Welcome to the WORLD of IRC

#USA and the DALnet Network


[IRC] [Getting There] [Software] [Networks]


What is IRC?

    IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. It was originally written by Jarkko Oikarinen in 1988. Since starting in Finland, it has been used in over 60 countries around the world. IRC is a multi-user chat system, where people meet on Channels (rooms, virtual places, usually with a certain topic of conversation) to talk in groups, or privately. There is no restriction to the number of people that can participate in a given discussion, or the number of channels that can be formed on IRC. (Read more on how IRC started in http://www.mirc.co.uk/jarkko.txt and jarkko2.txt) This program is a substitution for 'talk', and many other multiple talk programs you might have read about. Many families from around the world use IRC as a form of communication just as they would the telephone, but without the huge phone bills. When you are talking on IRC, everything you type will instantly be transmitted around the world to other users that might be watching their terminals at the time, they can then type something and respond to your messages.

    Topics of discussion on IRC are numerous and change constantly. Technical and political discussions are popular, especially during world events. IRC is also a way to expand your horizons, as people from many countries and cultures are on, 24 hours a day. Most conversations are in English, but there are always channels in every language.

    Think of IRC as a CB with unlimited channels & a world wide range. You can speak to one person or many at one time. BE AWARE: IRC can be addicitive. Remember that IRC is for FUN. ....If you get frustrated type /quit & hit return, then turn off the machine. REMEMBER to go outside, smell the grass & hear the birds. :)

    How is IRC set up?

    As a user you run a Client program which connects to a Server in an IRC network. All servers are interconnected and pass messages from user to user over the IRC network. One server can be connected to several other servers and up to hundreds of clients. Several larger and smaller IRC networks exist. The largest ones, called EFnet (Eris Free net), IRCnet, Undernet and Dalnet usually serve about 25,000 users at any given time. Lots of other ones are a little less populated but often offer more stability and convenience.

    What does a client do? What is the purpose of a server?

    An IRC client reads in the commands and text that you supply to it, and parses them. It filters them and performs the appropriate actions, and if necessary, passes them on to your IRC server. An IRC server can serve many other clients. The server holds information about the channels and people on IRC, as well as other pieces of information, and is also responsible for routing your messages to other users. The IRC Network itself consists of multiple servers which are all connect to each other.

How do I get on IRC?

    First, you have to make sure an IRC Client is installed on your system. If you have a PC with internet access you only have to obtain and install a client.     (dont worry ..its easy!)

    Basically what you do is download a program, install it and set it up, decide on a network you want to visit, then find a server that is geographically close to you, and connect to it. Really it depends on the operating system you are running as to how easy or difficult the software will be to setup, most programs have help files that cover it all.

    Where can I find a client?

      Popular IRC clients (in no particular order): WSIRC, mIRC, pIRCh, InteRfaCe and ChatMan. You can get an IRC client by anonymous ftp from several sites (use the one closest to you)

      FTP sites:

      Dowload sites:
      wsIRC        http://ftp.clark.net/pub/csamsi/home.html
      mIRC          http://www.mirc.co.uk/index.html
      mIRC          http://www.mirx.com
      mIRC          http://www.geocities.com/~mirc/index.html
      InteRfaCe    http://www.hijinx.com.au/interfac/interfac.htm
      ChatMan     http://www.uai.cl/~burton/chatman/
      vIRC           http://www.megalith.co.uk/virc/
      pIRCh         http://www.mlode.com/~dvsme/pirch

      Telnet in:
      Click here to telnet to DALnet!

      What else do I need before I can install an IRC client?

      Besides running MS-Windows you need to have a properly installed WINSOCK. If you can use FTP, E-mail, News or other Internet programs from within Windows already, you can safely assume you have a winsock installed and it is working properly. If you do not have a properly working winsock installed on your PC you should install one first. Most Windows 3.1x users use the Trumpet winsock package. Windows95 users can use the Dial Up Networking module that is included in Windows95.

      How do I install this client that I found?

      Most programs on the internet are transported in a compressed form. The better programs come in self extracting .exe files that also install the program for you. mIRC is one of these programs coming in an 'auto-everything' package. Just run the cabinet you downloaded and off you go!
      Sometimes you first have to unzip the file to be able to run the program in it. A good unzipper can be found at http://www.winzip.com/. Once unzipped, installing an IRC client (like any program) is mainly a matter of running its setup program or simply placing the files in a separate directory and running the program. After installation, you may have to specify some personal information before you can connect to an IRC server. For detailed instructions read the help files included in the programs (typically a .hlp file or readme.txt). Some IRC clients, like mIRC, have their own FAQ that provides detailed help. Reading such FAQ's is highly recommended!

      Which server should I connect my client to?

      It's usually best to try and connect to a geographically close server, even though that may not always be the best. Local (nearby) servers will normally work faster for you and will give you unrestricted access. You can always ask for suggestions on nearby server addresses when you log on to IRC, or type /links.

      What is the port number to use to connect to IRC?

      In general, the port number to use is 6667. Some, but not all, servers listen to other ports (most commonly in the 6665-6670 range). When in doubt, select port 6667 (Dalnet usually uses port 7000). A port number should be seen as an entrance to a server. If you take the wrong entrance (port) the server will not understand what you are doing, and will disconnect you.

      OK, I've got a client installed and I'm connected to a server, now what?

      It's probably best to take a look around and see what you want to do first. All IRC commands start with a "/", and most are one word. Typing /help will get you help information. /names will get you a list of all nicknames, /list will give you a list of channels, etc. The output of /list is typically something like this:

      #USA        212     The USA Channel
      #hackers_hideout    53    We are your worst nightmare !
      #casual          3      where casual and irc collide
      #hottub        76    Come in for a friendly chat.
      #mIRC        27    mIRC Homepage http://www-2.nijenrode.nl/software/mirc/
      #irchelp       17    Ask all your IRC questions here.

      (Note: There are sometimes thousands of channels, this is just a small example.) In this example "USA" is a channel name. "#" is the prefix. Follwing the channel name you will see the number of people in it as well as its topic. All channel names start with a # or &.

      #USA on line

      You will only find #USA on the network DALnet. In order to chat with us, you will have to join DALnet. In the simpliest of terms, once you have your client installed and you are connected to the internet, just type:  /server (server name).dal.net 7000.
      [ie: /server liberty.dal.net 7000] For  quick reference here are a list of commonly used IRC servers on DALnet. Please note that these change frequently.  


        Port: 7000

        oahu.hi.us.dal.net sodre.fl.us.dal.net 

      Then, to join us in #USA after connecting to a server type:          /join #USA
      If this sounds easy, it's because it is. Once you have a working client you will be fine! Its getting to that stage and further that can be more tricky, but there are plenty of people on IRC to help you, and even channels for new people like #newbies, #new2IRC, #mIRC, #pIRCh.  ;) 

    Links: To web pages for the 3 main IRC networks.

    • DALnet: The Friendly IRC network *cough*
    • EFnet: The Largest IRC network
    • UNDERnet: The Second Largest IRC network


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