Seamlessly Extending IRC to Mobile Devices

We Can Rebuild It, We Have the Technology...

This solution, although totally usable, isn't quite as elegant as I'd like. My "main" tablet and phone are both iOS devices (iPad and iPhone, but let's not discuss my choice of mobile devices here), and Apple has a very clean, integrated push notification system. I started poking around to see if there was any way to send push messages to my iDevices rather than rely on SMS—that way my iPad would receive IRC "pings" as well.

It turns out, the Internet already had an answer for this problem as well. A fellow named Chris Jones already put together a patched version of Irssi and an Irssi script that does all the heavy lifting for this solution. His Web page (see Resources) talks all about the details on this and how to install it. He even mentions using Irssi with stunnel!

Figure 3. Getting a Push Notify on an iPhone

Figure 4. Looking at My Previous Notifications

In closing, utilizing this set of scripts has really brought IRC into the 21st century for me. I love the idea of IRC, but it shows a lack of mobility features due to its age. With this set of scripts and the right mobile tools, you can bring your IRC addiction up to date—and have it with you, anywhere you go!

Figure 5. Firing Up Colloquy to Join the Conversation


Irssi Proxy Documentation:

Michael Lustfield's Irssi-to-SMS Plugin Use:

Chris Jones' Irssi Proxy and iPhone:

Stunnel Home Page:

Generating a Self-Signed SSL Certificate:

"Internet Relay Chat" by Jayson Broughton:

"IRC, Still the Best Support Around" by Shawn Powers:

Linux Journal IRC Channel: #linuxjournal on Freenode


Bill Childers is the Virtual Editor for Linux Journal. No one really knows what that means.


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Without this, perhaps, the

garnier's picture

Without this, perhaps, the life of mobile technology will not be as great as we currently have.

Garnier, an ipad 2 keyboard designer

IRC on an Android device

Vidofnir's picture

I use ConnectBot on my Android device. I have a shortcut to my server where irssi is running and ssh keys set up, it also executes 'screen -UD -RR -s irssi'. So I can reach IRC with just one click.
I'm actually very happy with the setup, it is usable and the character size can be adjusted, and it is the exactly same environment as if I'm doing the exactly same way of connecting from my desktop computer :-)


Blade's picture

XMPP is not really a good solution -- it's terrible for mobile devices.

More dropped in to post a pic of something I've been working on for webOS and IRC :)

IRC from Messaging :) will probably only work on 3.0+ though :(

RE: forgetting to re-attach

taborj's picture

RE: forgetting to re-attach your Screen session

I use tmux (very similar), and have this in my .profile:

if [[ -z "$TMUX" ]]; then
tmux att

Basically, when I log in, if a tmux session exists, it will automatically attach to it. Bingo! I never forget to reattach my session.

I think I found this on, and I'm pretty sure there are some for Screen up there as well.

XMPP conferences

Paul Johnson's picture

Seems like the ultimate fix would be to start transitioning to XMPP conferences. Would help if Google Talk more readily supported this natively in their official clients.