IRC, how to use it?

Martin Leach leach at
Wed Nov 3 12:33:59 EST 1993

Part II

------ This is ircle Users Manual part 2 ------

ircle Menus

Although ircle is controlled by command lines like traditional IRC clients,
there are some features to be controlled by menus in the standard Macintosh
manner. These are the menus:

 Apple: contains the standard About information box.

 File: Open connection will connect to the server if no connection is
established, which can happen after an error.
Close window will do just that, beware of accidentally leaving channels!
Preferences will pop up the yet familiar dialog, to change your prefs file
Start/stop logging lets you log all conversation to a file. When not
logging, you can enter the file name. When logging, this stops logging and
closes the file. Note that all messages go into one log file, regardless of
the window. (This will be changed in future versions.)
Flush server output: Some commands get responses consisting of long lists.
If you don't want to see them completely, with this you can cancel the
list. Note that the messages still get sent to the client, only not
displayed. This can be rather slow.
Quit will quit the program. When connected, an alert gives you the chance
to cancel.

 Edit: Copy copies the selection range from any window to the clipboard.
Paste processes clipboard contents as it were typed, usually sending the
clipboard to a channel. (Do not paste large amounts of text at once - some
people might get angry on you.) Select all selects a whole window.

 Commands: These items are just shortcuts for important commands. They do
nothing but paste the command name into the input line.

 Shortcuts: Define opens up a dialog that lets you define 10 strings to be
pasted into the input line via Command-1 through Command-0. Uses for this
are frequently used channel names, nicknames or greetings. These are stored
in the preferences file.

 Font: You can select your favorite font and size of text. This will affect
the frontmost window and every window opened afterwards, as well as it will
be stored in the preferences file. The status and input lines are always
Monaco-9 as they have to be a fixed size font. Note that IRC was devised on
text terminals and sometimes needs fixed size fonts, e.g. by users sending
'big fonts' (composed of several lines) or the /list command. These things
look best in a fixed size font such as Monaco or Courier.

 Windows: Contains all channel, query and DCC windows for direct selection.
These have no shortcuts, but Command-comma will rotate windows so that you
never have to use the mouse.

Almost all menu commands have shortcut keys. They are as closely as
possible oriented on Macintosh standards. There is no Save command needed
and Command-S is used for the /whois command.
(Those of you who know the pre-releases of ircle, beware! Cmd-W will  now
close a window!)

Further Reading

If you don't know it already, please read the file 'COPYING'.
New users of IRC should read the texts from various sources I have included
in the file 'Advice on IRC'. Some notes on etiquette may look pedantic but
they are needed, as they are all too often broken. Hold on to that rules
and make IRC life friendlier to all users.
All regular users of IRC wo have access to Usenet should watch the alt.irc
There is a wonderful paper on IRC by Elizabeth Reid, available on may FTP
servers under names like 'IRC-Thesis' (originally titled: 'Electropolis'.)
This can also be recommended to read for people who want to know about IRC
but are not actively involved. Recently another scholarly piece about IRC
has been published, but I don't know the source. (Pointers, anyone?)
Nicolas Pioch has written a paper 'A short IRCprimer' which is as far as I
know the best introductory manual on IRC currently available. (It is a bit
biased towards Un*x, however.)
Some more material on IRC can be found on

Beware of Pitfalls

Known bugs and limitations of this client:

- This client is designed for server versions 2.7 and 2.8. By now, all
older servers are taken off the network. 
- The protocol as published in RFC1459 defines that the ASCII 7-bit
character set is to be used on IRC. However, the ISO8859-1 charset gets
more and more in use by international users and is the standard supported
by most Un*x clients, so ircle maps characters between that and the
Macintosh charset. (Both the Mac charset and ISO8859-1 are supersets of
ASCII so this doesn't contradict the protocol.) However, there are in both
sets characters which have no representation in the other set. These are
mapped to nonsensically-looking characters. The most important are the
accented vowels, which are all correctly mapped. The mapping is done by the
tables also used by Peter Lewis' FTPd.
- DCC filetransfer, as it was originally conceived, uses transparent
(binary) transfer mode. As DCC is often used for text files, ircle has also
a text transfer mode which maps characters to the ISO set (see above) and
CRs (on the Mac) to LFs (on transmission), to be compatible with Un*x. But
this may fail in more exotic environments.
- A KILL by an operator includes a sometimes long 'path' argument, which
will not be displayed in the alert (as it is of interest to other operators
only). Unfortunately, this may result in the rest of the line, which gives
a reason for the kill, being truncated. (I am one of those who think no
good of operator kills anyway and who support the kill command being
abolished, so I didn't bother fixing it - this would require much more
software effort.)
- Very long lines generated by some users and certain commands get broken
into two lines, most times midway through a word :-)

What is still to be done

- that I have work left for the next version :-)
Most important, the window sizes and positions being stored in the prefs
file. A list of all users on a channel which is permanently displayed and
updated could also be of use. 

The inevitable legal stuff

This program is Copyright (C) 1992,93 Olaf Titz 
(e-Mail: s_titz at
Portions Copyright (C) 1992 Peter N. Lewis.
Portions Copyright (C) 1988 Symantec Corporation.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 or (at your option)
any later version. See the file COPYING.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software
Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

(Note that I am in no way connected to the FSF other than by supporting
their idea of free software.)

Some names mentioned in this manual are registered trademarks of the
respective owners.


Thanks to all the people who have supported me writing this program by
contributing ideas, advice, documentation and beta-bug hunting.
Especially I'd like to mention the following:
 Peter N. Lewis (peter at
 Matthias Urlichs (urlichs at
 Frank Simon (terra at
 Klaus Zeuge (sojge at
 Martin Allert (et_aller at
 Jussi-Pekka Mantere (Jussi-Pekka.Mantere at
and the authors of the server and the IRCII client:
 Jarkko Oikarinen (jto at
 Darren Reed (avalon at
 Michael Sandrof
 Troy Rollo (troy at
and others who are not mentioned here but are not forgotten.   :-)


.....          Martin Leach                Email:leach at 
   _|____      Dept. of Pharmacology       Phone: (617) 638-5323        
   / o  /      Boston Univ. School of Med. Fax:   (617) 638-4329         
 _/  |-/__==/  80 E. Concord St. (L603)
(BULLDOZER) \_ Boston MA 02118            "Not the old underpants on your
               USA                           head.....WIBBLE" -BLACKADDER  

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