IRC Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools
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IRC Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools

2.2 4
by Paul Mutton

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IRC (Internet Relay Chat) may very well turn out to be the world's most successful hack. In 1988, Jarkko Oikarinen wrote the original IRC program at the University of Oulu, Finland. As he says in his foreword, "IRC started as one summer trainee's programming exercise. A hack grew into a software development project that hundreds of people participated in, and then


IRC (Internet Relay Chat) may very well turn out to be the world's most successful hack. In 1988, Jarkko Oikarinen wrote the original IRC program at the University of Oulu, Finland. As he says in his foreword, "IRC started as one summer trainee's programming exercise. 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. I have found many of my friends through IRC and learnt a significant part of my present software engineering knowledge while using and working with IRC. That would not have been possible without learning from code examples and hacks from others".IRC has continued to grow in popularity since its inception. Millions of people from all over the world now use IRC to chat with friends, discuss projects and collaborate on research. With a simple, clearly defined protocol, IRC has become one of the most accessible chat environments, with clients written for a multitude of operating systems. And IRC is more than just a simple chat system it is a network of intercommunicating servers, allowing thousands of clients to connect from anywhere in the world using the IRC protocol.While IRC is easy to get into and many people are happy to use it without being aware of what's happening under the hood, there are those who hunger for more knowledge, and this book is for them. IRC Hacks is a collection of tips and tools that cover just about everything needed to become a true IRC master, featuring contributions from some of the most renowned IRC hackers, many of whom collaborated on IRC, grouping together to form the channel #irchacks on the freenode IRC network ( all of our Hacks books, there are many different ways to use IRC Hacks. You can read the book from cover to cover, but you might be better served by picking an interesting item from the table of contents and just diving in.If you're relatively new to IRC, you should considering starting with a few hacks from each progressive chapter. Chapter 1 starts you off by showing you how to connect to IRC, while Chapter 2 acquaints you with the everyday concepts you'll need to use IRC effectively. Chapter 3 is all about users and channels, and introduces the first pieces of code. Chapter 4 shows you how to make useful enhancements to IRC clients.Chapter 5 is where you will learn the basics about creating IRC bots, with Chapters 6-12 introducing more complex bots that can be used for logging, servicing communities, searching, announcing, networking, managing channels or simply for having fun. Chapter 13 delves into the IRC protocol in more detail, and Chapter 14 demonstrates some interesting alternative methods for connecting to IRC. Finally, Chapter 15 will move you on to new pastures by showing you how to set up your own IRC server.This book presents an opportunity to learn how IRC works and how to make best use of some of the features that have made it the most successful, most scalable, and most mature chat system on this planet. IRC Hacks delves deep into the possibilities.

Product Details

O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
Publication date:
Hacks Series
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6.02(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Paul Mutton is a PhD student at the University of Kent in the UK, frantically trying to finish off his thesis at the same time as writing this book. He previously graduated with first class honors in Computer Science, winning the IEE Institution Prize for being the best overall student in his department. He uses IRC to collaborate with researchers in other countries and to talk to people in his office when they have their headphones on. In his remaining spare time, he uses his Sun Certified Java Programmer skills to develop all sorts of open source software on his personal web site ( Some of his research has culminated in the creation of the popular PieSpy application (, which infers and visualizes social networks on IRC, and even appeared on slashdot once. He can normally be found jibbling around in #jibble and #irchacks on the freenode IRC network with the nickname Jibbler, or Paul on smaller networks.

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IRC Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
IRC Hacks 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools By Paul Mutton First Edition July 2004 Series: Hacks ISBN: 0-596-00687-X 432 pages, $24.95 I found this book to be fairly interesting and somewhat useful. Being quite familiar with IRC already, some of the introductory material was information that I already knew, but I did learn a few things about the more technical aspects of the IRC protocol and IRC servers/networks. Much of this book has to do with writing and using IRC channel 'bots', which I think most casual IRC users would not be all that interested in. The first four chapters introduce what IRC is, and how to connect to an IRC network and begin chatting with others. Various IRC client applications are described, including the most popular ones for Linux, Mac, and Windows. Other topics here include how to register your nickname, configuring your client, how to join servers/channels, and some nice customizations to add functionality and enjoyment to your use of IRC. I would think that these first chapters would be very useful to a newcomer to IRC, and allow them to get up and running quickly. Chapter 5 introduces the concepts of 'bots', and how to write your own bots in various languages, including Perl, Python, and Java. Some of it is fairly technical, and may appeal mostly to programmers and more serious IRC 'hackers'. Also mentioned is the idea of bot 'ethics' and the policies that many IRC networks have regarding their use. The next several chapters (6 - 12) provide numerous ideas and examples of making and using your own bots. IRC bots can perform many functions, some of which can be very useful, and others that have primarily an entertainment value. Much of the content of these chapters is actual code examples for many different types of bots, including Logging, Social, Search & Query, Announcement, Network and Channel Management, and Fun bots. Chapters 13 - 15 go a little further into the technical side of how the IRC protocol works, encryption, web access to IRC, and even how to run your own IRC server. Many readers will find these subjects more complex than they care to get involved in. Overall, I think this book is best suited to IRC users who are somewhat more than beginners, and are fairly technically oriented. I was surprised by the large amount of bot programming examples, which actually make up the majority of the book. I am not sure there will be that many users who really want to code their own bot. The first few chapters are helpful for IRC beginners, although there are probably better books for that purpose. I did get some ideas for modifying an existing bot, which I presently use occasionally in our LUG's IRC channel for entertainment (trivia contests). All in all, this title is best suited for more experienced users who may enjoy programming and 'hacking' around with IRC bots.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Four years before the Web burst onto the scene with Mosaic, there was IRC. At first, IRC was mostly for bulletin board users. But as the Web took off, it also greatly expanded the pool of users and the extent of the Internet's physical reach. Now Mutton shows how today's IRC has so much more than that 1988 version. Being able to format messages, or colour them. Hey, you can even send and get sounds, in various common sound formats like wav files. Numerous of his hacks revolve around managing an IRC channel. Problems of success, really. As IRC usage soared, what were once small communities of shared interests and values now often have to contend with others with different values. Channel operators may want to check out what Mutton offers. Perhaps the most intriguing hack concerns finding social networks from many channels. Neat possibilities. Social networks are quite hot these days, though no one has yet found a viable business model centred on them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Many of these 'hacks' are standard features of various irc clients. Most of the rest are either scripts for the same or simple irc bots. If you can understand what's offered in this section then you already know scripting language or can write an irc robot program or both. If you can't understand it then this book won't help you to understand it. Among the many worthless 'hacks' offered is one that translates gibberish in 'Kenny-speak' to read 'OMG, they killed Kenny!' The only bigger moron than one who would seriously offer this as a useful 'hack' is one who would buy it. Regretably, this includes me. Don't you make the same mistake. Instead you could hope for an updated edition of The Book of IRC by Alex Charalabidis or Advanced Internet Relay Chat by Kathryn Toyer. Even better, a book explaining and elaborating on mIRC scripting should be written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its not called 'google' for nothing.......