Weechat, Irssi's Little Brother

It may not be fair to call Weechat the little brother of Irssi, but in my short introduction to it, that's what it felt like. If Weechat didn't seem quite as powerful as Irssi to me, I definitely can say that it is better-looking out of the box. So, little brother has one thing going for him!

The other day, I was tweeting with Janne Jokitalo about the sorts of things two nerds tweet about: command-line editors and command-line chat clients. I mentioned Irssi in a screen, and he mentioned Weechat. I'm glad he did! Right out of the box, Weechat does some things I've never been able to get Irssi to do well. First off, it has a list of users docked to the right side of the terminal (Figure 1). I always liked that feature in the GUI client X-Chat, but I couldn't get it to work well in Irssi. I also think the look and feel is far more friendly than that of Irssi. Yes, with the help of Kyle Rankin, I've been able to tweak Irssi into the perfect chatting machine, but Weechat seems to have a more gentle learning curve.

Figure 1. The Linux Journal IRC bot works in Weechat, so I was happy.

It supports IRC and Jabber right now, but the Web site claims more protocols are coming. Weechat is probably already in your distro's repository, so install it, and give it a whirl. You'll get all the geek creed of Irssi with some fancy interface additions! Due to its focus on usability and its roots in hard-core nerd-dom on the command line, Weechat is this month's Editors' Choice selection. Check it out at http://www.weechat.org.


Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.


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The best IRC client

Pascal Poitras Dubois's picture

WeeChat is simply awesome. I was an Irssi user and even if it is awesome too, nothing beat WeeChat. Combine it with bitlbee and a bouncer or a terminal multiplexer and you have the perfect mix. Nice post!

The screen is not really user friendly

jotrong's picture

I don't know why, but from your chat screen, I find it boring to do a chat. What is the advantages of this program comparing to Y!M, Skype,...?


Most important is that it

Aditya Raj Bhatt's picture

Most important is that it runs in a console, rather than the applications own window (Skype) or a browser (Google+ Hangouts). If you are asking IRC vs other protocols or "walled gardens", you just have to use it to see what is so appealing. I always find the focus on content better than frills which can be distracting and annoying.

Just use it for a month. Find a channel which corresponds to your interest. Type "/connect freenode"
"/join #channel name"
and look at the conversation going on. You will be addicted in no time. Most important for IRC is its public and open nature in which anyone can join in any conversation, and no chat is private. All people watching that channel see everything anyone writes.


Anonymous's picture

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great review

Anonymous's picture

I have to tell you, this is absolutely one of the worst app reviews I have ever seen. I can't imagine how much time you spent on it, but it couldn't have been more than 10 minutes. I have to wonder how long a "learning curve" is to you, and how much time you actually spent on irssi?

Sad, very sad indeed.