07 June 2011

Irssi: Command line irc client

This is the first in a series of posts devoted to irssi, possibly the best irc client there is out there. This series will (at least) include:

Irssi: Command line irc client (An introduction to irssi for new users)

Irssi proxy (Irssi to the next level. For advanced users only)

Irssi scripts (Adding awesome utilities to irssi)

Irssi is possibly the best irc client there is out there. It can be installed and used on a variety of operating systems. Even legacy ones!!! It is a command line irc client, now you're thinking that nowadays it has no future at all. On the contrary!!! That is precisely what makes it outstanding. Let me explain you how I discovered irssi. In order to do that I have to tell you all my irc story. Do not worry it's really short. One or two lines at most. I was not an irc fan untill recently.

-My first irc client was a web-based one. I used it to connect to #kanotix back in ~2006 to ask the team a question and (I imagine) congratulate them.

-My second irc client was X-chat. A great and widely used client (There is no doubt about it) I had used it occasionally before. I first used it seriously in 2011 to connect to #debian-live (You will surely notice the 5 year leap. I told you before, I was not an irc frequent user.

-My third and last one is irssi. I discovered it searching for irc clients apt-cache search irc client

The great thing about command line clients is that you can install them on a web server and keep them connected to your favourite channels 24/7. Does that mean that you chat all day and all night long? No way. It means that by keeping your client up and running you can read the backlog and keep track of what's happening in the channel while you're out there walking the dog or sleeping. On a channel there are people from all time zones. This means that while you sleep other people arrive home from work or when other people wake up you are on your lunch break. Now it's easy to understand this 24/7 thing.

Irssi works very much like any other irc client. Only that whereas on X-chat you click on your mouse to connect to a server on irssi you have to type some commands to do it. It is not my intention to write a list of irssi commands, there's their website for that. I only want to enhance irssi's performance and show it to new users. For example to connect to #debian on oftc you would have to type several commands like for example:

/server add ...

/connect ...

/join #...

... but once you get used to it it's not difficult at all.

I think this is enough for an introduction to irssi. If you want more information you can visit or wait for my next installment in the irssi series.