What is IRC?

IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. It’s a text-based chat service which predates all those ad-infested, bloated, virus-ridden commercial offerings like Yahoo! Messenger, MSN, etc.

Just as there is no single web server, there is no single IRC server; you can connect to various public servers on the internet. Examples of well-known ones are freenode and efnet. On a particular server, conversation is divided into separate groups called channels. All messages in a channel are visible to all participants. You may join several channels at once and take part in multiple conversations. IRC also allows direct messages to other users, independently of participation in a channel. It’s possible to configure a channel with various restrictions such as which users can join, maximum users and various other esoteric settings which we needn’t worry about here.

To use IRC you need an IRC client. This is an application that lets you send and receive messages in real-time, just like your web browser lets you read webpages off a remote server. There are many, many clients available and which one you use is a matter of personal choice.

When using IRC, generally whatever you type (followed by Enter) will be sent and displayed to other users on the channel. Limited text formatting is available. Commands are given by starting the line with a / (forward slash). It is useful to remember a few of these:

Command Params Description
/quit none Quit IRC
/join #chan key Join a named channel, eg. /join #bugs, optionally with a password key
/part none Leave the current channel
/me text Action command, eg. /me makes a cup of coffee

See the bugs homepage to check if a channel password is currently active.

Getting Started

An IRC channel has an address, similar to a webpage, except that it begins with irc instead of http. Some web browsers may be configured to handle the IRC address automatically, in which case you can click on the link and an IRC client will automatically start. Try it on this link: irc://irc.oz.org/#bugs . The Opera browser has IRC built in, as does Mozilla (not Firefox). Otherwise, you will need an additional application to be your IRC client.

If you have no knowledge of where to start and what client to use (and you don’t already use Opera), try weechat. This is a character-based IRC client which has a good set of features and will get you up and running with a minimum of fuss. Once you’ve installed weechat, a quickstart guide can be found in /usr/local/share/doc/weechat/weechat_quickstart.en.txt and a full set of commands can be listed using

 $ weechat-curses -w

weechat is available in FreeBSD ports as irc/weechat and has only a couple of dependencies (although somewhat perversely, the resulting binary is named weechat-curses). For further help on installing FreeBSD ports, refer to the handbook.

Help for other BSDs can be added here

To join #bugs you just start weechat from a terminal window, as shown below. Choose a nickname for yourself (a short name that will appear next to your messages), but as a courtesy to others learn how to set your real name in your client.

$ weechat-curses irc://nickname:password@irc.oz.org/#bugs

And you’re in. Say hello!

In order to stop robots from joining the channel there may be a password (key), shown in the above command. If a password is necessary, simply append the key to the end. eg. /join #bugs password

If you are having trouble, try messaging one the regular channel users (see list below for suggestions).

Providing Examples

In the course of usual lively discussion on IRC, people often wish to place code snippets, command output (a common one is smartctl(8)), etc. output in such a place that others can see it. By using the BUGS Pastebin, available at http://bugs.pastebin.com, you may post said code snippets, syntactically highlight them, etc. and provide this to other channel users.

Remember to post the URL of the paste, or it’s not much use.

Who are these people?

Due to the vagaries of IRC client configuration, some people don’t have a valid Real Name setup so you can only see their machine login name and nick. In order to promote the values of friendship and openness, here is a nick to name mapping of the regular visitors to #bugs.

Who Where Nick(s)
Sue Blake (deceased) Central Coast unixhag
Alastair Boyanich Sydney uridium
Joshua Bromfield Sydney Maj
Adrian Chadd Perth, WA adrian
Gavin Cooper Sydney Sh4d03
Andy Farkas Bundaberg, QLD chuzz.*
Callum Gibson Sydney callum
Edwin Groothius Sydney Mavvie.*|miniMav
Alastair Hogge East Fremantle, Wait Awile alastair
Mohammed Ifadir Marrakesh, Morocco mifadir
Jashank Jeremy Sydney jashank
Peter Jeremy Sydney peter.*|AlephNull
Henrik Johansson Sweden henrik
Patrick Kelso Sydney lujan
Jari Kirma Helsinki, Finland kirma
Matti Kupiainen Sydney juha|iMatt
Sam Lawrance Perth, WA lawrance|espionado|noddianado
Greg Lehey Dereel, VIC gr[oO0][oO0]gle
J├╝rgen Lock Germany nox
John Marshall Sydney john
Glenn Mawby Sydney glenno
Jonathan Michaels Sydney jlm|jonathan
Daniel O’Connor Adelaide Darius
Andrew Perry Nowra, NSW pez
Jerahmy Pocott Sydney Netherby
Michael Ralston Maitland, NSW Stralytic
Andrew Sinclar Sydney syncman0x
Andrew Snow Sydney Andys
Tamas Szabo Perth, WA sztamas
Alex Wilkinson Perth, WA DeLF
Ben Wright Sydney ben|bwright|dejai
Christiane Yeardley Dereel, VIC fenix
 
irc_help.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/26 00:37 by callum
 
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