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irssi is a small command line IRC client based on ncurses. It's a great thing to use when you SSH into a server, or just simply for your main IRC client.


The install of irssi is pretty straight forward. There are not many USE flags, but one that is worth looking at is the SSL flag. This enables you to use SSL when connecting to servers.

root # echo "net-irc/irssi ssl" >> /etc/portage/package.use
root # emerge irssi

Using irssi

Using irssi initially can be a little intimidating if you're not used to command line programs. To first start irssi, you just simply run:

user $ irssi

There are flags you can pass to the command line while starting irssi, such as:

user $ irssi -n mynick -c

This would connect you to Freenode with the nick 'mynick'. Or alternatively you can just run the irssi command and connect via SSL if you need to:

/connect -ssl

This will automatically connect you over port 6697.

When you have connected to the server of your choice, you can join a channel simply by:

/j #funtoo

If you want to leave any channel you've entered you can use the part command:

/part #funtoo reasons...

There are a few ways of navigating through your channels, you can use alt+{1-9}{q-p}, or alternatively you can use the window command that is in irssi:

/window 1
/window 2
/window 3

For as many channels you are apart of.

When you're ready to leave, you can simply type in:


Which will close out connections to the IRC networks you've joined, and take you back to your console window.

Themes and scripts


There are a few things you can do to make irssi look a little bit better and add some cool features. There are a few plugins that are pretty useful, such as which is a script that utilizes libnotify to send you popup notifications for when your nick is pinged or you are sent a private message. (perl source code) -
# todo: grap topic changes

use strict;
use vars qw($VERSION %IRSSI);

use Irssi;
$VERSION = '0.0.3';
%IRSSI = (
	authors     => 'Thorsten Leemhuis',
	contact     => '',
	name        => 'fnotify',
	description => 'Write a notification to a file that shows who is talking to you in which channel.',
	url         => '',
	license     => 'GNU General Public License',
	changed     => '$Date: 2007-01-13 12:00:00 +0100 (Sat, 13 Jan 2007) $'

# In parts based on 0.1.1 by Hugo Haas
# which is based on 0.3.3 by Jeroen Coekaerts, Koenraad Heijlen
# Other parts based on from Luke Macken

# Private message parsing

sub priv_msg {
	my ($server,$msg,$nick,$address,$target) = @_;
	filewrite($nick." " .$msg );

# Printing hilight's

sub hilight {
    my ($dest, $text, $stripped) = @_;
    if ($dest->{level} & MSGLEVEL_HILIGHT) {
	filewrite($dest->{target}. " " .$stripped );

# The actual printing

sub filewrite {
	my ($text) = @_;
	# FIXME: there is probably a better way to get the irssi-dir...
	print FILE $text . "\n";
        close (FILE);

Irssi::signal_add_last("message private", "priv_msg");
Irssi::signal_add_last("print text", "hilight");

#- end

Another very useful script is for colored nicks, to better tell people apart. Which can be found at irssi scripts called

When you have the scripts you would like you would put them into ~/.irssi/scripts and set a link to ~/.irssi/scripts/autorun.

user $ wget -O ~/.irssi/scripts/
user $ cd ~/.irssi/scripts/autorun
user $ ln -s ~/.irssi/scripts/ .
user $ ln -s ~/.irssi/scripts/ .

You can do this for as many scripts as you've chosen to use. They will automatically load when you start irssi. You can also manually load scripts:

/load ~/.irssi/scripts/
Irssi: Loaded script fnotify

Whichever works best for you is what you should do.


You can choose from many themes on the irssi themes page if you don't like the default look of it. Once you've chosen the theme you like, you can simply put it in your ~/.irssi/ directory and when you start irssi simply run:

/set theme mycooltheme

And there you have it, the theme you have chosen is now there.


~/.irssi/startup can contain commands to be automatically run upon start. Omit starting / and only have one command per line.



Irssi's proxy feature does not support ssl out of the box for clients behind irssi. Irssi must be patched, or put behind stunnel/nginx for this functionality. znc, or net-irc/weechat are better choices for irc relay/bouncer/proxy connectivity.


To have irssi serve irc to clients:

/server add -auto freenode 6667

reload irssi, then load the proxy

/LOAD proxy
/SET irssiproxy_password <password> 
/SET irssiproxy_ports freenode=12345

Irssi Proxy Server Clients

Set clients such as hexchat to connect to localhost:12345 as if it is an irc network. Set the password field in hexchats connection dialog to enter the above password as if you were sending freenode your password.

External Resources

Further documentation