Is the MIRC chat still used?

IRC terminology and definition

With IRC (Internet relay chat) is a text-based chat system that allows both conversations between two users and chats between any number of participants. While a conversation between two users is a so-called Query acts, chats with more than two participants through conversation channels, the so-called Channelsrealized. Participation in several channels at the same time is possible, and every IRC user is free to open a new channel. A special client is required to use the IRC. These clients are available as stand-alone applications as well as in web-based form.

How the IRC works

A network of different relay stations is required so that chats can take place between two or more people. At Relay stations are servers that are connected to each other.

The central property of this network is his Communication topologywhich is based on the principle that there is exactly one communication path between two different users. Even in the early days of the IRC, when the capacity of intercontinental data lines was severely limited, this approach made the Online communication for sure. Communication becomes efficient because a message sent intercontinental is not sent to all addressees or clients, but only to a server, which then forwards the message.

In this way it is possible for a message to reach the recipient or recipients after just a few tenths of a second. A delay of more than a second is only recorded in rare cases. The disadvantage of this topology, however, are the so-called Netsplits. This means that the network breaks down into isolated parts as soon as a server fails.

The development of the IRC

The idea of ​​the IRC is based on the cooperative computer networkBITNET back. In this computer network, the Bitnet Relay implemented a chat system that was transferred to the then still very manageable Internet by Jarkko Oikarinen, a Finnish computer science student, in 1988.

The extent to which the network grew in the years that followed created increasing technical problems. For this reason, further small networks were created from 1993 onwards. That the original network was finally divided three years later, could also be traced back to differences of opinion between the operators. There are now several thousand networks that exist independently of one another.

The largest and best-known networks include, for example QuakeNet, IRCNet and EFnet. It is still a text-based chat system, but it is now also possible to exchange files and other information via a DCC (direct client-to-client connection).


In the original IRC, a text-based protocol based on TCP and IP based communication protocol is used. The IRC enables its users to use special commands to intervene in the communication between the IRC server and the IRC client. The Commands usually start with a slash; / whois is an example of such a command, which in this case uses the user name as a parameter to display further information on a participant.

Both client and server as well as the servers communicate with each other via messages in command form. Such a message consists of three parts, the sender, the command and the additional parameters. Whether and which parameters must be specified depends on the respective command. If a client sends a message to a server, the server can send a so-called Reply Send a reply message with a three-digit Reply code. Since all the commands used are relatively long, the resulting control effort and data traffic can be very high. So some use IRC servers to reduce costs Server-to-server protocol one that provides, for example, that only a single token is used instead of the entire command.

The IRC protocol may be available through a variety of Extensions can be supplemented in its functionality. Which extensions can be used essentially depends on the respective IRC server software. Since these extensions were developed independently of one another in the various networks of the IRC, the extensions are only inadequately standardized and documented. Although the IRC can be used unencrypted, most networks offer the option of using a SSL / TLS encrypted connection to use

Participation in the IRC

An IRC client is required to use the IRC. This is a chat program that is able to establish a connection to an IRC server. Since IRC is one of the older Internet standards, there is now a large selection of clients to choose from. Most IRC clients have a number of IRC networks already saved. After the program has established the connection to one of these servers, the user has the option of logging in using the LIST command to display all available channels. Also the Search with wildcards is often supported.

If a channel that does not yet exist is entered, this channel is created by the IRC server. The channel is then dissolved when the last user leaves it. In many networks, however Channel Services or. Channel bots that manage and maintain a channel even when no participant is currently using the channel. For this, the registration of channel names and nicknames is required. How the registration with a particular server takes place can be done in the respective Support channel can be requested.

The rules of conduct to be observed when using the IRC network can be found on the network's website. The so-called "Message of the day", Which is displayed to the user after the connection is established, contains information on this and other network-specific topics. To prevent that by using the IRC Passwords spied on or viruses are transferred to your own computer, data transfers from unknown participants should be refused. With regard to security, it should also be noted that unencrypted connections can allow eavesdropping on passwords and chats.

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