From Gentoo Wiki
Jump to:navigation Jump to:search


irssi is a powerful text-mode IRC client for connecting to internet relay chat (IRC) networks. Non-standard features are implemented with perl scripts, rather than in the core. Irssi can range from a functional, no-frills client to a highly-customized and automated client.[1] Irssi can handle multiple IRC connections simultaneously, thus it is possible to be active in channels on different networks at the same time.[2]


USE flags

USE flags for net-irc/irssi A modular textUI IRC client with IPv6 support

otr Adds support for a loadable IRC otr module
perl Add optional support/bindings for the Perl language
proxy Adds support for a loadable IRC proxy module
selinux !!internal use only!! Security Enhanced Linux support, this must be set by the selinux profile or breakage will occur
socks5 Add support for the socks5 proxy


Install net-irc/irssi:

root #emerge --ask net-irc/irssi

To run the program, simply open up a terminal and type irssi. Read the manual man irssi to see all available command-line options. More on using Irssi can be found in the usage section below.


The first time irssi is invoked by a user a configuration file will be created in ~/.irssi/config This can be modified with the /set command while in the client by typing /set option value. Typing /set by itself will display available options and their current values.

For changes to remain persistent over restarts, modify the configuration file found at ~/.irssi/config. See the following example:

FILE ~/.irssi/configExample configuration
settings = {
  core = { real_name = "Larry The Cow"; user_name = "larrytc"; nick = "larry"; };


As mentioned above irssi is started by invoking:

user $irssi

While in the Irssi interface command-line options can be issued in order to have Irssi perform the desired actions.

Connect to a IRC network, here


Set the user name to larry:

/nick larry

Starting irssi using the above options with one command-line invocation:

user $irssi -c -n larry

Optionally certain channels may require registration before speaking is permitted. For these types of channels, register with the service and then login with the chosen nickname and password:

user $irssi 6667 larry:password

Join the #gentoo IRC channel:

/join #gentoo

Leave the #gentoo channel:

/leave #gentoo

Save configured settings:


Quit an Irssi IRC session:

/quit or /exit


screen is a useful tool that allows a user to manipulate multiple windows inside of a single terminal session. Each window operates independently of the others and acts like another terminal.[3]

If irssi is currently open, close it using the /quit command and start screen by typing:

user $screen

This opens a new screen session. To someone who has not used screen before it may appear that invoking the screen command above did nothing. This is not the case; there was something that happened by running screen, using the -list option will show the user that there is now an open screen session:

user $screen -list

Starting irssi inside the screen session will create a helpful use case. Start irssi again inside the screen session:

user $irssi

While inside a screen session special keystrokes are used in order to provide control. Ctrl+a is the keystroke needed to beseech control of screen.

Detaching screen sessions

To detach a screen session press: Ctrl+a then d

Attaching screen sessions

To re-attach to a running screen session type:

user $screen -rd


tmux is another good way to manage irssi sessions. Start a tmux session for irssi by typing:

user $tmux new-session -s irssi

Once inside the tmux session start irssi by typing:

user (tmux session)irssi

Ctrl+b is the keystroke needed to grab control of tmux. To detach the irssi session press Ctrl+b then the d key. If everything went properly the irssi session should detach and the focus returned to the shell prompt.

To re-attach a session use the attach-session -t <session_name> argument (where <session_name> is the name used for the irssi session):

user $tmux attach-session -t irssi

For more information on the details of using tmux see the tmux article.

See also

  • Screen — a program that enables the creation of multiple sessions and virtual terminals within a single terminal.
  • Tmux — a program that enables a number of terminals (or windows), each running a separate program, to be created, accessed, and controlled from a single screen or terminal window.

External resources


  1. Matt Sparks. A Guide to Efficiently Using Irssi and Screen, Matt Sparks, December 19th, 2004. Retrieved on January 10th, 2015.
  2. Matt Sparks. A Guide to Efficiently Using Irssi and Screen, Matt Sparks, December 19th, 2004. Retrieved on January 10th, 2015.
  3. Matt Sparks. A Guide to Efficiently Using Irssi and Screen, Matt Sparks, December 19th, 2004. Retrieved on January 10th, 2015.