IRC for beginners
This document explains chatting, IRC and what software is best.
What is Chatting?
Real time, text-based communication; once you connect to irc.linuxchix.org and a channel, you are talking with other LinuxChix, from around the world.
- Fun: although most channels have a chosen topic, these are friendly gatherings -- fun as well as informative.
- Staying in Touch : LinuxChix has special features, such as ChanServ, NickServ, and MemoServ, which allows you to leave memos for your friends, even if you don't know their email address or phone number.
- Trading Files : you can send and receive files using DCC, such as sound files, and pictures. This is more common in Windows IRC servers than in Linux-oriented channels, but some people do use DCC for direct file transfer.
What is IRC?
IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat, which is text-based and immediate. You join a channel, then read and type messages to a group of people within that channel. IRC is installed on servers all over the world. LinuxChix has a server of our own.
Where is LinuxChix IRC?
You will find LinuxChix on the server irc.linuxchix.org (port 6667). The main channel is called #linuxchix (don't forget the # -- that's part of the name).
With some software (konqueror, chatzilla, mirc) you might be able to use this shortcut:
If this is your first time in IRC, you might want to join the beginner channel first (type: "/join #beginner" without the quotes and with no spaces in front of the slash).
What Software is Best?
Depending on your operating system, you have lots of choices. For a complete listing, see IRC Client List: http://www.ircreviews.org/clients/
- X-Chat: Very popular free/libre open source client: Linux/BSD & Windows (full version, registration required after trial on Windows), Windows (free version, somewhat less featureful), OSX. See also the LinuxChix HowTo for connecting to LinuxChix IRC using X-Chat
- Pidgin: Multi-protocol instant messaging client that also happens to do IRC. Linux/BSD & Windows. Aussie LinuxChix have a nice guide to installing and using Pidgin at http://au.linuxchix.org/IRC
- KVIrc: Supports themes for maximum eye-candy: Linux/BSD, Windows, and OSX
Aside from the above, there are many other good programs. Here are a few of them, divided into graphical (X, or X-windows) and terminal (term, or text-only) clients:
- X: X-Chat GNOME: like X-Chat above, but with a simplified Preferences section and integration into the GNOME desktop environment: http://xchat-gnome.navi.cx/
- X: Konversation: part of the KDE3 and 4 desktop, at least in Kubuntu: http://konversation.kde.org/
- X: Quassel: a Qt4 client for KDE 4, included in Kubuntu, other Linux distros, Mac and Windows: http://quassel-irc.org
- Term: ircII is the grand-daddy IRC client. It is part of most Linux distributions, and most other text-based IRC clients are derived from it: http://www.eterna.com.au/ircii/. See http://tldp.org/HOWTO/IRC/beginners.html for some help getting started.
- Term: irssi is the most popular terminal IRC client: http://www.irssi.org/
- IRCle: for all older (pre-OS-X) Macs: http://www.ircle.com/.
- Snak: the most popular choice for OS-X; supports multiple servers: http://www.snak.com/.
- A new OSX client, Colloquy handles IRC and some other protocols: http://colloquy.info/
The most widely used is mIRC, but if you also use IM, you might like Trillian or Pidgin, which do both.
- mIRC is what most Windows users start and stay with. http://mirc.com/ has basic information about IRC, along with messages boards for special topics. A free 30-day trial version is available.
- Trillian: http://www.ceruleanstudios.com/. Trillian allows you to connect to IRC, IM & Yahoo Messenger all at the same time, but does have a trimmed-down IRC functionality.
If you are still using Windows, but intend to learn to use open source programs and perhaps even Linux or other Unix-based operating system, you might consider using X-chat, Quassel or Pidgin in Windows. Your IRC client will still seem familiar to you after the move.