Michael Mayhew

Irssi: A Console Based IRC Client (Plus More!)

by on Oct.13, 2009, under Linux, Technology

I’ve been using Irssi for several years and love it more than ever. It’s a CLI IRC client for Linux.

IMHO, the major benefit for using Irssi is coupling it with screen. Screen allows you to have a terminal session on a Linux server that you can detach from and reattach later.

If you have a Linux server with SSH accessible to the Internet, this can become very powerful.  You launch Irssi within a screen session and leave it running 24/7. From wherever you are, you can SSH to your Linux server and reattach to the screen session.  Now you can see everything that happened while you were gone.

This is where it starts to get interesting. The plug-in support is one of my favorite features of Irssi. One plug-in works with screen and marks you away when you detach from your screen session.  Then when you re-attach, it marks you as being back and shows you any messages you received while you were gone.

My favorite plug-in is Twirssi.  This is a Twitter client that lives within Irssi. You can very easily view your time-line, replies and DM’s all in one window. Twirssi also makes replying, retweeting and tweeting very easy from command line.

The plug-ins for Irssi are wrote in Perl so it’s very easy to tweak the plug-in’s to your liking.  For instance, there was a nice notify script that wrote to a file when someone mentioned your name in a channel. I modified the script to e-mail me instead. That way, I could SSH to my server, attach my screen session and reply if I was available.

Of course, Irssi supports joining multiple networks, channels, etc. The key bindings are very similar to screen’s key bindings so they are easy to remember.

Below are some screen shots of Irssi running within a screen session, along with the Twirssi plug-in.

Helpful Links:

Main Irssi Site:  http://irssi.org/

Using Irssi Efficiently: http://quadpoint.org/articles/irssi

Screen: http://www.gnu.org/software/screen/

Twirssi: http://twirssi.com/

As always, if you have any questions or would like me to go in to more detail, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to oblige.

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