What programs can be used for IRC (=Internet Relay Chat)?


13 Answers 13


XChat Install Xchat

XChat is a graphical IRC Client with a GTK+ GUI. It has a look and feel similar to AmIRC for the Amiga. Special features include the mIRC extension DCC RESUME and mIRC color, multiple server/channel windows, dialog windows, and a plugin API.

It does pretty much everything you could want an IRC client to do.


  • 7
    Notice: XChat is discontinued. Latest update is 6 years old. Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 13:37


XChat-Gnome is very similar to XChat however it aims to have a more friendlier user interface and integrate better with your desktop. I find for starting out on IRC its much easier to get the hang off

sudo apt-get install xchat-gnome xchat-gnome-indicator




IRSSI is the way to go: http://www.irssi.org/

It was even in the TV show 'Numbers'; check out the video on the Irssi homepage. (P.S. That was supposed to be funny)

  • WeeChat (sudo apt-get install weechat) is nice as well for chatting in the terminal. It allows things like using Tor for one connection and no proxy for another. Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 2:00


Installed by default in Ubuntu. It really serves as a very easy to use IRC client. Don't expect very advanced features though ;)

  • 1
    I think Empathy is OK. You can't expect many features on IRC.
    – DrKenobi
    Commented Oct 17, 2010 at 23:16
  • it's ugly. Don't really know why it's the default since there must be some work to integrate it. Commented Dec 28, 2011 at 17:38
  • I have to uninstall Empathy because if you connect to more than a few channels it starts to lag - and if you leave it a while it's a real memory hog!
    – Greg
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 12:16
  • Been trying for about a quarter of an hour now to use it as an IRC client on freenode. Found out that it doesn't support nickname registration! Can't chat! That's annoying!!
    – 842Mono
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 17:52

Quassel is another IRC client for Ubuntu and Debian based Linux distributions. It has a Qt interface. Its main feature is to be distributed, it means that you run a quassel "headless" in a server that has a permanent connection, and your desktop/mobile client connects to that server. Quassel is your best friend if you need to be always connected to IRC whenever you are!

  • 1
    if you don't want to use irssi Quassel is great. I can run headless, and do a server/client setup where you just "connect" to your irc session that was running in your remote machine, or headless
    – csgeek
    Commented Oct 18, 2010 at 16:56

Smuxi is a nice GNOME IRC client, which features indicator support like xchat-gnome, and can be run in a client/server arrangement where the server is always connected to IRC, much like irssi+screen.


I'm very happy with my own irc-client called "f-irc" (f-irc website).

Wrote it 7 years ago (note that I've been adding features and fixing bugs like a mad men for the last 2 weeks) and it totally suits my own needs. Navigation is somewhat different than most other clients but it is consistent and also usable when you decide not to learn all those keyboard shortcuts by heart.

For fun and kicks I added a word cloud so that you can easily what happened for the last 5 minutes (which is its (configurable) refresh interval).

website: http://www.vanheusden.com/f-irc/



There is also Konversation from the KDE libraries. Available in the main repository like most of these.



I am surprised that no one suggested "Pidgin" - http://www.pidgin.im/download/ubuntu/

sudo apt install pidgin

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KVIrc is one of the best as for me. Well configurable, tons of themes, strong community.


sudo apt-get install kvirc


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  • I got this one with your suggestion and like it.
    – JGallardo
    Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 6:31

I use Opera browser's built-in chat client. During Ubuntu Openweeks I just have to click the link to the classroom that is present on the openweek wiki page and the chat window opens in another tab.


If you're looking for something dead simple, I'm becoming a fan of LostIRC.


I use Firefox browser or Empathy

  • 2
    Firefox is usually seen as a web browser rather than an IRC client...?
    – 8128
    Commented Oct 18, 2010 at 17:10
  • 2
    I suppose he means the ChatZilla plugin for Firefox.
    – RobinJ
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 12:58

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