RFC 1459 (rfc1459) - Page 1 of 65


Internet Relay Chat Protocol



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Network Working Group                                      J. Oikarinen
Request for Comments: 1459                                      D. Reed
                                                               May 1993


                      Internet Relay Chat Protocol

Status of This Memo

   This memo defines an Experimental Protocol for the Internet
   community.  Discussion and suggestions for improvement are requested.
   Please refer to the current edition of the "IAB Official Protocol
   Standards" for the standardization state and status of this protocol.
   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Abstract

   The IRC protocol was developed over the last 4 years since it was
   first implemented as a means for users on a BBS to chat amongst
   themselves.  Now it supports a world-wide network of servers and
   clients, and is stringing to cope with growth. Over the past 2 years,
   the average number of users connected to the main IRC network has
   grown by a factor of 10.

   The IRC protocol is a text-based protocol, with the simplest client
   being any socket program capable of connecting to the server.

Table of Contents

   1.  INTRODUCTION ...............................................    4
      1.1  Servers ................................................    4
      1.2  Clients ................................................    5
         1.2.1 Operators ..........................................    5
      1.3 Channels ................................................    5
      1.3.1  Channel Operators ....................................    6
   2. THE IRC SPECIFICATION .......................................    7
      2.1 Overview ................................................    7
      2.2 Character codes .........................................    7
      2.3 Messages ................................................    7
         2.3.1  Message format in 'pseudo' BNF ....................    8
      2.4 Numeric replies .........................................   10
   3. IRC Concepts ................................................   10
      3.1 One-to-one communication ................................   10
      3.2 One-to-many .............................................   11
         3.2.1 To a list ..........................................   11
         3.2.2 To a group (channel) ...............................   11
         3.2.3 To a host/server mask ..............................   12
      3.3 One to all ..............................................   12



Oikarinen & Reed


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