[Tutorial] Getting Started with IRC

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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:18 pm

[Tutorial] Getting Started with IRC

Post by notipa » Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:49 pm

What is IRC?
Internet Relay Chat is a simple instant-messaging system from the earlier days of the internet. Users connect to a server on an IRC network and join a chat room, called a channel. Channel names are prefixed with #. Users receive chat messages only when online, and cannot receive messages when offline. Users can perform commands, which start with /.

How do I connect?
You'll need to know a few things before connecting to IRC, mostly about where you are connecting to. Each network has at least one server; EFnet's servers are listed here. Chances are that if you are connecting to IRC, you're going to want to talk in a channel. After connecting to a server, use the /join command to enter a channel. To disconnect, use the /quit command. You can also leave an individual channel with the /part command. More information about these commands can be found in the Commands section of this tutorial.

BosaikFrag is linked to channel #bosaikfrag on the EFnet IRC network

When setting up a server on a standalone client, you'll see three different fields to put a username in: nickname, user / ident name, and real / full name. Nickname is the name you use when chatting with other IRCers; only one user can have a particular nickname at a given time, so IRC clients usually offer alternative nickname choices if the primary one is taken. User / ident name is a less visible name used by the IRC server and IRC bots to recognize you; it does not have to be unique, so other IRCers and bots can recognize you even if your primary nickname is taken. Because of this, you should use the same user name on all of your clients. Real / full name is a name that shows up only in /whois, and allows longer entries with spaces; it is intended to give a better idea of who you are if we can't figure out who you are from your nickname.

What clients are available?
There are two main types of IRC clients: webchats, and standalone clients. Webchats are IRC clients that run in an internet browser, and are usually preconfigured to connect to one particular channel or network. As a result, they are simple to use, but do not have many features. Standalone clients are executable programs that run on a computer, not through a browser. They use much less resources, offer a wide array of features, and can run in the background as to not disconnect from the IRC server; however, since they rarely come preconfigured for usage in a particular channel, they are not as easy to use.

There are several webchats available online; EFnet has not been friendly with many of these, and most of their servers block popular webchats. EFnet offers their own webchat, and Mibbit is a relatively featureful webchat that is compatible with EFnet.

Standalone Clients
Most Linux distributions include a client, XChat; Hexchat is also compatible. Solaris offers XChat in the software catalog. Windows does not include a client; users will need to download a client for standalone use. Free clients include HydraIRC, Hexchat, and IceChat.

Getting started with various clients
Scroll down to the section that covers the client you want to use. All necessary information needed to connect to BosaikFrag's IRC is covered for the clients mentioned above.

EFnet Webchat
EFnet offers a webchat for their network. It does not have many features, but is the easiest to use. Click the link above, select a nickname, and press Connect.

Mibbit is a more advanced webchat. Like the webchat, it is easy to use; select a nickname, and press Connect.

I recommend using HydraIRC as I have IRC network settings preconfigured for BosaikFrag

HydraIRC requires the most work to configure, but is the fastest and least demanding on resources. I've already set up a configuration file for BosaikFrag and ComboWhore that does all the hard work for you; a complete download is available at bosaik.net. After starting HydraIRC, and go to Options --> Prefs --> User Identities. Select "Default", and press the Edit button. Set Real Name and Username to whatever you want, delete the "BNUser" nickname, and add the nicknames you want to use (top nickname is tried first, bottom last). Press "OK" on both windows, and your client is configured! To connect to IRC, find "Favorites" in the upper toolbar, and select where you want to connect to (BosaikFrag IRC on EFnet, or ComboWhore IRC on GlobalGamers). Ask notipa in BosaikFrag IRC about setting up notifications if you want HydraIRC to notify you when someone mentions your name.

If you are using Windows Vista or later, you cannot install HydraIRC to your Program Files directory due to the way file permissions work; pick somewhere else (I recommend a subfolder in the Documents folder) to put it. Alternatively, download and extract the portable version.

It seems HydraIRC's website has vanished; use the preconfigured download provided here.

NOTE: This is written for HexChat on Windows 7. Installation is different on Linux (you're using Linux, I trust you know how to install programs), but IRC setup information is the same. XChat is slightly different from HexChat, but most information is the same.

Use x64 programs for 64-bit Windows, x86 programs for 32-bit Windows. HexChat won't run on Windows XP or earlier; use HydraIRC.

Before installing HexChat, download and install the Visual C++ 2013 runtime. Install and run HexChat. You'll be presented with a small screen called the network list. In the top are four text entry boxes; the first three are the nicknames you want to use, and the fourth is the user name. Set these to what you want, and select EFnet in the network list. To save time, press "Favor" (EFnet should become bold), and check the "Show favorites only" checkbox. Press "Edit", and find the "Autojoin channels" tab. Press "Add" next to it, and add the channels you want to join, pressing enter after each to save it. When done, close the Edit window, and press Connect.

IceChat is similar to HydraIRC, but supports Unicode and SSL at the expense of performance. It is notable for its small size, able to fit comfortably on a floppy disk.
To set up EFnet, open the Favorite Servers sidebar, and press the "Add" button in the bottom of the sidebar. In the server field, input one of the EFnet servers. The display name can be whatever you want the server to appear as in the favorite servers list. Nick is the nickname you want to use; ident name and fullname can be the same as your nickname. Alternate nickname is used if the default nickname is unavailable, and needs to be different from your default nickname. If you selected an EFnet server with [SSL] next to its name, you can press the "Connect with SSL" checkbox; you'll also need to check the "Accept invalid SSL certificates" checkbox, and change the server port to 6697. If you want to automatically join channels when you connect, press the "AutoJoin" tab, check the "Enable AutoJoin" and "Enable delay between joins" checkboxes, and add the channels you want to automatically join on connect.

IRC provides various commands in addition to chatting. These are used either to format text, manage channels, or query the server or another client for information.

The /join command is used to join channels.
/join #channelname
/join #channel1, #channel2, #channel3, ...
(supported by most clients)
What others see: "*** user has joined #channelname"

The /part command is used to leave channels without disconnecting from the IRC server.
/part Message to send

What others see:
"*** user has left #channelname ()"
"*** user has left #channelname (Message to send)"

The /quit command is used to disconnect from the IRC server, leaving all channels in the process.
/quit Message to send

What others see:
"*** user has quit IRC (Client Quit)"
"*** user has quit IRC (Quit: Message to send)"

The /me command sends text formatted as an action.
Usage: /me does stuff
What others see: "* user does stuff"

The /whois command shows information about an IRC user. Users are not notified if they have been /whois'd, and the output appears in your client only.
Usage: /whois nickname
What you see:
"user is ~username@host (Full name)
user is on: #channelname
user using irc.server.net (Server name)
user :End of /WHOIS list."

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