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|Original author(s)||Khaled Mardam-Bey|
|Developer(s)||mIRC Co. Ltd.|
|Initial release||28 February 1995|
|Stable release||7.66 (29 June 2021)|
|Operating system||Windows XP and later|
mIRC has been described as "one of the most popular IRC clients available for Windows." It has been downloaded over 40 million times from CNET's Download.com service. In 2003, Nielsen/NetRatings ranked mIRC among the top ten most popular Internet applications.
mIRC was created by Khaled Mardam-Bey (Arabic: خالد مردم بي), a British programmer of Palestinian and Syrian origin. He began developing the software in late 1994, and released its first version on 28 February 1995.
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.
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. It is Turing complete. There is support for COM objects, calling DLLs, sockets, canvas drawing, input device reading, regular expressions, 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.
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; even five months later, users were still being reported as having fallen 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.
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