IRC - Internet Relay Chat, doc/MANUAL
Copyright ? 1990, Karl Kleinpaste
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Date: 04 Apr 1989
Author: Karl Kleinpaste
Last modification: 15 May 1992
by Mauri Haikola
Modified for Undernet: 7 Feb 1995
by Carlo Kid
INTERNET RELAY CHAT (a real-time conversational system)
1: IRC - replacement for talk(1)
IRC is a functional replacement for and improvement to talk(1). Talk is an old, primitive, atrocious, minimalist sort of keyboard/screen conversation tool, using a grotesque, machine-dependent protocol. IRC does everything talk does, but with a better protocol, allowing more than 2 users to talk at once, with access across the aggregate Internet, and providing a whole raft of other useful features.
2: Entering Internet Relay Chat
To enter Internet Relay Chat you need to run a client, which will start connecting to its default server. The best clients are the clients conforming to 'ircII' but those are all unix clients. More info on clients can be achieved HERE
3: How much can be seen from here
The universe -- seriously. This is most formally called Internet Relay Chat. Server hosts are connected via a tree structure. The various servers relay control and message data among themselves to advertise the existence of other servers, users, and the channels and other resources being occupied by those users.
There is quite a lot of structure to the operation of IRC, as compared to crufty old talk(1). Since so little could be done with talk(1), it needed little structure. But to keep track of people spread literally around the world (the system was written by Jarkko Oikarinen of Finland, usually seen on the system as `Wiz'), the structure is useful so that one can speak to exactly those people with whom one wishes to speak.
All users of IRC are known to the system by a `nickname.' By default, one's nickname is one's login name. Nickname clashes are not allowed; this is enforced by the servers. If one's intended nickname clashes with someone else as one enters chat, one will not be able to complete entry to IRC until one changes one's nickname to something else.
4.2: Presence on a channel
Fundamental to the operation of IRC is the concept of a channel. All users are `on a channel' while inside IRC. One enters the `null channel' first. One cannot send any messages while not in any chatting channel unless one has set up a private conversation in some way. The number of channels is essentially unlimited -- whatever will fit in a string of some ungodly length, that must start with a # sign.
4.3: Main modes of channels
Public -- This is the default mode for a channel. When one is on a public channel, one can be seen by all other users (if one's own user mode permits this). Anyone can notice users on a public channel and join such a channel's conversation.
Private -- This means that, although anyone can see that one is using chat, no one can tell what channel one is using unless one is already on that channel with oneself. Since the number of potential channels is in the billions, this is quite some security -- all one gives away is the acknowledgement that one is using chat.
Secret -- While one is on a secret channel, no one who is not on one's channel with oneself can even see that one is there. One's name does not show up in a list of active users. The only indication of one's presence is that, when entering chat, all new users are told that there are "N users on P servers." If one checks on all users and finds less than N of them, one knows that others are hiding on secret channels. But a secret channel user still cannot be found except by brute-force checking through all channels, a hopeless proposition in the face of the huge number of possible channel names. Security through obscurity finally means something. Of course, making a channel like '#test' secret gives a huge chance to be discovered anyway.
Changing the mode -- The mode of a channel (private, secret, invite- only, moderated, topic-limited, person-number-limited, no-messages-to-channel, ban someone from channel) is set by the channel operator, who is the first person to join a channel, or someone who has had channel operatorship bestowed on them by another channel operator.
4.4: Conversations not using channels
It is possible to conduct conversations with others without using the formalized channel structure. Doing so requires that two people set themselves up for private conversation using special commands; see User Commands below.
5: Getting help
Type "/help." Follow the instructions. Since this is a client feature, it might not work for you, in which case you'd have to consult your local IRC guru or someone on the net.
5.1: User commands
In most clients, commands must start with a '/' (for example: /join #test). The most important commands supported by IRC are:
help quit who whois list topic join
part links msg invite silence names stats
nick away info clear query ignore mode
5.1: /quit [comment] /quit exits chat. Optional comment may be included; see above.
5.2: /who [#channelname_mask | email@example.com]
/who returns information on who is using chat. /who without arguments prints info on all users that can be seen.
Users of public channels show up with their channel identified. Users of private channels appear, but they are specified as being on a private, unspecified channel. Users of secret channels and users whose user mode is +i (invisible) do not appear at all. Giving a channel name as an argument to /who returns only those users of the specified channel.
This still doesn't show users of secret channels or invisible users one is actually on the same channel with. Users of private channels are shown, if an exact channel name is given.
5.3: /whois <nickname>
This returns information about individual users. Type "/whois nickname" to get information on the login name and host from which the nicknamed user comes.
5.4: /topic <some topic string>
Channels can be given off-the-cuff "topics." Saying "/topic some string of text" will associate that topic with the current channel.
5.5: /list [#channel.mask]
/list will give lists of active channels, the number of users of each, and the topics therewith associated. Again, secret channels do not appear and private channels only appear as Prv.
5.6: /join <channel>
/join <#channel_name> is the means to enter a channel. Give the channel name as an argument. If this is a secret or hidden channel, /who commands will show oneself and any other users of one's channel.
One's arrival on a channel is announced to the rest of the users already on that channel. Silent, anonymous "lurking" is not supported.
5.7: /msg <nick> <some text string>
A single message can be sent privately to a certain user with /msg. Type /msg nickname and the text to be sent. It will be sent privately to the indicated nickname.
5.8: /invite <#channel> <nick>
If there is a user online to whom one wishes to speak, one may invite that user to join oneself on a certain channel. One types "/invite nickname" with an optional channel name. The receiving user gets a one-line message indicating the sender and the invitation. The receiving user is free to ignore the invitation, of course.
5.9: /ignore <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If one wants to ignore messages sent by some other user or users, it may be done with the /ignore command. One can ignore someone by their nickname, or by their user@host data. Wildcards may be used.
/ignore is only intended to ignore annoying public messages (messages sent to a channel); to stop flooding (a huge number of messages per second) you have to use banning for channel messages, and /silence for private messages.
5.10: /silence [email@example.com]
This command effectively stops private message flooding at the server of the flooder. You can use "/silence nick" to get a list of the silence masks of 'nick.' This command is Undernet-specific and therefore not supported by all clients unless you add specifically a line to your client's configuration file.
5.11: /nick <new_nick>
One can change nicknames by issuing "/nick new-nickname." All users on one's channel will be informed about the change. NOTE: If one enters chat with a nickname clash (e.g., one's login name is the same as someone else's, and the other user got there first), the system will not let one enter until one issues a /nick command with a unique nickname.
5.12: /mode #channel <lots of parameters>
This command can be used for altering the various modes of a channel (see the explanation of channel modes above). /mode command can only be issued by channel operators). Please use /help, or the manual of your client to find out about this command.
6: Questions, problems, troubles?
If you have problems, please contact get and read the FAQs from Undernet FAQ1 and Undernet FAQ2. You can also ask for help on some of the help channels on IRC, for example, #userguide. They will be able to assist you in whatever problems you are having with IRC.