IRC FAQ AT LIGHTLINK ART MATRIX

What is IRC?

IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. It was originally created by Jarkko Oikarinen as a replacement to the UNIX "talk" program back in 1988. IRC is a client/server system. The user runs the client which in turn runs with the server who connects the user, the server, and the rest of the IRC network. IRC is a multi-user chat protocol that allows many users under there own "nicks" in IRC "channels" where they can converse and more. To sum it up for all, IRC is a place where many users can talk with each other. IRC is quickly becoming one of the more popular Internet Resources.

Where can I get a client? What is one?

A client is the program that runs on your computer, managing the data IRC sends and receives. Under Windows, the IRC client is typically a WINSOCK-compliant application. This means you can use it on any WINSOCK 1.1 compliant TCP/IP stack (like Trumpet WINSOCK, Microsoft Wolverine, or the TCP/IP stack in Windows 95). Some of the IRC clients for Windows are mIRC, WS_IRC, IRCII for Windows, and IRC4WIN. Out of those, the number one is mIRC. mIRC supports customizable pop up menus, alias, and remote tools (simple yet powerful scripting), a toolbar, great options, and much much more. Plus, it comes in both 16 and 32-bit versions. But, if you plan on using IRCII scripts like LiCe or Phoenix, you will need a fully IRCII compliant client like IRCII for Windows, since mIRC does not fully implement IRCII nor IRCII scripting at all.

What are servers?

Servers are the other end of the client/server system. Clients connect to servers which in turn hook them up to the whole IRC network. There are many servers on the two IRC networks (more on them later). It is best to connect to the server closest to you. But, if you are on an ISP or online service that is not local, connect to a server closest to where your services "main system" is closest to.

There are two IRC Networks? Huh?

Yes, there is. EFNet and UnderNet. You see, a few years ago many operators of IRC thought that IRC needed some improvements. Many servers did not wish for a change, so these operators went out and created a new, separate, arguably better IRC from the original called UnderNet. The old servers are known as EFNet. UnderNet's new designs make it an easier, faster, and more friendly place than EFNet. But, because EFNet was the original IRC network, it is bigger and has more users. The ultimate choice comes up to you. To connect to UnderNet, just connect to an UnderNet server instead of an EFNet one. Some UnderNet servers include us.undernet.com and boston.ma.us.undernet.org.

What is a "net-split" exactly?

Sometime when you are on IRC there is a long period of inactivity. Then suddenly, many users are quickly disconnected from the server. This is a net-split. A net-split is when the connection between two servers is broke, therefore rendering all the servers hooked up to those disconnected from each other. Once the two servers are reconnected everything will go back to normal (hopefully)!

What is a BOT?

A BOT (ROBOT) is a program that runs in an IRC channel and does predetermined tasks. A BOT can either by a script (such as an IRCII script) running on a client or a program itself written in C, Perl, or some other weird language. BOTs are often set to auto-op, kick, greet, and more. BOTs can also be used as remote tools, with the BOTs owner sending in remote commands to force the BOT to do tasks. Much of IRC find BOTs owning. Many servers ban BOTs. I on the other have no problem with a BOT if it is not annoying.

What is an Op?

An Op, or operator is the person(s) with the @ in front of there name. They posses many commands not given to normal chatters. Ops are sort of the caretaker of each channel. They can kick, ban, and much more that other people can not do. Sometimes, Ops are not all good. An Op might kick you for no reason. There is nothing you can do about this abuse of power, life with it. If you want start a your own new channel. To become an Op in a channel that already has an Op, you must have an Op "Op" you. The number one way to get kicked and maybe even banned from a channel is to ask for Ops, so I recommend unless you are a regular or know the Op, don't ask! Being an Op is fun and rewarding, but it has responsibilities. You should be helpful and there for the users.

What are IRC Operators?

While Channel Operators (AKA Ops, the guys with the @ in there name) keep IRC Channels in order, IRC Ops keep IRC in order. They cannot help you with individual problems, nor much of anything else. But, they do have an important job.

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