Getting Started with IRC

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什么是 IRC?

IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, is a form of real-time text messaging between multiple users at the same time. Users connect to a server using an IRC client and join channels (chat rooms). Users type messages which are broadcasted to all users within a channel. IRC also allows one to one communication between connected users. This is the primary form of communication for members of the Mozilla community; developers, testers, users, and the like.


Once you have your client set up (see software below) and are connected to IRC, there are some basic rules you should follow to ensure the most enjoyable and productive IRC experience:


1. Try to keep messages as concise as possible. If you have something long to post, a code snippet for example, use and paste the generated URL in IRC instead.

2. When addressing someone directly, try to use name: message format. For example, "ashughes: good morning!"

3. Every channel has its own topic. Try to keep your messages within that subject matter. For example, do not talk about Thunderbird issues in #Firefox.

4. Mozilla's IRC channels are most active between 9am and 7pm PST Monday to Friday, excluding US Holidays.

5. When asking a question, be patient. Sometimes, it can take a few minutes for people to respond.

6. Posting a message like "Help!" is not particularly helpful. Asking a good question will result in a better experience for both you and the person trying to help. There is a good reference for what makes a good question here.

7. Relax and have fun!


ChatZilla – The Firefox Add-on

There are several different applications which allow you to connect to IRC networks. The easiest one to use is an add-on for Firefox called Chatzilla. The following instructions describe how to install and configure Chatzilla for use on the Mozilla IRC network:

1. Go to to download and install Chatzilla

2. Click the green Add to Firefox button

3. Click the Install button on the Addon Installation dialog

4. Once ChatZilla is installed, click Restart Firefox

5. Once Firefox restarts, close the Add-ons dialog

6. Now click Tools menu > ChatZilla to start the client

7. In the textbox at the bottom of the window type /server and press enter

8. You will be given a random username when you first connect. Usually the client will just use your computer username. If this name is already in use, it will use something like IRCMonkey21710. You can change your nickname by typing /nick nickname, where nickname is your desired nickname. You can also change your nickname using the dropdown box to the left of the textbox.

See the Commands section below for more IRC commands.

9. To join a channel type /join #channel, where #channel is the name of the channel you want to join.

See the Channels section below for some channels available on the Mozilla IRC network.

Desktop Clients

As mentioned earlier, ChatZilla is not the only IRC client available, though it is the simplest. The advantage is that the desktop clients allow much more detailed configuration. For example, you can connect using SSL or a non-secure connection, and you can configure the client to automatically connect to a server and join a particular set of channels when you start the client. The following are some other options available to you:










Binary or executable program available

○ Only available by downloading and compiling source code

●* Binary or executable may be available. If not, you'll have to download source code and compile.

w Web-based client (i.e. it runs in the browser)

For a complete list of IRC clients go here.

If using a desktop client, you will need to use the following information to configure the server connection:


Port: 6667 (default) or 6697 (SSL)


There are also a few web-based clients which allow connecting to IRC by clicking on irc:// links. One of the simplest web-based clients is Mibbit, another is IRCCloud. These operate very much in the same way as the previously mentioned desktop clients and ChatZilla. Mibbit does NOT require flash or any other plugins.


Here is a list of channels you should be aware of as a member of the Mozilla community: (Remember to use and port 6697 or 6667 for your server settings)

#qa A channel for QA discussion
#developers A channel for Mozilla development discussion
#sumo A channel for support with Firefox

For more information about the Mozilla IRC network and more channels, go here.


The following is a list of commands you should be familiar with. Simply type them into the message box at the bottom of the screen and press enter:

/join #channel Joins you to the specified channel until you quit your IRC client or quit the channel
/leave Leave the current channel
/mode #channel +k password Sets a password for the channel. If #channel is not specified, the command is executed for the current channel.
/mode #channel +o nickname Sets specified user as an owner or moderator of the specified channel. If a #channel is not specified, the command is executed for the current channel.
/mode #channel +s Sets the channel as a secret channel. This takes the channel off the public list of active channels and topics.
/msg nick message Sends a private message to the specified user
/nick nickname Change your current nickname
nickname: ping Get a user's attention (nickname is the name of the user you want the attention of)
nickname: pong Respond to a user's ping (nickname is the name of the user who wants your attention)
/query nickname Opens a private chat with the specified user
/quit message Disconnects you from the current server displaying the message in all connected channels prior to quitting
/reload styles Some IRC clients, Colloquy on Mac in particular, stop displaying your messages in the channel window. If this happens, you can type this command to resolve this issue.
/server server-name Manually connect to a server
/topic topic Changes the topic of the channel. The topic is a message that displays first when you join a channel.
/whois nickname Display information about the specified user. This information displays in the server window.

For more information about IRC commands go here.


Some users in IRC are not human. These users are known as bots and automatically perform certain tasks; some automatic, some triggered by other users. The most common of these bots are called NickServ, ChanServ, and Firebot.


This bot allows you to register your nickname which prevents other users from using it. NickServ also automatically elevates all registered users to operators when they sign on.The following are some helpful commands which can be used by NickServ:

/msg NickServ REGISTER password email This registers your nickname with the server.
/msg NickServ IDENTIFY password Once registered, you need to type this every time you want to sign into channels using your registered nickname
/msg NickServ HELP This displays a list of commands which can be used with NickServ
/msg NickServ HELP REGISTER This displays helpful information about nickname registration
/msg NickServ HELP IDENTIFY This displays helpful information about identifying yourself upon sign in

For more information about NickServ go here.


This bot allows you to register new channels and control aspects of channels. The following are some helpful commands which can be used by ChanServ:

/msg ChanServ HELP This displays a list of commands which can be used with ChanServ
/msg ChanServ IDENTIFY #channel password Allows you to edit the aspects of the specified channel given the correct password
/msg ChanServ REGISTER #channel password topic Registers a channel given the correct password and sets the topic

For more information about ChanServ go here.


Firebot is a bot which assists with Mozilla related activities on IRC. For instance, Firebot automatically posts messages to #developers about the status of automated tests. The following are some helpful commands which can be used by Firebot:

bug ###### When a bug number is mentioned in a message, Firebot automatically displays the link and summary from bugzilla for that bug.
/msg firebot uuid Displays a unique identifier. This is useful when creating interfaces for add-on development.
/msg firebot cid Displays a unique 128-bit number which can be used to identify a class or component.
/invite firebot #channel Adds firebot to the specified channel.

For more information about Firebot go here.


IRC Channel Operator's Guide (New Version) IRC Channel Operator's Guide (Old Version) [From 1995, but still quite useful]