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 and a channel, you are talking with other LinuxChix, from around the world.

Why Chat?

  • 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 (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:



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:

Mac OS


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. has basic information about IRC, along with messages boards for special topics. A free 30-day trial version is available.
  • Trillian: 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.