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Basic information  on IRC Chat and DALnet


I) Chat, and IRC

IRC stands for "Internet Relay Chat" it is the primary means of direct personal conversation on the net. essentially identical forms are AOL-chat and other services specific chat environments. A related system involves JAVA clients on webpages that either provide a local environment to anyone viewing that page or that link you into an IRC network. There are actually hundreds of IRC networks ranging from single server networks thru the 3 large worldwide networks: EfNet, UnderNet and DALnet.
Each network has its own unique personality. In all cases you will need a "client" program on your computer in order to access the Chat environment and the network(s) you want to try out. Below you will find information on the top 4 clients. If you have netscape or MS Internet Explorer you have the JAVA client built in and AOL and other services such as it have thier own built in clients that work within their systems - but may not work when going outside the service's private system.

II) Clients
With one exception these are all SHAREWARE programs - this basically means that you can try the program for 30 days and then if you like it you need to send the author his fee - these fees are generally in the range of $20 - $45. They can be downloaded directly from the internet in compressed form and then expanded and installed on your computer. If you have a Macintosh you will need Stuff-it, for PCs I recommend Winzip but there are other similar programs available at Stroud's Shareware site.  With the exception of IRCLE  the clients listed below can be down loaded from Stroudís shareware site - IRC Applications.

  • IRCLE - This is the best client far an away if you are accessing the net through a Macintosh system.
  • MIRC - the top program for PCs on the market today.
  • Pirch - MIRC's biggest competitor - essential equivalent.
  • VIRC - A new client that is FREEWARE - and if you have the hardware will allow you to include not only chat but video and voice in your activities.

One of the three big worldwide Chat Networks with client loads upto 20,000 at one time. It is unique among the big three in having a set of nickname and channel services that handle the control and registration of personal nicks and channel names so that no two people can have identical channels or nicknames. This allows the users to spend their time actually chatting with each other rather than fighting for control of their nicks or channels. In addition it has a very good set of help channels led by its services specific channel - #DALnethelp where you can go and get help or directions to help for essentially any problem.

    A) nicknames and services - the 3 services DALnet provides are:
    1. Chanserv - allows you to register and control a channel
    2. Nickserv - allows you to register and control a nickname
    3. Memoserv - allows you to pass memos to other registered nicknames that can be viewed at a later time.
    The 5 main commands you need to register and protect a nick are (type these exactly as shown here):
    1. /msg nickserv info "nick" - put the nick you want in place of "nick" and this will tell you if its already registered.
    2. /nick "nick" this will change your nick to the one of your choice.
    3. /msg nickserv register "nick" "password" - again put the nick and password of your choice in where I have the quoted words.
    4. /msg nickserv set kill on - this will activate a security option that limits any one else from using your nick for more than 60 seconds. After you have registered a nick you will want to set it into your client setup so that you always use it - failure to use it on DALnet for 20 days results in it being de-registered and open for anyone else to claim and use.
    5. /msg nickserv ghost "nick" (password) - this will kill any other or older uses of the nick - you may need to include the password at times.

JAVA client:

DALnet has a JAVA client built into its website at http://www.DAL.net - you can join channels and register nicks etc from this client - the nicks you start off with may be registered to some one else and you may be "killed" if you fail to switch from them within 60 seconds. the nicks JAVA3 - JAVA10 have been registered just for your use and you will not be killed using them. from there you can register a nick of your choice.

Channels and Help
DALnet has thousands of channels registered covering every possible topic or nearly so. The main channel you will want to know about first is:

#DALnethelp - the network help channel - if your question deals with services or general IRC questions this is the place - if not they will direct you to the approriate place.

Basic Commands:

1)To join a channel you simply type: /join #channelname - all DALnet and most IRC channels start with a # at the beginuing of the name.

2)To leave a channel you can type /part #channel or simply close the window in your client

As with any human interactions etiquette is the "oil" that lubricates the often rough rubbing of "parts" together. Chat is a difficult place as the many visual clues and voice clues are by and large missing so Net Etiquette (Netiquette) is extremely important. The two main areas you need to pay attention to are:

A) language as in Real Life (RL) cursing and foul language are not helpful

B) typing conventions: because of the large amount of typing done in many cases typing conventions have developed to allow you to talk faster some of these are listed below. In addition please be aware that TYPOESE is the "official" language of chat environments.

2) smilies - :) :> :< :( etc are used for emphasis
3) k or K = ok
4) ROTFL - roll on the floor laughing
5) RL = real life
6) brb = be right back
7) bbiam/f = be back in a minute/few
and there are many many others that you will run into.


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Website created: January 22, 1998
Website last updated: July 18, 2001
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