|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2012)|
|Developer(s)||mIRC Co. Ltd. (Khaled Mardam-Bey)|
|Initial release||February 28, 1995|
|Stable release||7.32 (May 23, 2013) [±]|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
mIRC is an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client for Microsoft Windows, created in 1995 and developed by Khaled Mardam-Bey. Although it is a fully functional chat utility, its integrated scripting language makes it extensible and versatile.
mIRC has been described as "one of the most popular IRC clients available for Windows." It has been downloaded over 36 million times from CNET's Download.com service. In 2003, Nielsen/NetRatings ranked mIRC among the top ten most popular Internet applications.
Khaled Mardam-Bey states that he decided to create mIRC because he felt the first IRC clients for Windows lacked some basic IRC features. He then continued developing it due to the challenge and the fact that people appreciated his work. The author states that its subsequent popularity allowed him to make a living out of mIRC. mIRC is shareware and requires payment for registration after the 30-day evaluation period.
The developer states that version 5.91 is the final one to support 16-bit Windows; 6.35 is the last to support Windows 95, NT 4.0, 98, and ME. The current version supports Windows 2000 and later.
mIRC has a number of distinguishing features. One is its scripting language which is further developed with each version. The scripting language can be used to make minor changes to the program like custom commands (aliases), but can also be used to completely alter the behavior and appearance of mIRC. Another claimed feature is mIRC's file sharing abilities, via the DCC protocol, featuring a built in file server.
mIRC's abilities and behaviors can be altered and extended using the embedded mIRC scripting language. mIRC includes its own GUI scripting editor, with help that has been described as "extremely detailed".
mIRC scripting is not limited to IRC related events and commands. There is also support for COM objects, calling DLLs, sockets and dialog boxes, among other things. This allows the client to be used in a variety of ways beyond chatting, for example as an IRC bot, a media player, a web HTML parser or for other entertainment purposes such as mIRC games. In practice however, mIRC will not be used solely for such specific purposes, but rather scripts for such purposes are addons for the client, which will otherwise be used for chatting.
Due to the level of access the language has to a user's computer, for example, being able to rename and delete files, a number of abusive scripts have been made. One example of abuse was that executed with the $decode identifier which decodes a given encoded string. The issue was reported in August 2001, and five months later, users were reported as still falling prey, tricked into executing commands on their systems which result in "handing control of [their] mIRC over to somebody else". This led to changes being made in mIRC version 6.17: according to the author, $decode is now disabled by default, and various other features which can be considered dangerous are now lockable.[third-party source needed]
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