I'm looking to chat to people about Ubuntu, and I don't think Ask Ubuntu is the right place, as I don't have specific questions to be answered. I've been told that I could join the IRC channel for Ubuntu.

How do I do that? What should I expect from Ubuntu's IRC channel?

1 Answer 1


Probably the easiest way to join Ubuntu's IRC channel and start chatting is to use the webchat.

Just click on this link: https://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=ubuntu

To log in, follow these steps:

  1. Enter a nickname of your choice. For example, UbuntuFan.
  2. Enter the channel you wish to join on Freenode, in this case #ubuntu. A channel is another name for a chatroom.
  3. Keep the Auth checkbox unticked, unless you have a registered account with Freenode.
  4. Enter the letters you see in the reCAPTCHA image.
  5. Click connect.

Screenshot of login screen

Once you've connected, you'll see a few status messages scroll by. Just wait a few seconds, and you'll be added to the #ubuntu channel.

Screenshot of #ubuntu channel

  1. The tabs on the top indicate channels you've joined. This should be just the status tab and the #ubuntu channel.
  2. Underneath that is the description of the current channel you're in. If it's your first time, you probably will want to read the links included.
  3. The main section of the window contains the messages people have sent. Each message begins with the time it was sent...
  4. ... followed by the username of the user who sent it ...
  5. ... followed by their message. If a user is specifically talking to another user, they'll begin their message with that username. The targeted user's chat client will highlight messages that include their username in a special colour.
  6. The list of all users in the current channel is on the right. If you want to have a one-on-one conversation with a particular user, click on their name and then click "query", or type "/query USERNAME".
  7. Type your messages in the text field at the bottom.

The #ubuntu channel typically has over a hundred participants, so it might feel a bit overcrowded at first. My recommendation is to just dive in. You'll pick it up as you go.

If you don't like webchat, there are graphical applications for IRC on Ubuntu, Windows, OS X and almost any other operating system. On Ubuntu, I recommend xchat Install xchat. Just join the #ubuntu channel on freenode.net and you're off!

  • @user68186 You may want to post a separate answer about using Empathy for this. Jan 23, 2013 at 14:41
  • Thanks @EliahKagan. Since I don't use IRC much, I am not the right person. I am not at my Ubuntu box now, so can't post screenshots. May be later. :)
    – user68186
    Jan 23, 2013 at 14:46

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