Never use an IRC client while you are the root user. It is better to create a special user just for IRC because of potential security problems. To use X-Chat in this manner, you open a terminal window, use su to change to your IRC user, and start the X-Chat client.

X-Chat is a popular IRC client, and it is the client that is used in this chapter's example. The HTML documents for X-Chat are available in /usr/share/docs/xchat. It is a good idea to read them before you begin because they include an introduction to and cover some of the basics of IRC. To launch the X-Chat client, select the IRC Client item from the Internet menu found under the Extras menu, or you can launch it from the command line, like this:

The X-Chat application enables you to assign yourself up to three nicknames. You can also specify your real name and your username. Because many people choose not to use their real names in IRC chat, you are free to enter any names you desire in any of the spaces provided. You can select multiple nicknames; you might be banned from an IRC channel under one name, and you could then rejoin using another. If this seems slightly juvenile to you, you are beginning to get an idea of the type of behavior on many IRC channels.

When you open the main X-Chat screen, a list of IRC servers appears, as shown in Figure 8.20. After you choose a server by double-clicking it, you can view a list of channels available on that server by choosing Window, List Window. The X-Chat Channel List window appears. In that window, you can choose to join channels featuring topics that interest you. To join a channel, double-click it.

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