IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is a communication protocol that allows for group communication among users in channels. If the idea of IRC is totally new to you, we’ll try to bring you up to speed.
Networks, Servers and Channels
IRC networks are collections of servers. Our channel is on the DALnet IRC network. Any of DALnet’s many servers will connect you to DALnet and allow you to join us you can choose the server closest to you or simply connect to irc.dal.net and you will automatically be connected to a server.
Once you’re connected to a server you will need to join a channel. Users joined to a channel will see all the messages sent to that channel by other users. You might think of a channel as a chat room, but channel is the preferred term. Network-wide channels are prefixed with a pound sign (#). Our channel’s name, if you haven’t guessed, is #Macintosh.
Mac OS X Clients
You’ll need an IRC client to connect to DALnet and join #Macintosh. There are a number of great IRC clients for the Mac. Here are a few clients our users enjoy:
Adium (Free) — Adium is an instant messaging client that also has IRC capabilities. If you want to talk with your AIM, MSN, ICQ and Jabber friends and IRC with the same software, Adium is your one-stop app.
Babbel (Free) — Babbel is a multi-platform (Mac and Windows) IRC client offering lots of customization. (Single-window? Multi-window? It’s all up to you!) Babbel is written by channel member Possible.
Colloquy (Free) — Colloquy is a simple, Free Mac client. There is also an iOS version ($2.00, App Store) that can connect to the Mac client and allow you to join the conversation on your iOS device without joining the channel or connecting to the network twice.
HexChat (Free) — HexChat is an XChat-based client that is free for all platforms (whereas XChat Windows builds are shareware). Channel regular iWench recommends HexChat over XChat Azure as she had problems with XChat leaking memory. If you like the UI of XChat, give HexChat a try. Hint: From the downloads page, grab the .app.zip file; the .tar.gz files are source code.
Limechat (Free) — LimeChat is a multi-platform IRC client that supports the Mac. While very lightweight, it isn’t the easiest client in the world to use, and may not be best for new IRCers.
Linkinus ($8.00) — Linkinus is a powerful and feature-rich IRC client. Features like inline media viewing, message bookmarking and creative view options make Linkinus stand out. (Linkinus is apparently discontinued now.)
Snak ($29.00) — One of the oldest Mac clients still in development, Snak has a nice collection of features and is relatively easy to use. The registration fee is somewhat high versus other clients.
Textual ($5.00) — “Designed with simplicity in mind.” Textual is a clean and simple IRC client that has some neat features like inline media viewing.
XChat Azure (Free) — XChat Azure is a Mac build of the popular UNIX/Linux XChat client. This free client works well and has a decent array of features making it a good first choice for new IRCers.
Want to join us from your iPad or iPhone? Try these clients for iOS:
Colloquy ($2.00) — The iOS companion to the desktop app allows you to use the desktop app as a gateway, meaning you only have one connection to the server and one nick in the channel for both your mobile and desktop connection. It also supports ZNC as a bouncer and can receive push notifications from ZNC if the Colloquy module is enabled in your ZNC configuration.
Palaver ($3.00) — Palaver is a fast and lightweight mobile client that supports ZNC quite well and can receive push notifications if the Palaver module is enabled in your ZNC configuration. Recently updated for iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Limechat ($5.00) — Looks powerful and easy to use. Someone give it a try and let me know what you think!
Linkinus ($1.00) — The mobile version of the powerful desktop app leaves a little to be desired, but it is one of the more affordable mobile clients. Functionality is very basic, though.
There are a few web services that allow you to connect to IRC through your browser without installing any software on your machine. If you’d like you can join us using Mibbit in your web browser by clicking here. Just pick a username and wait for the connection to be established and you’ll see us in no time!
Making the Connection
How you connect to IRC will vary depending on which client you use, but you will usually be asked to provide a server, nickname, and channel to join. The server you’ll want to specify is irc.dal.net which will automatically connect you to one of the DALnet servers. Choose a nickname that you think represents yourself and join us in #Macintosh!