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Personal FAQ

This personal FAQ answers many of the questions that Khaled Mardam-Bey, the developer of mIRC, is often asked. If you are looking for something specific, remember that you can type Control+F in your browser to search for a word.

Personal

Question: Where are you from?
Answer: I am British and have lived in the United Kingdom for most of my life, however I was born in Amman, Jordan to a Syrian father and a Palestinian mother. I have family living all over the Arab world, including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank.

Question: Have you ever visited Palestine or Israel?
Answer: I last travelled to Palestine and Israel in 2005 for my thesis research into Fair Trade, Olive Oil and the Occupation for a Masters degree in Development Studies at King's College, London.

Question: What is your position on the conflict?
Answer: The Palestinians have endured, and continue to endure, a great injustice. I support any solution that resolves the issue fairly and compassionately for both sides.

Question: What is your religion?
Answer: The Belief-O-Matic seems to think I am a secular humanist.

Question: Anything else?
Answer: I am vegetarian for ethical, environmental and health reasons.

Question: Do you use any social networks?
Answer: I use Google+ and Twitter to follow a few people, Facebook to keep in touch with friends and groups, Flickr for sharing photographs and YouTube for practising guitar covers.

Question: Do you read any blogs?
Answer: I occasionally pop in to Nigel Parry, mathew, Vleeptron_Z, Caterina and Coding Horror, among many others.

mIRC and IRC

Question: I heard that you created IRC?
Answer: Sorry, not me! IRC was created by Jarkko Oikarinen in 1988.

IRC is the oldest multi-user chat system on the internet, and as a protocol it is older than the World Wide Web.

IRC has continued to improve since Jarkko first created it, and is still developed by a large and dynamic group of volunteers who give their time, knowledge, and resources to the internet community.

The many public IRC networks that allow millions of people to communicate freely through IRC are owned and administered by thousands of independent individuals and organizations around the world as a public service to the internet community.

Many of the people who contributed to the development of the internet believed in a spirit of co-operation and sharing of knowledge and saw the internet as a way of allowing people to communicate freely.

IRC has hopefully continued to flourish in that same spirit.

Question: So what did you create?
Answer: I created mIRC, the IRC client.

IRC needs two separate parts to work, one is the server, and the other is the client. The client is the software that you run on your computer in order to connect to an IRC server, join channels, and talk to people. The server is the part that, in the background, running on another computer on the internet, connects all IRC clients together.

There are many IRC clients, and many IRC servers, some are more popular than others.

Question: So mIRC is not the same as IRC?
Answer: That is correct, it is not. mIRC is just a popular IRC client.

Question: What inspired you to create mIRC?
Answer: When I first started using IRC, most IRC clients were difficult to use or limited in features. I wanted to see if I could create an IRC client that was both fun and easy to use.

Question: When was the first version of mIRC released?
Answer: I started working on mIRC in late 1994, and released the first public version on the 28th of February, 1995.

Question: How many people use mIRC?
Answer: The number appears to be in the millions. The total number of downloads passed the 150 million mark some time ago. There are thousands of downloads of mIRC per day through the mIRC website.

Question: How did mIRC become so popular?
Answer: It grew in popularity entirely by word-of-mouth. I listened to users, added features that they asked for, and tried to help them when they had issues. I never marketed, promoted, or advertised mIRC in any way.

At one point mIRC was so widely used in some countries that it became a part of popular culture, eg. in 2001 an Indonesian band called T-Five wrote a song called mIRC.

In 2003, Nielsen/NetRatings ranked mIRC among the top ten most popular Internet applications in the world.

Question: Do you work on mIRC by yourself?
Answer: Yes and no.

I am the only software developer, however many volunteers have helped me out over the years.

Most noted is the venerable Tjerk Vonck, who created the first #mIRC channel, the mIRC website, and much more.

The mIRC beta team, the ops on #mIRC and other channels who help users with mIRC issues, the Discussion Forums moderators, the website mirror and download providers, the language translators, and thousands of other people, have also been invaluable.

It is unlikely that mIRC would have developed into what it is today without the input and help of many people.

Question: Why does mIRC have so many features?
Answer: Most of the features in mIRC were requested by users. Developing software is a fine balancing act: you want to be attentive and receptive to user requests but at the same time you want to avoid software bloat. Of the many feature requests I have received over the years, only a handful have actually made it into mIRC.

Question: Will you be releasing the mIRC source code for public use at some point?
Answer: mIRC is the way I make a living, so it is not currently practical for me to release the source code.

Question: Will you be making a version of mIRC for other operating systems?
Answer: I would love to create a cross-platform version of mIRC one day, however maintaining the Windows version takes up so much of my time that it is not currently practical.

Question: Will mIRC be translated into other languages?
Answer: I am currently working on making mIRC easy to translate, so you should see mIRC in languages other than English in the near future.

Question: What were you doing before mIRC?
Answer: I was taking a Masters degree in Cognitive Science at the University of Westminster in London, which is where I first learned about the Internet and IRC. Unfortunately I never finished my thesis due to mIRC taking up all of my time.

Question: How do you pronounce mIRC?
Answer: I pronounce each letter, m-I-R-C. However, it is fine to pronounce it as 'mirk'. Often during a conversation I will switch between both pronunciations, depending on how quickly I want to get my point across!

Question: What does the 'm' in mIRC stand for?
Answer: It quite possibly stands for 'moo', or perhaps even MU.

Question: Who is Arnie?
Answer: Arnie is the mIRC mascot. You can find a picture of him here. Made by the California Stuffed Toys company. Achieved sentience in the year 1985 :-)

Other

Question: How much time did it take to create mIRC?
Answer: The first, basic version of mIRC took a few months to create. Once it became popular, with millions of users, it took much more effort to keep it going: replying to emails, helping users, resolving issues, discussing suggestions, implementing features, testing, getting feedback, researching new technologies, updating help files and so on. The more popular mIRC became, the more users wanted. For a period of about ten years, the pace of work was intense and all-consuming. You can find a history of mIRC development in the versions.txt file.

Question: Why does mIRC not have its own IRC network?
Answer: The plurality and diversity of IRC is what makes it valuable and interesting. As a popular IRC client, if mIRC had created its own IRC network and set that as the default for all mIRC users, it may have diminished that. The mIRC servers list includes hundreds of networks. When a user installs mIRC, a default network is chosen at random from a small list of large networks, to make the user's initial experience more interesting. After that, the user can start exploring other IRC networks.

Question: What was the idea behind your charity fundraisers?
Answer: Some time in 2001 I wondered if I could tap into mIRC's popularity to raise funds for various charities. The aim was to donate all mIRC income earned in a particular month to a chosen charity. I hoped that users would be willing to register knowing that their money was going to a good cause. Many mIRC users were kind enough to help out and I ended up running several more charity fundraisers in the same way after that. You can see the results of the fundraisers by scrolling down through the Latest News page.

Question: How do you feel about the fact that some people use mIRC to distribute copyright/illegal material? Or to harm others?
Answer: There is a common misconception that I am able to prevent people from doing these things. That is not the case. I do not own or host any IRC networks, servers, or channels. mIRC is only a client-side software that allows you to connect to public IRC networks around the world, in the same way that your web browser allows you to connect to public websites around the world. I am not happy with the fact that some people use mIRC in a negative way, however mIRC is used by many people and there will always be some people who use it in ways with which I do not agree.

Question: Why does mIRC have file-sharing capabilities?
Answer: IRC is about communication. Both chat and file-sharing are a normal part of communication and always have been. IRC has been around since 1988, long before the mass file-sharing systems that we see today came into existence. Although mIRC has a file-server, it is simple and crude, and was designed long ago for basic personal use, to allow individuals to share files with friends, family, and colleagues, and is nothing like the sophisticated and dedicated file-sharing systems in existence today, which are specifically designed to facilitate the sharing of files on a mass scale.

Help

Question: Can you help me get started with mIRC?
Answer: Due to the number of people that use mIRC, it is not possible for me to help everyone individually. Before emailing me, please see the first few sections of the mIRC help file and the Help section on the mIRC website. If you really get stuck you can email me but please note that it can take me from a few days to a few weeks to reply.

Question: I am trying to write a script for mIRC, can you help me?
Answer: Sorry, I cannot. Scripting is the same as programming and takes much time and work. If you are new to writing scripts and do not have programming experience, the best way to get started is to try out some of the examples in the mIRC help file or a tutorial on one of the scripting sites listed in the Help section of the mIRC website.

Registration

Question: Why does mIRC need to be registered?
Answer: mIRC is distributed in a way that allows you to try it out first to see if you like it before you register. If you like it and continue to use it, you will need to register, the same as with all commercial software.

Question: Why don't you give mIRC away for free?
Answer: Although mIRC started out as a hobby, it took up so much of my time that it eventually became a full-time job, which it still is today.

Question: How do I register mIRC?
Answer: You can register mIRC through the methods described on the Register mIRC page.

Question: I registered recently but have not received my registration.
Answer: Registration emails are usually sent within a few minutes of an order. The most common reasons for not receiving a registration email are 1) You entered an invalid email address on the order page or 2) Your email provider thought the registration email was spam and either placed it in your spam/junk folder or deleted it without telling you. You can use the Lost Registration page to request it again.

Question: I have lost my mIRC registration. Is there some way of recovering it?
Answer: You can recover your mIRC registration through the Lost Registration page. In order to recover a registration, you must know the original email address that you used when you registered. If you cannot find your registration through the above page, you will need to register again.

Email

Question: How can I reach you?
Answer: I receive many emails and although I try to read them all, and like hearing about how mIRC is being used, it is difficult for me to reply to every email.

Is your question about: a Registration, an Interview, or a Server or Channel issue?

If you have looked through the section headings and cannot find what you are looking for, I can be reached at

Question: I received a spam and/or trojan/virus email that appears to be coming from your email address.
Answer: I do not send emails to people I do not know and my system has no trojans or viruses of any kind.

If you have received an email that appears to be coming from my email address, it is due to a spam/trojan/virus using a fake "from" email header in the email.

I myself receive several thousand spams per day (and upwards of twenty thousand per day during a virus outbreak) mainly due to my email address being wide-spread on the internet. There is little I can do about it other than to try to filter them out.

Interview

Question: I would like to interview you and/or have a list of questions I would like you to answer for a project, website, magazine, interview, event, etc.
Answer: Thanks for your interest, unfortunately it is difficult for me to find the time to take part in interviews, events or to reply to lists of questions. If you like, you can send me your questions and I will be happy to add them to this FAQ when I can.

Distribution

Question: Can I distribute mIRC on my website?
Answer: Yes, you are welcome to do so, however please ensure that you are distributing the original mIRC install file as distributed on the mIRC website. See the question below.

Question: Can I create a custom version of the mIRC distribution files, or distribute mIRC as part of my script?
Answer: Sorry, this is not permitted by the distribution license. If you are creating a script, you must distribute your script as a separate file. You can provide the original mIRC install file as a separate download or ask users to visit the mIRC website to download mIRC if they do not already have it installed.

Research

Question: I am doing some research on IRC, do you know of any studies, papers, etc. on the subject?
Answer: The irchelp.org website has a list of references in the communication research section.

Question: I am trying to write my own IRC client, can you help me?
Answer: Sorry, I cannot. You can find links to technical information in the Help section on the mIRC website.

Question: I have a great idea that is IRC/non-IRC related and need help working on/developing it, can you help me out/be a part of the development team/join my company?
Answer: Sorry, I cannot as I already have other commitments.

Technical

Question: In which language is mIRC written?
Answer: mIRC is written in a mixture of C/C++ in pure Win32 code and compiled under Visual Studio. It was originally compiled under Borland C++.

Question: How large is the source code for mIRC?
Answer: Currently, the project is spread across 289 files, is around 170,000 lines of code, and is 7MB in size.

Question: Are some of your controls custom coded?
Answer: Yes, the Toolbar and tooltips, the Tabbed dialogs, the Tree List in the Options dialog, the Switchbar, the Text Display in windows, and one or two other controls, are all custom coded. I am working on gradually replacing my own custom controls with standard controls, where possible.

Question: How did you create the scripting language?
Answer: I had no experience with writing compilers or parsers when I first started working on mIRC. The scripting language grew organically, it was not designed. Users provided much input and over time the language became relatively organized and stable, though it still has some quirks. I would say that the language resembles a combination of C and perl.

Question: Can I have the source code to mIRC? I would like to learn from it and/or port it to another operating system.
Answer: Sorry, the source code is not available for public or personal use at this time.

Servers

Question: I have been banned/klined/glined from an IRC server, can you unban me?
Answer: No, I cannot, I do not have anything to do with IRC networks or servers. You can find out more about this issue in the IRC FAQ.

Sometimes this can happen if someone who uses the same internet provider as you has caused trouble on IRC in the past. Unfortunately, because of the way the internet works, servers cannot ban one specific person, they can only ban their address, and this affects all the other users who use the same internet provider as them. The ban is usually in place for a short period of time.

You can try connecting to a different IRC server on the same IRC network and you will be able to see the same people and the same channels, or try emailing the administrators of the IRC network to ask for help.

Question: I am having trouble connecting to a server, can you help me?
Answer: There are several situations where this can happen.

If you see the message 'Unable to resolve local host', you should enable the 'Server lookup' method in the 'Local Info' section of the Connect dialog in mIRC.

If you see the message 'Unable to resolve IRC server', it may be that your internet provider's DNS is not working (which happens to all ISPs occasionally, and is temporary and is fixed by them after a while), or it may be that the address you are trying to connect to is not working, or no longer exists.

If you see the message 'Can't assign requested address', this means that the IRC server that you are trying to connect to is not working, your only option is to try a different IRC server on the same network.

If an IRC server does not let you connect then this could be because it is full and cannot handle anymore connections, or because you are too far away from it geographically, or if it has a specific policy regarding connections from your internet provider. You should simply try a different IRC server until you find one that allows you to connect.

Question: I have set up a new IRC network/server, can you add it to the default mIRC servers list?
Answer: To learn about the servers list and how you can send your network/server details to us, please see the servers list page.

Router/LAN/ICS/Proxy/Network

Question: I have a router/LAN/ICS/proxy/network configuration and I am having trouble getting mIRC to work through it, can you help me?
Answer: I have no personal experience with these configurations, however you can find answers/help in the connection issues section on the Discussion Forums.

Identd

Question: When I try to connect to a server, it tells me that I need to have identd enabled, what does that mean?
Answer: Identd is a method of authentication that is required by many IRC networks.

To make sure identd is enabled in mIRC, go to the Identd section in the mIRC Connect dialog.

If identd is enabled and you still cannot connect, you are most likely trying to connect through a network or firewall that is not configured to allow identd connections. You would need to configure your system to allow identd connections.

Firewalls

Question: I need to configure mIRC to connect through a firewall, can you help me?
Answer: There are several types of firewall.

The first type is a personal firewall that you run on your own computer. It allows you to control which applications can connect to the internet or receive connections from the internet. If mIRC is being blocked by your firewall, you would need to make sure that your firewall is configured to allow mIRC to connect to the internet.

The second type is a socks4/5 or http proxy firewall that requires a username and password. You would need to enter the correct information in the proxy firewall section in mIRC. If you do not know this information, or if it still does not work after you enter the information, you would need to contact the administrators of the firewall for help. It may be that the firewall does not allow IRC connections or that mIRC is not compatible with the firewall.

Channels

Question: I have been banned/kicked from a channel, can you help me get back on?
Answer: Sorry, I cannot as I have nothing to do with channels. You can find out more about this issue in the IRC FAQ.

Sometimes this can happen if someone who uses the same internet provider as you has caused trouble on IRC in the past. Unfortunately, because of the way the internet works, channels cannot ban one specific person, they can only ban their address, and this affects all the other users who use the same internet provider as them. The ban is usually in place for a short period of time.

You would need to either ask the ops on that channel to let you back on, or you would need to wait until the ban is removed after some time.

Question: When I try to join a channel, I see a message that the channel needs a key, or that it is invite only, or that I need to use a registered nickname, what does that mean?
Answer: A Channel is owned and maintained by the person who created it. Sometimes, the owner may choose to make their channel avalaible only to certain people, such as family, or friends, or may limit it in other ways.

If a channel needs a key or is invite only, that usually means that it is a private channel, so you cannot join it.

If a channel tells you that you need to use a registered nickname, you will need to register your nickname on that IRC network before you can join the channel. Each IRC network has its own method for registering nicknames, so you would need to ask for help on that network to find out how. Try joining channel #mIRC or #irchelp.

Question: I have created a new channel on IRC, can you add it to the list of default channels in the mIRC channels folder?
Answer: Sorry, I only add channels that I personally select.

Viruses/Trojans

Question: I downloaded and installed mIRC from the official mIRC website, however my anti-virus software is telling me that the installed files have a virus/trojan in them.
Answer: All mIRC install files on the official mIRC website and mirrors are checked for viruses/trojans before being made available to users for download, so it is not possible to get a virus/trojan from them.

There are two possibilities:

  • The anti-virus software you are using has made a mistake, and thinks that the files have a virus/trojan when they do not. This is called a false-positive and is quite common. It usually happens after an anti-virus company updates their virus definition files without checking them properly. You should email the anti-virus company to report the problem.

  • You already had a virus/trojan on your computer, which then infected the mIRC files after you installed mIRC on your computer. You should scan your entire computer to be safe.

Question: mIRC is running automatically when windows first starts. I do not want it to do this and I cannot seem to uninstall it.
Answer: This is due to a known virus/trojan, and it can only appear on your computer if you yourself manually accepted a strange file while visiting a website, or via email, or from someone on IRC, and then installed it on your computer.

The official mIRC from the mIRC website nevers runs on startup, and can easily be uninstalled via the Windows Control Panel Add/Remove section.

You should email an anti-virus company to ask for help. You can also find more information on this issue here.