How to use IRC

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IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, is a low-bandwidth chat platform that has been around for decades — and it's the best place to ask development questions and help others with their questions. If you're new to it, it can be a little tricky to figure out, but it's worthwhile because a lot of experienced iOS extension developers use it to share information and hang out. Other technical communities often use IRC for their projects as well.

Where to go, and a bit of advice

A bunch of people who develop for jailbroken iOS are in #iphonedev and #theos on irc.saurik.com. Feel free to drop by and listen for a bit. If you ask a question and nobody responds right away, leave your IRC client open for a while to wait for answers, since not everyone is always awake and online. (Due to the way IRC works, you'll miss any messages sent while you're not connected.) It's also helpful to do your best finding an answer yourself (via searching this wiki which is full of documentation, searching Google, and so on) before asking in the channel. Here's a convenient link to an IRC web client for #iphonedev that you can use to start chatting right away (ignore the "password" option on that page).

Other public channels on irc.saurik.com include #theos (for discussing development with Theos), #cycript (for discussing Cycript), #winterboard (for discussing WinterBoard and Cydget), and #iphone (a general-purpose channel for iOS-related discussion). If you'd like to join multiple channels in that web-based client: click one channel to open the client, and after you click "Start", type /join #ChannelName to join the second one.

For lots more help beyond this page, see irchelp.org.

How to use IRC beyond temporary webchat

In IRCCloud, this is how you'll want to set up connecting to the channels #iphonedev and #theos on irc.saurik.com (but you'll want to pick your own name and nickname).

In order to connect to an IRC server, you can use those webchat links above or install a client application. If you plan to use IRC regularly, installing a client application is much more convenient than using that web-based client. All clients have a place to type in the server name (like irc.saurik.com) and channel name (like #iphonedev), and a place to type in a nickname for yourself.

Here are some recommended IRC clients:

  • Web and iOS for long-term use: IRCCloud - this has a free trial version that keeps you online for 2 hours, and for $5/month, it'll keep you online indefinitely even when your computer/phone is off, so you can see all the history in all your channels.
  • Web (as linked above): Kiwi IRC (free).
  • Windows: HexChat (free), mIRC (30 day trial, $20 for full version) or AdiIRC (free) - similar to mIRC.

Long-term use

It’s normal for people to keep their home/work computer on with their IRC client running, even when out or sleeping.

Alternatively, a server from Amazon, DigitalOcean, or similar cloud server provider can be used. If you don't already have access to a server, and if you're willing to do a bit of setup work, you can get a year of a free "microinstance" on Amazon Web Servers.

Both solutions allow you to see messages you would have otherwise missed out on if you closed your IRC client. Here are two solutions for long-term use:

  • irssi (free). If you have access to a server, you can set up irssi so that it stays connected indefinitely (so you can see all the history), with the help of a program called "screen". Here are instructions.
  • ZNC (free). This is a “bouncer”, which is used by connecting your desktop IRC client to your server. Like irssi, it keeps history and displays it when you open your client. You can set one up yourself, or use a hosted ZNC provider.

Details about saurik's IRC network

(You probably don't need these details, but maybe you're curious.)

saurik runs an InspirIRCd instance on his server at irc.saurik.com.

Port 6667 is opened as raw, unencrypted IRC. This is the default port most clients will connect to.

Port 6697 is opened as encrypted SSL IRC.