There are some pretty good irc tutorials out there if you look for them, but as an overview:
Connecting to irc
First, you need an irc client.
- For Windows: the most popular standalone irc client is mIRC. Trillian can also handle irc, along with other chat protocols such as AIM.
- For Macs: the oldschool client is ircle, and the newer client-of-choice is Colloquy.
- For Linux: Pidgin is a popular IM client that handles IRC just fine. Konversation a KDE IRC client.
- Command line: Irssi works as a command line client for all platforms.
- Browser based: Freenode webchat (Mibbit is not allowed on Freenode)
Specify the server
Once you have a client, you need to specify the server name (and sometimes the port number), so your client knows which irc server to connect to.
The irc server that Dreamwidth uses is:
In most clients you can leave the port number set to default, but if your client makes you specify it, it's port 6667.
Specify your nick
Your client will let you select your "nick", or the name that'll display to other people when you join. Every client is different, but poke around for the options. That lets us know what to call you!
Specify the channel
Once you've connected, your client may have different ways to specify what channel you want to join. If you can't find the "join this channel" button or option or widget or what-have-you, type:
That will bring you to the #dreamwidth channel. You'll see a list of everyone who's in the channel, and be right in the middle of the conversation.
How to talk
Anything you type in your client's text input box will now appear in the channel! Just type normally, and everyone else in the channel will see you.
For instance, if you type
this is a test irc message!
Everyone else in the channel will see some variation (depending on their client's formatting) of:
<rahaeli> this is a test irc message!
If you want to perform an action, start off your action with /me (and try not to twitch at the bad grammar):
/me sends an irc message!
rahaeli sends an irc message!
That's about it on the irc basics -- everything else can be picked up on-the-fly. :)
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