Anyone who wants to really get anywhere with Linux quickly learns the power of IRC as a source for help, advice, and plain friendship. A good IRC client is therefore important.
I’ve tried a few since starting my Linux experiment a month ago. I started with the Pidgin IRC mode. It’s pre-installed with Ubuntu, it’s easy to find, and not too difficult to set up. However, I quickly found that it was not only simple, but also clumsy, and I didn’t feel very comfortable with it in general.
So I decided to move to Xchat, which was highly recommended to me by several people. I really liked this client. It was logical, clear, and I found it easy to understand and follow what was going on, even in several different windows. You can choose between a tabbed system and a chatroom-tree for displaying your different windows, and the colour scheme makes the different parts of the conversations nice and clear. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who prefers using a GUI.
I have recently decided to make a break for more of a command-line based system, though, and for my command line IRC I have chosen IRSSI.
Compared to some command-line programs, I found IRSSI surprisingly easy to set up. To start, with, I found this extremely good and clear guide on setting up IRSSI to connect to Freenode, so I won’t bother to write my own. I just followed the guide, and was up and running in no time.
Unlike xchat, you don’t get to use the mouse to move around IRSSI, and that’s probably it’s main difficulty. It’s also its main strength, since once you get the hang of the keyboard, moving around is actually a lot faster.
Once you’ve joined the channels you want, you need to know how to switch between them. This is actually quite easy – just hit alt-(1-0) to switch between tabs 1-10, and alt-(q-o) to switch between tabs 11-19.
There’s a lot of settings you can configure, dictating aspects such as whether a new tab opens when you get a private message, whether tabs automatically close when you /part from a channel, and so on. For a full list of options, type /tab or look at the IRSSI site here.
One of the settings you can configure is the colour scheme. I haven’t yet dived into making my own scheme, but there’s a lot you can download here and here. Download them into your ~/.irssi folder, then in IRSSI type /set theme <filename>.
Other useful commands are /msg <nick> to send someone a private message. /part leaves a channel, /wc closes it. /quit quits IRSSI altogether. There are plenty of other commands, but those should cover the major points. If there are any important commands you think I’ve missed, feel free to add a comment!