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An uncommon irc command. A rather odd little thing, actually. Shows you a literal map of the IRC Network you are on-- what is near what, what connects to what.

If you don't mind a bit of scrolling, i'm going to indulge myself a bit and actually paste here the results of a /map i did just now on undernet.


*** R:austin.tx.us.undernet.org (0s) [1833 clients]
*** `-w:SantaClara.CA.US.Undernet.Org (0s) [4 clients]
***   |-H:dallas.tx.us.undernet.org (4s) [3986 clients]
***   |-G:NewYork-R.NY.US.Undernet.org (5s) [2 clients]
***   | |-j:Montreal.QU.CA.Undernet.Org (5s) [929 clients]
***   | |-t:Washington-R.DC.US.Undernet.Org (2s) [2 clients]
***   | | `-u:washington.dc.us.undernet.org (34s) [2023 clients]
***   | |-Az:Baltimore-R.MD.US.Undernet.Org (0s) [7 clients]
***   | | |-y:Hidden1.Undernet.Org (0s) [1 clients]
***   | | | |-f:channels2.undernet.org (0s) [1 clients]
***   | | | `-e:channels.undernet.org (0s) [1 clients]
***   | | |-5:McLean.VA.US.Undernet.Org (1s) [1725 clients]
***   | | |-3:Atlanta.GA.US.Undernet.Org (3s) [3038 clients]
***   | | |-K:Dallas-R.TX.US.Undernet.Org (24755s) [2 clients]
***   | | | |-Ar:newbrunswick.nj.us.undernet.org (0s) [9002 clients]
***   | | | |-As:lasvegas.nv.us.undernet.org (10s) [632 clients]
***   | | | `-E:manhattan.ks.us.undernet.org (1s) [1832 clients]
***   | | |-AC:Baltimore.MD.US.Undernet.Org (6s) [7973 clients]
***   | | `-AU:WebChat.MD.US.Undernet.Org (14s) [81 clients]
***   | |   `-Ai:uworld.undernet.org (0s) [1 clients]
***   | |-o:toronto.on.ca.undernet.org (10s) [1945 clients]
***   | |-AL:London.UK.eu.Undernet.org (6s) [1286 clients]
***   | | |-A8:paris.fr.eu.undernet.org (1s) [1488 clients]
***   | | `-AQ:Amsterdam-R.NL.Eu.UnderNet.org (4s) [1 clients]
***   | |   |-6:Haarlem.NL.EU.UnderNet.Org (5s) [855 clients]
***   | |   |-7:graz.at.Eu.UnderNet.org (0s) [2797 clients]
***   | |   |-F:Gothenburg.SE.EU.Undernet.org (1s) [3 clients]
***   | |   | `-O:Flanders.BE.EU.Undernet.org (0s) [2013 clients]
***   | |   |   `-AN:Brussels.Be.Eu.Undernet.org (6s) [109 clients]
***   | |   |-AJ:diemen.nl.eu.undernet.org (5s) [1524 clients]
***   | |   |-Ap:Amsterdam.NL.eu.undernet.org (5s) [2632 clients]
***   | |   |-D:Caen.Fr.Eu.UnderNet.org (14s) [1087 clients]
***   | |   |-A0:Uworld.EU.undernet.org (0s) [1 clients]
***   | |   `-P:Oslo-R.NO.EU.Undernet.org (2s) [1320 clients]
***   | |     `-Y:Oslo1.NO.EU.Undernet.org (3s) [498 clients]
***   | `-4:NewYork.NY.US.Undernet.Org (4s) [1533 clients]
***   |-S:SaltLake.UT.US.Undernet.org (0s) [1315 clients]
***   |-AT:sandiego.ca.us.undernet.org (3s) [1496 clients]
***   `-Ac:seattle.wa.us.undernet.org (0s) [4044 clients]

The first thing to note here is that when you /map, you are the center of the universe. Undernet, like all good IRC networks, is decentralized; therefore any given /map, in order to be linear, has to be given with everything in relationship to where the user is. I was on austin.tx when i ran this /map, so all links lead back to austin.tx.

And that is what the map tells you: links. What connects to what. Austin is connected to these servers, which connect to these other servers. So, what does this tell you? Well, not a hell of a lot. It lets you know the "distance" between you and other servers. You know your connection to users on santaclara.CA will be relatively good since its direct, but your connection to users on Brussels.Be will be a bit more distant. You know that everything you say to dallas is routed through santaclara, so if the connection to santaclara is bad (or breaks) the connection to dallas will be bad (or break). You know what the servers on the network are; you know how many people are on each server; if the map doesn't contain servers you know exist, then you know a netsplit is in progress. Which is all interesting to know, but not really very useful at all. And that's really all the /map is to your average user; interesting to look at, but little more.

/map is not part of the IRC RFC, is not really standard, and is not available on all networks. It works on openprojects but not efnet. YMMV. You may even find networks where within the single network where some servers will let you /map but not others. Undernet used to allow it, but after The Great Undernet DOS disabled it because they realized persons with malicious intent could look at a /map, quickly figure out which servers were the most important, flood those servers and quickly bring all of undernet down in flames.

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