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"IRC Racks": Making the Most of the IRC Experience.

Sebastopol, CA-IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, may well turn out to be the world's most successful hack. As Paul Mutton, author of IRC Hacks (O'Reilly, US $24.95) explains, IRC started as a summer trainee's programming exercise. In 1988, Jarkko Oikarinen, a student at the University of Oulu, Finland, wrote the first IRC program. Subsequently, Mutton notes, "A hack grew into a software development project that hundreds of people participated in, and then became a worldwide environment where tens of thousands of people now spend time with each other.' IRC has continued to grow in popularity since its inception. With a simple, clearly defined protocol, it's become one of the most accessible chat environments, with clients written for a multitude of operating systems. Millions of people all over the world now use IRC to chat with friends, discuss projects, and collaborate on research. "I have found many of my friends through IRC and leam't a significant part of my present software engineering knowledge while using and working with IRC,' says Mutton. 'That would not have been possible without learning from code examples and hacks from others."

But IRC is more than just a simple chat system; its a network of intercommunicating servers, allowing, thousands of clients to connect from anywhere in the world using the IRC protocol. To many IRC users, this knowledge matters about as much as knowing Einsteirf's special theory of relativity. But there are other users who hunger for more knowledge. They don't just want to know what's happening under the hood, they want to roll up their sleeves and tinker with the works. IRC Hacks is for these people: a collection of tips and tools that cover just about everything needed to become a true IRC master. The book starts with the basics of using and enhancing IRC clients, then delves into the protocols, services, and networks beneath the surface, and culminates with building autonomous IRC clients, or "bots.' Readers will learn how users, channels, services, servers, and networks fit into the IRC puzzle and gain a thorough understanding of the IRC protocol along the way. The book explains how to:

Connect to IRC using an assortment of popular IRC clients across a variety of platforms Alter and augment the way your favorite IRC client works Find channels and networks of channels relevant to your interests, and get to know the people who populate the realm of IRC

Write IRC bots using Pet, Java, and Python; discover libraries designed to simplify the process of writing autonomous agents

Create bots to log user activity, keep context, bookmark URLS, serve as a community memory, search the Internet, and @ore

* Link bots together across channels and networks

* Run your own standalone IRC server or network of servers; gateway IRC to the MSN, ICQ, and AIN4 instant messaging systems

Perhaps you have never before set foot in an IRC channel or perhaps you spend far too much time there already; whatever your IRC experience is, IRC Hacks will help you make the most of it.

Additional Resources:

* Several sample hacks, including "A Simple Pert IRC Client." "Search the Web with Google," and "An Eiziz Timer" * More information2 about the book, including table of contents, index, author hio, and samples * A cover graphic in JPEG format ERC Hacks Paul Mutton ISBN 0-596-00687-Y, 409 pages, $24.95 US, $36.95 CA http://press.oreilly.com/lpt/pr/1218
COPYRIGHT 2004 A.P. Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Internet Relay Chat
Publication:Database and Network Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
Words:566
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