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BadBlue IRC Sharing - Frequently Asked Questions
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When I first start BadBlue, searching doesn't return any results, but after a minute or so, I can get results... why?

When you start BadBlue, it connects to a series of IRC servers. It it can sometimes take between 15 seconds to two minutes to connect, depending upon your connection speed and other factors. As you search, you will begin to find more and more friendly machines. Reiterate your search after a minute or two and you should be able to connect to other PCs. You can check the Add friendly machines menu to view any connected IRC friends.


What is IRC sharing?

In support of peer-to-peer file sharing, BadBlue supports a concept called friendly machines. When you search BadBlue, the program returns matches found in your shared folders - and will also search the shared areas of friendly machines for matching content. Friendly machines can still be specified manually (i.e., using the Add friendly machines to your search path menu).

With version 1.5, BadBlue introduced IRC sharing. BadBlue uses random, public (or private) IRC servers, which you can specify, to find friendly machines. IRC servers allow general Internet users to chat, transfer files and perform other collaborative tasks.

In much the same way that AOL Instant Messenger detects and notifies peer groups of friendly user activity, BadBlue uses active IRC sessions to track and share connection information among peer machines without user intervention. To do this, BadBlue logs into IRC as a user and joins a public (or private) channel to look for other instances of BadBlue. It does this on a variety of distinct IRC networks/servers (which you can control), making friendly machine detection fast and transparent to the end user.


I use BadBlue as a web server: can I turn IRC sharing off?

Yes. IRC sharing can be completely disabled using the Set your searching options menu. If you decide to turn IRC sharing on or off, remember to exit BadBlue altogether and then restart it. Merely stopping and starting the server will not suffice when changing the IRC configuration. You must exit the program and restart it (i.e., using the Windows Start menu) before your new IRC configuration will take effect.


Why can I see others' files, but they can't see my files?

If you're running on a LAN or behind a proxy server (as is the case with many AOL users), you will be able to search and download shared files from other PCs, but external users will not be able to find or download your files. See the next question and answer for more details regarding this issue.


I'm on a LAN, can I share content?

To share files inside a LAN (for example, inside a company) using either private or public IRC servers, you'll need BadBlue Enterprise Edition.

BadBlue Personal Edition users running inside a firewall, on certain dialup connection (e.g., AOL) or default DSL configurations (e.g., Fuse without direct connection) can search for and retrieve shared content from other users, but can not share their own files.

These users are referred to as NAT'ed users. NAT stands for Network Address Translation. NAT'ing is often used to configure users inside a LAN (local area network) such that real network IP addresses are not consumed. Instead, special IP (NAT'ed) addresses are parcelled out to these internal users.

You can often tell whether you are a NAT'ed user by referencing your IP address. Use the Add friendly machines to your search path menu and look near the top of the page. The caption Your address is should prefix your IP address. RFC 1918 spells out common NAT'ed addresses:

10.0.0.0 10.255.255.255
172.16.0.0 172.31.255.255
192.168.0.0 192.168.255.255

If your IP address falls within these ranges, you're on a NAT'ed IP and will not be able to share your files with others with BadBlue Personal Edition. To share NAT'ed files inside a LAN (e.g., within a company) using either private or public IRC servers, you'll need BadBlue Enterprise Edition.

Please note that even BadBlue EE will not be able to allow NAT'ed users to share files with others external to the LAN or NAT'ed network area; it will allow NAT'ed users to share with others inside the LAN or NAT'ed area.


Should I backup my IRC.INI file?

If you plan to make changes (or have already made changes) to IRC.INI, you should back it up and also protect your modified file from changes. This step is highly recommended because reinstallation of BadBlue will overwrite your changes with a fresh copy of IRC.INI.

To protect your modified files from changes, use Windows Explorer and open the folder to which BadBlue was installed (e.g., c:\program files\badblue\pe). Right-click on the IRC.INI file, select Properties, check the Read-only attribute checkbox "on" and press OK to confirm. These steps will prevent the file from being overwritten if you happen to reinstall BadBlue.


 

What is IRC loggging?

BadBlue will log IRC traffic to a file named IRC00.LOG in the directory to which BadBlue was installed. You can review the IRC log file to determine which friendly machines were located, the servers to which you connected, etc. By default, only a minimal amount of IRC traffic is logged. The IRC.INI file has a setting called LOGGINGLEVEL which can be set to a value between 0 (no logging) and 9 (maximum logging).

[LOGGING]
LOGGINGLEVEL=1

Important note: setting LOGGINGLEVEL to values greater than 1 can result in the creation of large (e.g., 50 Mb or greater) IRC00.LOG files if running for many hours or days at a time.


Can I restrict sharing to a private group?

Yes. You'll need BadBlue Enterprise Edition which will let you specify an IRC channel and, optionally, a password to ensure privacy*. The SPECIFICS section is used to define this information, e.g.:

[SPECIFICS]
CHANNEL=salesforce
PASSWORD=secret18

*Note: because no encryption system is unbreakable, there exists a possibility that an enterprising hacker could compromise the cryptographic algorithm used to ensure the privacy of users in the specified channel.


How do I configure which IRC servers to use?

BadBlue uses two lists of IRC servers for general sharing purposes. The first set are called primaries and are always opened first. The second set are called secondaries and, accordingly, are opened if the primaries are unavailable or busy.

The maximum number of total IRC connections and the maximum number of primaries that can be opened are both specified in the IRC.INI file along with the actual server names and related settings:

[SETTINGS]
MAXCONNECTIONS=6
MAXPRIMARYCONNECTIONS=5

The MAXCONNECTIONS setting indicates how many total IRC connections can be established. The MAXPRIMARYCONNECTIONS setting specifies the maximum number of primary IRC servers that can be connected before attempting to open one ore more secondary servers.

The PRIMARIES section specifies the primary IRC servers for which connections will be attempted first. If appropriate, this section can specify a single IRC server (e.g., an organization's private server) with MAXCONNECTIONS and MAXPRIMARYCONNECTIONS both set to 1.

The SECONDARIES section specifies the secondary IRC servers. Connections to secondary servers will be attempted randomly based upon the difference between the number of connected primary servers and the total maximum number of connections allowed (i.e., the MAXCONNECTIONS setting). For example, consider the example in which MAXCONNECTIONS=6 and MAXPRIMARYCONNECTIONS=5. Assume that connections to all five primary IRC servers were established. BadBlue will then choose a random secondary server to bring the total number of connections to 6. If the number of total connections is less than MAXCONNECTIONS, BadBlue will attempt to connect to random servers until the connection count is equal to MAXCONNECTIONS. These attempts occur whenever BadBlue searches (either commanded locally or remotely).

Note: if you set your connection settings too high, you will probably run out of memory. Figure 1 Mb for each IRC connection plus 1 Mb for each search thread that you permit in your configuration.


How can I see my current IRC connections?

Use the Add friendly machines to your search path. This menu will not only allow you to manually add friendly machines, but it will also let you view your Current IRC friendly machine list. The list might read, for example:

bp42ca1c|surfer7.d2g.com:7777
bpf6ca7e|foo.mdyn3ip.com
bpf6001d|besttrav12.d2g.com:81
bef2d218|10.10.24.18

The first string (preceding the '|' separator character) is the IRC nickname of the friendly machine. The string following the separator character is the address of the friendly machine.


Is chat supported?

Current versions of BadBlue do not support Chat functionality.


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