Description of the DCC Protocol
Written by Troy Rollo.
(In response for requests for the protocol to be documented).
Direct Client-to-Client Protocol
The first comment I should make is that the DCC protocol was never designed
to be portable to clients other than IRCII. As such I take no responsibility
for it being difficult to implement for other clients.
DCC allows the user to overcome some limitations of the IRC server
network and to have the ultimate in secure chat connections while still in
an IRC oriented protocol.
DCC uses direct TCP connections between the clients taking part to carry
data. There is no flood control, so packets can be sent at full speed, and
there is no dependance on server links (or load imposed on them). In
addition, since only the initial handshake for DCC conections is passed
through the IRC network, it is impossible for Operators with cracked servers
to spy on DCC messages.
The initial socket for a DCC connection is created by the side that
initiates (Offers) the connection. This socket should be a TCP socket
bound to INADDR_ANY, listening for connections.
The Initiating client, on creating the socket, should send its details
to the target client using the CTCP command DCC. This command takes the
DCC type argument address port
|type||the connection type
|argument||the connection type dependant argument
|address||the host address of the initiator as an interger.
|port||the port or the socket on which the initiator expects
to receive the connection.
The address and port should be sent as ascii representations of the
decimal integer formed by converting the values to host byte order
and treating them as an unsigned long and unsigned short respectively.
The following DCC connection types are known to IRCII:
|CHAT||To carry a secure conversation||the string "chat"
|SEND||To send a file to the receipient||the file name
In addition, the following are included in the IRCII DCC command,
although they do not transmit a DCC request via IRC:
TALK - Establishes a TALK connection
The CHAT and SEND connection types should not be accepted automatically
as this would create the potential for terrorism. Instead, they should
notify the user that an offer has been made, and allow the user to accept
The recipient should have the opportunity to rename a file send with the
DCC SEND command prior to retrieving it.
The following are the steps which should occur in the clients
DCC command issued.
Create a socket, bind it to INADDR_ANY, port 0, and make it passive
(a listening socket).
Send the recipient a DCC request via CTCP supplying the address and
port of the socket. (This is ideally taken from the address of the
local side of the socket which is connected to a side of the socket
which is connected to a server. This is presumably the interface on
the host which is closest to the rest of the net, and results in one
less routing hop in the case of gateway nodes).
Continue normally until a connection is received.
On a connection:
Accept the connection.
Close the original passive socket.
Conduct transaction on the new socket.
CTCP DCC request received.
Record information on the DCC request and notify the user.
At this point, the USER should be able to abort (close) the
request, or accept it. The request should be accepted with
a command specifying the sender, type, and argument, or
a subset of these where no ambiguity exists.
If accepted, create a TCP socket.
Connect the new socket to the address and port supplied.
Conduct the transaction over the socket.
Type Specific Details
||Data sent across a CHAT connection should be sent line-by-line
without any prefixes or commands. A CHAT connection ends when
one party issues the DCC CLOSE command to their clients, which
causes the socket to be closed and the information on the connection
to be discarded.
||Data is sent in packets, rather than dumped in a stream manner.
This allows the DCC SEND connection to survive where an FTP
connection might fail. The size of the packets is up to the
client, and may be set by the user. Smaller packets result
in a higher probability of survival over bad links.
The recipient should acknowledge each packet by transmitting
the total number of bytes received as an unsigned, 4 byte
integer in network byte order. The sender should not continue
to transmit until the recipient has acknowledged all data
already transmitted. Additionally, the sender should not
close the connection until the last byte has been
acknowledged by the recipient.
Note that it is not possible for the recipient to tell if the
entire file has been received - only the sender has that
information, although IRCII does not report it. Users generally
verify the transfer by checking file sizes.
Note also that no provision is made for text translation.
The block size used by IRCII is BIG_BUFFER_SIZE (1024).
This should probably be reviewed and reduced.
This page was created by Undernet User Commitee,
Last modified: March 18, 1997