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Network Working Group                                      E. Brocklesby
INTERNET-DRAFT                                            September 2002
Expires: March 2003

                  IRC RPL_ISUPPORT Numeric Definition
                    draft-brocklesby-irc-isupport-00

Status of this Document

   This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
   all provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups.  Note that
   other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-
   Drafts.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at
   http://www.ietf.org/ietf/1id-abstracts.txt

   The list of Internet-Draft Shadow Directories can be accessed at
   http://www.ietf.org/shadow.html.


   This document is a product of an individual.  Comments are solicited
   and should be addressed to the author.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2002). All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

     This memo presents a way for the server to unobtrusively advertise
     the ways in which it differs from the IRC specification defined in
     RFC 1459 [4]. It is a primary goal to implement this in a way which
     is completely backwards-compatible with the original protocol, and
     also with current non-standard implementations of the ISUPPORT
     numeric.







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                           Table of Contents


1. Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
 1.1. Terminology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
 1.2. Motivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
2. Protocol outline. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
3. Currently defined tokens. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
 3.1. PREFIX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
 3.2. CHANTYPES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
 3.3. CHANMODES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
 3.4. MODES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
 3.5. MAXCHANNELS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
 3.6. NICKLEN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
 3.7. MAXBANS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
 3.8. NETWORK. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
 3.9. EXCEPTS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
 3.10. INVEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
 3.11. STATUSMSG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
 3.12. CASEMAPPING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
 3.13. SAFELIST. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
 3.14. TOPICLEN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
 3.15. KICKLEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
 3.16. CHANNELLEN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
 3.17. CHARSET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
 3.18. CHIDLEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
 3.19. STD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
4. Differences to existing implementations . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
 4.1. PREFIX token without value . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
 4.2. EXCEPTS and INVEX value argument . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
 4.3. STATUSMSG. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
 4.4. Conflicts with RFC 2812. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
 4.5. Default value for CASEMAPPING. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
5. Acknowledgements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
6. References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
7. Author's Address. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
8. Full Copyright Statement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14

1.  Introduction

1.1.  Terminology

     Original IRC protocol: The original IRC protocol as described in
     RFC 1459 [4].

     The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
     "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED",  "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in
     this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [2].



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     The ABNF syntax used in this document is defined in RFC 2234 [3].

1.2.  Motivation

     Since the publication of RFC 1459 [4] in 1993, a number of changes
     and extensions have been made to the IRC protocol.  This has led to
     a problem whereby clients are unable to correctly interpret some
     server replies, because the reply, channel mode, and so on may have
     different meanings on different implementations of the IRC server.
     It is also difficult for the client to ascertain which protocol
     extensions may be available on a specific server.  A de-facto
     standard has emerged in the community, originally implemented by
     the Undernet's IRC server software based on the 005 numeric from
     DALnet's IRC server, which allows the server to advertise to the
     client upon connection which protocol extensions it supports.  This
     reply, termed RPL_ISUPPORT, uses the non-standard numeric 005.

     Unfortunately, since there is no standard document describing the
     ISUPPORT numeric, differences have emerged between implementations
     in IRC server software; it is believed that this reduces the
     potential usefulness of the feature.  This memo attempts to
     standardise the format and content of the ISUPPORT method in an
     extensible way, such that IRC clients can use the information
     provided to the maximum extent.

2.  Protocol outline

     The ISUPPORT numeric consists of a series of tokens, each of which
     maps to a protocol extention supported by the IRC server.  A token
     may have an associated value, typically a numeric or string value,
     which provides additional information on the extension.

     The format of the ISUPPORT numeric is the same as other server
     numeric replies currently used.  A client which does not understand
     the numeric may ignore it; however, it is recommended that IRC
     clients understand ISUPPORT, in order to allow users the full
     benefit of features implemented by the IRC server.  The ABNF
     grammar for the numeric is as follows:

       isupport = ":" servername SP "005" SP nickname SP
               1*13( token SP ) ":are supported by this server"

       token = *1"-" parameter / parameter *1( "=" *1value )
       parameter = 1*20letter
       value = 1*20letter
       letter = ALPHA / DIGIT / "-" / ","





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     The format of the postfix descriptive text is not fixed, and may be
     any string subject to the requirements of RFC 1459 [4] regarding
     numeric replies.  Servername and nickname are as defined in RFC
     1459 [4].

     The server MUST send parameter and value in upper-case text, and it
     is RECOMMENDED that clients treat capabilities in a case-
     insensitive manner.  RFC 1459 [4] defines a maximum of 15
     parameters to any reply, including the nickname and the text;
     therefore, only 13 capabilities are possible per reply.

     In order to allow flexibility in the protocol, and future
     expansion, the server may send more than one ISUPPORT reply per
     connection.  It is RECOMMENDED that consecutive ISUPPORT replies
     are sent adjacent to each other.  The client MUST support receiving
     multiple ISUPPORT replies, and should merge them to produce the
     final list of supported protocol extentions.  While it is
     recommended that the server attempt to send 13 tokens per line
     before sending multiple replies, this is not required.

     A token is of the form "TOKEN[=[VALUE]]" or "-TOKEN".  Absence of a
     token implies that the default value should be used; except as
     explicitly stated below, this is, in order of preference: the
     behaviour that RFC 1459 [4] defines; the accepted behaviour in the
     IRC community; and undefined.  Except as explicitly stated below, a
     token should not be sent unless it changes this default value, or
     the default value is vague, badly defined, or differs between IRC
     server implementations.  When in doubt, the token should be sent.
     If a token which accepts a VALUE specifier is given without the any
     VALUE parameter, it should be ignored by the client and the default
     value used as if it was not specified, except as explicitly stated
     below.  A token with a null value, of the form "TOKEN=", should be
     treated as having an empty value specifier.  If the token does not
     allow an empty value specifier, the client should ignore the entire
     token, as if it was not specified.

     The form "-TOKEN" is used to negate a previously specified token;
     that is, revert to the behaviour that would occur if the token had
     not been specified. This is intended to allow servers to change
     their capabilities without disconnecting clients. Both tokens with
     and without a value argument may be negated; however, the value
     argument should not be given.  It is not required to negate a token
     in order to change its value, the server should merely re-advertise
     the token with the new value.

     The server may negate tokens which have not been previously
     advertised to the client; in this case, the client should ignore
     the negation.



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     The server may not advertise and negate the same token in one
     ISUPPORT numeric reply, nor may it advertise the same token with
     different value specifiers.  The client's behaviour in this case is
     undefined, however it is recommended that the client honour the
     tokens in order; that is, the latter specification of a token
     overrides the former.

3.  Currently defined tokens

     A number of tokens are currently used in the IRC community, and it
     is believed to be beneficial to standardise these.  They are listed
     below, with relevant information.

3.1.  PREFIX

     PREFIX=[(modes)prefixes]

     The PREFIX token specifies a list of channel status flags (the
     "modes" parameter) that clients may have on channels, followed by a
     mapping to the to channel status flags ("prefixes"), which are used
     in NAMES and WHO replies.  There is a one to one mapping between
     each mode and prefix; for example, (ab)&* maps the channel mode 'a'
     to the channel status flag "&", and channel mode "b" to the channel
     status flag *.  The order of the most should be from the status
     which gives most privileges on the channel, to that which gives the
     least.

     Example: PREFIX=(ohv)@%+ maps channel mode +o to status @, +h to
          status %, and +v to status +.

     The default value for PREFIX is "PREFIX=(ov)@+", which corresponds
     to RFC 1459 [4]. It should not be specified if the server provides
     only these modes.  If a server provides ANY additional status
     flags, it should also provide (ov)@+.  The PREFIX token may be
     advertised with a null value specifier; this indicates that no
     prefixes are supported by the IRC server.

3.2.  CHANTYPES

     CHANTYPES=chars

     The CHANTYPES token specifies the valid characters to begin a
     channel name.


     Example: CHANTYPES=+#& defines that channels names may begin with
          either +, #, or &; for example, #mychannel.




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     The default value for CHANTYPES is "CHANTYPES=#&", which
     corresponds to RFC 1459 [4]. It should not be specified if the
     server supports exactly these channel types.  The CHANTYPES token
     requires a non-null value specifier; if no value is given, or it is
     null, the client should ignore the entire token.

3.3.  CHANMODES

     CHANMODES[=A,B,C,D]

     The CHANMODES specifies the modes that may be set on a channel.
     These modes are split into four categories, as follows:

     Type A: Modes that add or remove an address to or from a list.
          These modes always take a parameter.

     Type B: Modes that change a setting on the channel.  These modes
          always take a parameter.

     Type C: Modes that change a setting on the channel.  These modes
          take a parameter only when set; the parameter is absent when
          the mode is removed.

     Type D: Modes that change a setting on the channel.  These modes
          never take a parameter.

     The IRC server should not list modes in CHANMODES which are also
     present in the PREFIX token; however, for completeness, modes
     described in PREFIX may be treated as type B modes.

     If the server sends a mode which is missing from both CHANMODES and
     PREFIX, the client should treat it as a type D mode. However, this
     is a protocol violation by the server.


     Example: CHANMODES=b,k,l,imnpst

     The CHANMODES token requires a non-null value specifier; if no
     value is given, or it is null, the client should ignore the entire
     token.  The default value for CHANMODES is "b,k,l,imnpst", which
     corresponds to RFC 1459 [4].

3.4.  MODES

     MODES=number

     This token specifies the maximum number of "variable" modes which
     may be set on a channel via a single MODE command from a client.  A



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     variable mode is defined as a mode which takes a parameter and may
     be specified multiple times in a single MODE command; for example,
     "+o" and "+v" are variable modes.  Note that "+l" and "+k" are NOT
     variable modes, because they may only appear once in a single MODE
     command.  It does not specify how many modes the client may receive
     in one MODE command from the server.


     Example: MODES=3 indicates that 3 modes may be set with a MODE
          command.

     The default value for the MODES token is 3, which corresponds to
     RFC 1459 [4]. The MODES token requires a non-null value specifier;
     if no value is given, or it is null, the client should ignore the
     entire token.

3.5.  MAXCHANNELS

     MAXCHANNELS=number

     This token specifies the maximum number of channels that a client
     may join.  This should include all types of channels available on
     the server (as indicated by CHANTYPES).


     Example: MAXCHANNELS=10 indicates that a client may join up to 10
          channels.

     The MAXCHANNELS token requires a non-null value specifier; if no
     value is given, or it is null, the client should ignore the entire
     token.  There is no default value for the MAXCHANNELS token.

3.6.  NICKLEN

     NICKLEN=number

     This token specifies the maximum nickname length that any client on
     the network may have.


     Example: NICKLEN=9 indicates that clients may have nicknames up to
          9 characters in length.

     The  token requires a non-null value specifier; if no value is
     given, or it is null, the client should ignore the entire token.
     The default value for NICKLEN is 9, which corresponds to RFC 1459
     [4].




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3.7.  MAXBANS

     MAXBANS=number

     This token specifies the maximum numbers of bans that may be set on
     a channel at one time.  Note that this should only be interpreted
     as applying to new bans which are set by clients -- it should not
     be used to infer the maximum length of the ban list returned by the
     server.


     Example: MAXBANS=30 indicates that 30 bans may be set on a channel
          at one time.

     The MAXBANS token requires a non-null value specifier; if no value
     is given, or it is null, the client should ignore the entire token.
     There is no default value for the MAXBANS token.

     Note that separate limits are used for each "nick!user@host" list
     on the channel, if more than one is available; that is, if MAXBANS
     is 25, it is possible to set both 25 bans and (for example) 25
     invite exceptions on any one channel at the same time.

3.8.  NETWORK

     NETWORK=name

     The NETWORK token defines the name of the IRC network that the
     client is connected to.


     Example: NETWORK=EFnet indicates that the client is connected to
          the EFnet IRC network.

     Note that this token is intended only for user display purposes;
     the client SHOULD NOT assume further capabilities or features of
     the IRC server based on the value of the NETWORK token.  The
     NETWORK token requires a non-null value specifier; if no value is
     given, or it is null, the client should ignore the entire token.
     There is no default value for the NETWORK token.

3.9.  EXCEPTS

     EXCEPTS[=modechar]

     The EXCEPTS token indicates that the server supports "ban
     exceptions" (channel mode +e), as defined in RFC 2811 [5], sections
     4.3.1.  The optional value argument to EXCEPTS indicates which



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     channel mode is used for ban exceptions. If no value is specified,
     or it is null, it is assumed that mode +e is used.

3.10.  INVEX

     INVEX[=modechar]

     The INVEX token indicates that the server supports "invite
     exceptions", as defined in RFC 2811 [5], section 4.3.2.  The
     optional value argument to INVEX indicates which channel mode is
     used for invite exceptions.  If no value is specified, or it is
     null, it is assumed that mode +I is used.


3.11.  STATUSMSG

     STATUSMSG=string

     The server supports a method of sending a notice or message to only
     those people on a channel with the specified status.  This is done
     via a NOTICE or PRIVMSG command, with the channel prefixed by the
     desired status flag as the target; for example:

     NOTICE @#channel :Hi there

     The server should deliver the message to all users on the specified
     channel with equal or higher status on the channel as the status
     flag indicates; for example, a message to "+#channel" would deliver
     the message to all voiced and opped users on #channel, assuming
     that the server supported the PREFIX value (ov)@+.

     The required value argument to STATUSMSG indicates which prefixes
     (from the PREFIX= token) are valid status values for use in NOTICE
     and PRIVMSG commands.

     The STATUSMSG token requires a non-null value specifier; if no
     value is given, or it is null, the client should ignore the entire
     token.

3.12.  CASEMAPPING

     CASEMAPPING=string

     The CASEMAPPING token allows the server to specify which method it
     uses to compare case equality.  Possible values are:

     "ascii": The ASCII characters 97 to 122 (decimal) are defined as
          the lower-case characters of ASCII 65 to 90 (decimal).  No



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          other character equivalency is defined.

     "rfc1459": The ASCII characters 97 to 126 (decimal) are defined as
          the lower-case characters of ASCII 65 to 94 (decimal).  No
          other character equivalency is defined.

     "strict-rfc1459": The ASCII characters 97 to 125 (decimal) are
          defined as the lower-case characters of ASCII 65 to 93
          (decimal).  No other character equivalency is defined.

     Note that the only difference between "rfc1459" and "strict-
     rfc1459" is that the characters "~" and "^" are not considered
     equivalent in the "strict-rfc1459" encoding.  This is believed to
     be an mistake in the specification of character equivalency in RFC
     1459 [4]; the majority of IRC server implementations known to the
     author treat these characters as equivalent (however, see section
     4.5).

     The CASEMAPPING token requires a non-null value specifier; if no
     value is given, or it is null, the client should ignore the entire
     token.

     The default value for CASEMAPPING is "rfc1459".  While this differs
     from the historical definition in RFC 1459 [4], it is believed to
     reflect current IRC server implementations, and is as such more
     useful.

3.13.  SAFELIST

     SAFELIST

     The SAFELIST token indicates that the client may request a "LIST"
     command from the server, without being disconnected due to the
     large amount of data generated by the command.

     The SAFELIST token must not be specified with a value; if a value
     is given, the client should treat the token as if it was specified
     without a value.

3.14.  TOPICLEN

     TOPICLEN=number

     The TOPICLEN token specifies the maximum length of the topic
     specified in the TOPIC command for a channel.  Note that it only
     specifies the length of topic that may be set -- the server is free
     to return topics longer than this length to the client.




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     The TOPICLEN token requires a non-null value specifier; if no value
     is given, or it is null, the client should ignore the entire token.
     There is no default value for the TOPICLEN token.

3.15.  KICKLEN

     KICKLEN=number

     The KICKLEN token specifies the maximum length of a KICK message
     that a client may use.  Note that it only specifies the length the
     client should send to the server -- the server may send KICK
     messages with a length longer than this value.

     The KICKLEN token requires a non-null value specifier; if no value
     is given, or it is null, the client should ignore the entire token.
     There is no default value for the KICKLEN token.

3.16.  CHANNELLEN

     CHANNELLEN=number

     The CHANNELLEN token specifies the maximum length of a channel's
     name.  The server MUST NOT make known to the client any channels
     with a name longer than that specified in this value -- that is,
     the client may depend on a channel's name never being longer than
     this.

     The CHANNELLEN token requires a non-null value specifier; if no
     value is given, or it is null, the client should ignore the entire
     token.  The default value for CHANNELLEN is 200; this corresponds
     to RFC 1459 [4].

3.17.  CHARSET

     CHARSET=string

     The CHARSET token is used to indicate which region language
     encoding is used in server replies (numerics) and NOTICE commands
     to the user.  It does not apply to nicknames, channel names, client
     to client messages or any other text.

     Possible values for the CHARSET token are:

          "ascii": All server messages will be sent in 7-bit US-ASCII
               format.

          "UTF-8": All server messages will be sent in Unicode UTF-8
               encoding.



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          "iso_xxxx_x": All server messages will be sent in the
               specified ISO regional language encoding; for example
               "iso_8859_15".

     The CHARSET token requires a non-null value specifier; if no value
     is given, or it is null, the client should ignore the entire token.
     The default value for the CHARSET token is "ascii".

3.18.  CHIDLEN

     CHIDLEN=number

     The CHIDLEN token specifies the length of the "ID" portion of
     "safe" channels specified in RFC 2811 [5].


     Example: CHIDLEN=5 means the client should expect IDs which are 5
          characters in length; for example "!JNB4Sircd".

     The CHIDLEN token requires a non-null value specifier; if no value
     is given, or it is null, the client should ignore the entire token.
     The default value for CHIDLEN is 5; this corresponds to RFC 2811
     [5].

3.19.  STD

     STD=version[,version[,...]]

     The STD token indicates which form(s) of the ISUPPORT numeric are
     used by the server.  Currently, one only possible value is defined;
     that is "i-d", which refers to this document.

     The STD token is intended to be extensible, so that if later
     standards emerge which update this document, the server may be able
     to advertise this.  The "version" string is free-form subject to
     the requirements in section 2, however, protocol updates defined in
     RFCs should be named "rfcxxxx", where "xxxx" is the relevant RFC
     number.

     A server may support any number of STD versions. However, in order
     to reduce space being needlessly wasted by this token, care should
     be taken before adding another version. It is expected that most
     new features may be advertised simply by tokens, in which case a
     new version string is not required.

     The I-D token requires a non-null value specifier; if no value is
     given, or it is null, the client should ignore the entire token.
     The default value for the I-D token is none; that is, no



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     standardised ISUPPORT is available.

     Note that it is expected that the "i-d" string will be replaced
     with an equivalent "rfcxxxx" token if this document is
     standardised.

4.  Differences to existing implementations

     A number of differences exist between the ISUPPORT defined in this
     document and traditional implementations of the ISUPPORT numeric.

4.1.  PREFIX token without value

     The PREFIX token is traditionally not sent without a value
     parameter; indeed, the author is not aware of any IRC server
     implementations where this would be appropriate. However, it is
     believed that this support is desired to allow extra flexibility,
     while retaining compatibility with traditional PREFIX
     implementations.

4.2.  EXCEPTS and INVEX value argument

     EXCEPTS and INVEX traditionally take no argument -- while they
     indicate presence of these features on the server, they do not
     specify the channel mode which is associated with these features.
     It is believed that the argument value described here provides
     extra flexibility while retaining backwards compatibility.

4.3.  STATUSMSG

     The STATUSMSG token replaces the traditional WALLCHOPS token used
     by some current implementations.  It is believed that the name
     STATUSMSG better reflects the functionality; since the argument to
     STATUSMSG is not optional, it would break backwards compatibility
     to use the name WALLCHOPS. It was not considered beneficial to
     allow a STATUSMSG flag without a value.

4.4.  Conflicts with RFC 2812

     RFC 2812 [6], section 5.1, defines a numeric reply "RPL_BOUNCE",
     with the associated number "005".  While this conflicts with the
     ISUPPORT numeric, it is considered that ISUPPORT has received much
     more widespread support, and is the de-facto standard for use of
     the 005 numeric.  It is believed that the use of 005 as RPL_BOUNCE
     is being deprecated.

     RFC 2812 [6] is an Informational RFC and does not not specify an
     Internet standard.



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4.5.  Default value for CASEMAPPING

     The default value for CASEMAPPING ("rfc1459") was chosen because it
     reflects the prevailing implementations of the IRC server software
     currently in use. While some IRC servers have moved to the "ascii"
     case mapping, those known to the author indicate this via
     CASEMAPPING=ascii; therefore this is not believed to introduce any
     compatibility problems.

5.  Acknowledgements

     The author gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Bill Fenner
     and Perry Lorier in the preparation of this document.

     This document is heavily based on a previous document entitled "The
     005 numeric" [1].

6.  References

     [1] Roeckx, K., "The 005 numeric", September 2002.

     [2] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement
          Levels", RFC 2119, March 1997.

     [3] Crocker, D. and P. Overell, "Augmented BNF for Syntax
          Specifications: ABNF", RFC 2234, November 1997.

     [4] Oikarinen, J. and D. Reed, "Internet Relay Chat Protocol", RFC
          1459, May 1993.

     [5] Kalt, C., "Internet Relay Chat: Channel Management", RFC 2811,
          April 2000.  [6] Kalt, C., "Internet Relay Chat: Client
          Protocol", RFC 2812, April 2000.

7.  Author's Address

     Edward Brocklesby
     57 Williamson Way
     Oxford  OX4 4TU
     UK

     Phone: +44 1865 452230
     EMail: ejb@hades.skumler.net

8.  Full Copyright Statement

     Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2002). All Rights Reserved.




Brocklesby                                         Section 8.  [Page 14]


INTERNET-DRAFT             Expires: March 2003            September 2002


     This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
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Brocklesby                                         Section 8.  [Page 15]


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