Internet Gurus Guide to Internet Relay Chat: UNIX IRC

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Chatting for UNIX Users: IRCII

In the old days, before the use of Windows and Mac Internet programs, everyone used UNIX IRC programs to participate in online chats. The most popular UNIX IRC program was (and still is) called IRCII (that's "IRC two"). You're most likely to run into IRCII if you type irc when you're using a UNIX shell provider's system. Because IRCII is so popular, most other IRC client programs use the same commands. As a result, we can slay a multitude of avians with a single projectolith by telling you about IRCII commands.

IRCII takes everything you type as lines of text. Two kinds of lines exist: commands to IRC and messages to other people. If a line begins with a slash, it's a command. If not, it's a message. (If only computers were this simple all the time.) The following command, for example, says to join the Hot Tub channel, a cheerful and usually crowded hangout:

/join #hottub

To see a list of channels, type /list, but you'll usually be appalled at how long the list is. Instead, specify that you want to see only channels with at least five people in them, by typing

/list -min 5

To join a channel, type /join followed by the channel name (don't forget the #), like this:

/join #dummies

Then type the messages you want to appear in the channel. When you tire of a channel, type /leave. When you're done with IRCII, type /quit.

Most of the other commands (that start with /) we describe in this chapter work in IRCII too.

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