else. This can lead to some fairly childish behaviour or behaviour which is not usual between people. But it has a good side too - no one can identify your race and age - it’s just people chatting with no prejudice about appearance.


Channel names usually begin with a #, as in #irchelp. The same channels are shared among all IRC servers on the same net, so you do not have to be on the same IRC server as your friends. Each channel can be joined by a "virtually" unlimited number of users and every word spoken "to the channel" is seen by all the users that have joined it. Each channel has a topic that usually describes the ideas being exchanged between users in that moment. It is a good idea to take a look at the topic before starting to talk "randomly" :). Channels are run by channel operators, or just "ops" for short, who can control the channel by choosing who may join (by "banning" some users), who must leave (by "kicking" them out), and even who may speak (by making the channel "moderated")! Channel ops have complete control over their channel, and their decisions are final. If you are banned from a channel, send a /msg to a channel op and ask nicely to be let in (see the /who command in the next section to learn how to find ops). If they ignore you or /who gives no response because the channel is in secret mode (+s), just go somewhere else where you are more welcome. Some IRC networks have a richer hierarchy of channel users and you may find half-operators, channel administrators or channel owners.

Once connected to an IRC server on an IRC network, you will usually join one or more "channels" and converse with others there. Conversations may be public (where everyone in a channel can see what you type) or private (messages between only two people, who may or may not be on the same channel). IRC is not a "game", and I highly recommend you treat people you meet on IRC with the same courtesy as if you were talking in person or on the phone, or there may be serious consequences.

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V. Types of users on IRC

Channel Operators Channel operators are the users who protect the channel against users which cause spamming or flooding. They are identified by @ sign before their nick name and have the +o mode assigned to them. They have the full control on channel and can kick/ban users, change channel topic/modes etc. Voiced Users These are the users with +v modes assigned to them and have + sign before their nick name. They don’t have any special rights but can chat even if the channel is moderated. Normal Users These are the normal users with no special rights and they can chat normally if the channel is not being moderated.

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VI. Entering commands

Commands and text are typed in the same place. By default, commands begin with the character / . If you have a graphical client such as mIRC for Windows, many commands can be executed by clicking on icons with the mouse pointer. It is, however, highly recommended that you learn to type in the basic IRC commands first. When entering commands, pay close attention to spacing and capitalization. The basic commands work on all the good clients.
Some examples are given below. In these, suppose your nick is "yournick", and that you are on the channel #IrcDiary.
Your friend "Hamzah" is in #IrcDiary with you, and your friend "walrus" is on IRC but is not on a channel with you. You can apply these examples in general by substituting the relevant nick or channel names.

Examples :

/server 6667

[6:45] * Connecting to (6667)

/join #IrcDiary

*** You join the channel #IrcDiary.

/who #IrcDiary (this command Gives some info on users in the channel).

@ = channel operator, while * means IRC operator.

/me is a girl

Everyone in #IrcDiary sees * yournick is a pink bunny

/leave #IrcDiary or /part #IrcDiary

You leave the channel #IrcDiary

/whois Hamzah

You get some info about Hamzah or whatever nickname you entered.

/whois yournick

This is some info others see about you.


When you are not in a named channel, lines not beginning with a / have no effect, and many commands work differently or fail to work altogether.

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VII. IRC Services

Internet Relay Chat services (usually called IRC services) is a name for a set of features implemented in most[citation needed] modern Internet Relay Chat networks. Services are automated bots with special status which are generally used to provide users with access with certain privileges and protection. They usually implement some sort of login system so that only people on the access control list can obtain these services. The most popular style of services use a number of fake clients whose names end in "Serv". The four below are nearly always seen in services of this style. NickServ the NickServ service allows you to register your nick with the network and protect it with a password to prevent people other than you from using your nick when you are not connected to IRC. Registering your nick is also the foundation required in order to use most of the other services on the network. Once you've connected using the nick you wish to register, simply send a message to NickServ in the form of: /msg NickServ register This will register the nickname to you, and protect it with a password. Please be careful! There's no way to recover this password if you lose it! (Well, to be fair, the passwords are stored DES encrypted, so we could sponsor a DES project to brute-force your lost password, but would you really want everyone to know you lost it?) After having registered your nick, you'll want to automate the registration process in your IRC client. Sample scripts for many popular clients are provided below. If you create a script for a client not featured here, please consider mailing it to so we can add it. As with all the bots, you can /msg NickServ help for detailed help. ChanServ ChanServ allows you to register channels on the network and control who can join them and set other permanent attributes for it. Most users will not need to use ChanServ services. MemoServ MemoServ allows you to leave messages for other registered nicks, even if that person is not currently online. Other users can use MemoServ to send messages to you, as well. Sample usage: /msg MemoServ send Nugget Cows are cool! /msg MemoServ list

OperServ This kind of IRC Services is used only by IRC Operators. Also known as AdminServ, RootServ, or OpServ. Sample usage: /msg operserv help On Some others are also seen following this naming convention in some services packages including:
  • BotServ, a bot which allows channel operators to assign bots to their channels. these bots are mostly a ChanServ representative in the channel.
  • HelpServ, the help service bot, is used to provide help on a variety of IRC topics.
  • HostServ, a host service bot, is used to allow general users to register a vhost so that their real IP address on IRC is hidden.
  • RootServ, used on specific networks, is utilized by Services Root Administrators to perform Root Administrative functions for the IRC Network and Services Program.
  • StatServ, a statistic services bot, is used to perform various statistical analysis on the IRC Network.
  • Global, a message agent, is a specific service that is used to send global messages via services. This agent is usually given a global IRC Operator status as to be able to perform the function. This service must be on a U:Lined server so it has the ability to spoof nicknames. This service is often renamed to the name of the network.

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VIII. Some smileys and jargon

:-) is a smiley face, tilt your head to the left to see it. Likewise, :-( is a frown. ;-) is a wink. :~~( is crying, while :-P is someone sticking their tongue out. :-P ~~ is drooling.(-: a lefty's smile, etc. There are hundreds of these faces.

Here are some common acronyms used in IRC:

brb =  be right back                     bbiaf = be back in a flash
bbl =  be back later                     ttfn = ta ta for now
np  =  no problem                        imho = in my humble opinion
lol =  laughing out loud                 j/k = just kidding
re  =  hi again, as in 're hi'           wb = welcome back
wtf =  what the f--k                     rtfm = read the f--king manual
rotfl = rolling on the floor laughing

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IX. IRC Scripts

IRC Scripts are a way of shortening commands and responding automatically to certain events while connected to an IRC Network. There are many different scripting languages for different types of IRC clients: ircII, BitchX, mIRC, Visual IRC, Bersirc, and others have their own scripting languages, many of which share common features and syntax and therefore are easily portable from one IRC client to another.

Note :

  • Since IRC scripts are used to interface with a public network, they are a favourable target for attack. Event handling code must be careful when dealing with input received from other IRC users; a poorly written IRC script may leave the user vulnerable, allowing attackers to possibly read the user's passwords or private conversations, execute arbitrary commands in the user's IRC client, or access files on the user's hard disk.
  • Many good scripts have been hacked so that if you load them, you can seriously compromise your security (someone can get into your account, delete all of your files, read your mail, etc.). There are also evildoers who try to send people viruses and other bad things. Just like in real life, don't accept anything from a stranger. There have been many incidents of this type, not just a few. Do not ever run a script unless you know what each line does, not even if it is given to you by a friend, as your friend may not have the expertise to detect well-hidden "trojans".Automatic DCC get is a very bad idea! Once it is on, you are susceptible to dangers ranging from disconnection from your server to giving someone else control of your computer. Quite a few people have run into serious problems because of the DCC autoget setting.

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