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IRC (Internet Relay Chat)

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

IRC is a real-time group messaging system that allows two or more people at remote locations to hold an ongoing conversation over the Internet. The conversation takes place via typed messages, although newer multimedia systems are emerging (i.e., Internet voice and videoconferencing). IRC was originally defined in RFC 1459 (Internet Relay Chat Protocol, May 1993), which describes IRC as a teleconferencing system. In this respect, it is analogous to a telephone party line except that users type messages rather than talk. Another analogy is CB radio, where users converse in an ongoing conversation. Thousands of IRC chats may be taking place at any one time, and these conversations are hosted inside so-called "chat rooms." Some people prefer to say that IRC conversations are held on "channels."

This topic continues in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications."

The following RFCs provide updates to the existing IRC protocol. The updates were designed to support better scalability and allow the existing IRC networks to grow to sizes that were not anticipated when RFC 1459 was written.

  • RFC 2057 (Source Directed Access Control on the Internet, November 1996)

  • RFC 2150 (Humanities and Arts: Sharing Center Stage on the Internet, October 1997)

  • RFC 2810 (Internet Relay Chat: Architecture, April 2000)

  • RFC 2811 (Internet Relay Chat: Channel Management, April 2000)

  • RFC 2812 (Internet Relay Chat: Client Protocol, April 2000)

  • RFC 2813 (Internet Relay Chat: Server Protocol, April 2000)

RFC 2057 is interesting. It was created from a deposition that Scott Bradnet (Harvard University) submitted as a challenge to the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which was Part Of The Telecommunications Reform Act Of 1996. The Rfc Addresses The Issue Of Minors anonymously participating in chat rooms with adult content. RFC 2150 discusses IRC in terms of its usefulness to the Internet community.

Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.
All rights reserved under Pan American and International copyright conventions.