Irssi, Irssi Proxy and Bitlbee

Quick summary: How to make communications as convenient yet convoluted as possible.

In my seemingly endless desire to play with changing the way I do things, I have modified the way I use instant messaging. While at work I am constantly connected to IRC in order to keep up (in realtime!) with things going on in the real world. Yesterday we were comparing the benefits of irc and xmpp trying to determine which technology is cooler. One of the nice things most Jabber servers have going for them is the ability to connect to other networks (AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, etc). As I normally have two clients open for this very reason (xchat-gnome for irc and pidgin for regular IM) I decided it was time to try out BitlBee. BitlBee is basically a lightweight service that creates an IRC interface to various IM networks (including all of the examples above).

Setting up BitlBee (at least in my case) on Ubuntu was absurdly simple.

  1. Install BitlBee
  2. Start the service (sudo /etc/init.d/bitlbee start)
  3. Connect your irc client to localhost port 6667
  4. Type help quickstart and follow along

The way I handle IRC is a bit more complex than many people, so I had a few additional steps. I use irssi and irssiproxy running in screen to stay connected 24/7 (or close enough). The only extra thing you need to do to make that work is add a port to irssiproxy_ports for your bitlbee network.

Author: Brian

Application Developer at the University of Iowa. Works mostly with PHP/Oracle, but doesn't like the Oracle bits. Also an avid gamer and tinkerer.