Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

September 1998

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Getting started on IRC

By: Wayne Swanson,

Organizations are formed for a reason. Some are to set rules and standards for an activity, some are are merely social in nature or, they may be set up as watchdogs for others. VOICE was formed to provide help and promotional assistance to the "home" or SOHO OS/2 user.

An organization of people distributed worldwide, in the not-to-distant past, would have been almost impossible to operate in real time. Today, things have changed. Through the computing power brought to us by all those that have gone before, we are able to meet on a regular basis with people that share our interests and correspond with them in real time.

VOICE has chosen IRC (Internet Relay Chat) as it's avenue of communication. Our membership is growing very nicely but we haven't been able to see that reflected in our online sessions. Many of you will already be familiar with IRC but for those of you that have just stared at the word "IRC" and have never actually tried it yet, we will attempt to make it a little easier for you.

OS/2 based IRC clients are available as freeware and shareware. This article is to answer a few questions and get you started with IRC. We aren't here to sell you a client, although there are some very nice ones available for OS/2, but to get you started with a good freeware client that will serve your needs and help you become an active part of VOICE.

First timer questions

Q) I was going to do it but it was too confusing to setup for the right servers and the meetings:

A) We have built a script that will automatically set up the freeware EZirc client from Roger Bess to start, log onto the proper servers and join the #VOICE channel for you. You will need to install EZirc and then run our script in the EZirc directory. At that point you should be able to start EZirc anytime you are online and it will connect to the proper server and go directly to the #VOICE channel.

Q) I don't know any commands:

A) You can join in any meeting and take part without knowing any commands. All you really have to do if you want to say something is type it and hit the <Enter> key. There are plenty of commands to learn if you want to spend the time but for most users, most of the time, there just a few basic commands.

EZirc Commands
Description of command
nickname Message
to send a private message to a nickname.
Specifies an action.
query a nicknames additional data. (or use the pulldown window)
list the users on a channel. (or use the pulldown window)
To change your nickname.
joins a channel.
leave a channel.
Allows you to QUIT the server, and supply a message if you want.
The AWAY message is used either with one parameter (to set an AWAY message) or with no parameters (to remove the AWAY message).

EZirc has an html document that delves a bit deeper into some of the common commands.

Q) I don't want to type or talk to anyone:

A) You certainly don't have to talk to anyone but that will take all the fun out of it. There are a lot of people that will join a channel and just watch what is happening. That is what is called "Lurking". It's not bad... that's just what they call it and you are welcome either way. This is what most folks do when they are new to IRC.

Q) What's in it for me?

A) For the most part, we want your input, we want your support, your help and your ideas. We are part of this organization because we want to do something positive. Without you, we are are starved of your contribution, whatever it may be, and that makes us weaker as a whole. Your Voice makes our Voice stronger collectively.

Of course, there are benefits too. We have given away some nice prizes at some of the meetings. Among them, some great programs donated by their authors and a night at the Wyndham in Chicago for WarpStock.

Installing EZirc

At this writing the EZirc archive is called EZIRC12O.ZIP and available at

Unzip EZIRC120.ZIP into a temporary directory and start the "Setup.cmd" file. You will be presented with following four options that are user adjustable.

1) Install Path : H:\TMP\EZIRC12O
2) Your User ID : yourID
3) Your Realname : Your Realname String
4) Your NickName : YourNick

1) Set the path to your liking without the trailing backslash. For example, I might set mine to h:\tcpip\bin\irc\ezirc

2) Set "Your User ID" to your ID on your ISP. (just the first part preceding the @) If you have a "SET USER" statement in your config.sys, EZirc will use it.

3) Set "Your Realname" to whatever you want. Many people do not put anything meaningful in this entry.

4) Set "Your NickName" to whatever you want also. This is the name you will be known as on IRC. If you call yourself "Superman", that is how people will address you as they have no other ID on you for the most part. Be aware that anyone calling themselves Superman might get a little bit of ribbing about it though. Nicknames can be a maximum of 9 characters in length and cannot contain any spaces. Roger Bess mentions also that it is unwise to use the "|" char either as it is used in scripts and could cause problems.

When you have made the changes that you want just hit the <Enter> key to finish the installation. A folder will be created on your desktop with the EZirc program icon and the help files.

Once EZirc is installed you can place the file in the base directory (the one with "ezirc.ini" in it) and run the cmd file. In a second or so you are all set.

Dial up your internet provider and once connected, start EZirc from the icon. It should automatically log onto a server and then join the #Voice channel. Unless it is a meeting night, there may not be anyone but the bots on the channel but at least you'll know that it works for the next time we meet.


For those of you that are old enough to remember the CB radio craze. You may feel that your first time on IRC will be as nerve-racking as when you first keyed the CB mic and asked for a 10-36. (I think that was... "What time is it?") IRC is really much easier. You can get online and watch what is happening and when you feel comfortable, join in the conversation. VOICE will be live on IRC at Warpstock, so here is your chance to be a part of this great OS/2 event, even if you can't make it to Chicago. So join us in #voice October 17-18 to get the earliest reports of the success of this year's Warpstock event!

Author Information

Wayne Swanson, VOICE V.P.
Developer of WarpZip, ShowTime/2 and the Enhanced E Editors

Editor's note: For more on OS/2 IRC clients you can check out Judy's Warped World IRC client page and you might like to read Don Eitner's review of GammaTech IRC 3.0 in the December, 1997 issue of the VOICE newsletter GTIRC is available to VOICE members at a sizable discount

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