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The IETF RFCs documents here are in both HTML and text form. The text version is normative; the HTML version was made by Ankh (Liam Quin) and is for information only; if you are implementing anything, or writing a script, you should probably use the text version instead.
what's an RFC?
IETF RFC 1459 Internet Relay Chat (also as original text file)
This was the original specification for IRC. It is still authoritative, although in practice it is very out of date.
Microsoft's IRCX proposal is used on some networks, and probably supported by Microsoft's COmic Chat and other clients.
List of user and channel modes supported by SorceryNet's ircd
There are some newer RFCs but since they are neither implemented nor relevent to development, they are less interesting. You can see them here:
IETF RFC 2810 Internet Relay Chat: Architecture (text fomat)
IETF RFC 2811 Internet Relay Chat: Channel Management (text fomat)
IETF RFC 2812 Internet Relay Chat: Client Protocol (text fomat)
IETF RFC 2813 Internet Relay Chat: Server Protocol (text fomat)