January 24, 2017

Advanced IRC with Smuxi


  • October 15, 2010
  • By Joe Brockmeier

If you spend much time with any open source project, you're probably going to be spending time in IRC. If you want to make sure you don't miss a minute of your project's conversations, you'll want to check out Smuxi.

Many users swear by a combination of GNU Screen and irssi for IRC. Fire up a screen session on a server, launch irssi and then connect via SSH and have a persistent IRC session no matter where you go. Great system, except that irssi leaves a bit to be desired in the user friendly department. It's not what one would call intuitive, and many users prefer to spend their time chatting and not hunting down the key combinations to

Smuxi, on the other hand, is very friendly. It's relatively full-featured for users who know their way around IRC, but easy to use for those folks just diving into discussions in IRC. As Smuxi isn't at 1.0 yet, it may be missing some features you want in an IRC client — but I haven't found any major limitations. Most importantly, Smuxi has similar benefits to the Screen/irssi combo, without sacrificing usability. Ready to get Smuxified? Let's go!


Smuxi should be packaged for most major distributions. Do a search for smuxi using apt-cache search smuxi on Ubuntu/Debian and derivatives, yum search smuxi on Fedora, or zypper se smuxi on openSUSE. For openSUSE you'll need to add the Mono:Community repository, as Smuxi doesn't seem to be part of the default repos.

You should see several packages with smuxi in the name. You're going to want (on Ubuntu) smuxi smuxi-frontend-gnome and smuxi-server. The last package can be omitted if you're going to run Smuxi only on a single machine. But if you want to remote host an IRC connection that you can connect to from any machine, you'll need the smuxi-server package.

If you want to use Smuxi on a single computer (no remote server) then just run smuxi-frontend-gnome or start it from the application menu for your desktop. The front-end is designed to fit into the GNOME desktop, but it will work equally well with KDE, Xfce, and other desktops.

To run a client/server setup, Smuxi is a bit — but not much — more complicated to set up. Instead of starting with the front-end, SSH into the machine that will be running the server or just open a terminal window if you're going to run it on the local machine.

You're going to want a username and password for the server. This won't be (or doesn't have to be) the same as your username and password for any IRC networks.

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