Ident

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"The Ident Protocol, specified in RFC 1413, is an Internet protocol that helps identify the user of a particular TCP connection. One popular daemon program for providing the ident service is identd." Wikipedia

What this means for 99% of you, is that if you have a ~ beside your username in your hostmask on irc, you do not have an ident server on the machine you are connecting from, otherwise, you do.