Top 5 IRC Clients Available for Linux Distros

IRC, probably the oldest way of internet communication that’s known to the modern man. I remember my first IRC days back in 2004/2005, it was an exciting time – all the learning that happened, all the hacking and gathering to discuss the newest stuff. Good times.

To this day, IRC has been able to maintain its popularity to some extent, with most open-source software still having a IRC channel of their own, to discuss the latest with the community. When you think about it, what other way would there be to communicate, have 500+ people in a Skype joint? Probably not.

I’ve been an IRC user on and off for many years, and the three of my favorite networks to this day have been Rizon, Freenode and QuakeNet. Although, QN has been at the very bottom of the list for a long time now. What are your favorite IRC networks to visit and idle about?

I’m going to be taking a look at some of the most popular IRC clients for Linux users, because I needed to find a solution myself when switching over to Ubuntu. To this day, I still think that mIRC + NNScript (RIP) on Windows was the best solution ever!

1. XChat

XChat  Multiplatform Chat Program
XChat is my current IRC client on my Linux installation, I’m quite happy with how it is performing, and I think the overall looks of it are very appealing. You can join as many networks and channels as you like, and for those who care – file transfers are also enabled.

While XChat is not that advanced, beginner users might find it more appropriate to install the XChat-GNOME version of the IRC client, which has a much more friendly user interface, and provides a less cluttered learning curve. I’ve linked to the Wiki for you to see images and more info.

2. Irssi

Irssi   The client of the future
Ah, Irssi! This has been acclaimed as one of the greatest IRC clients for the technical Linux user. I remember when it all first began, how the elite would empower themselves – talking down on those using a GUI client.

It’s a text-mode client that works on all major platforms (Cygwin for Windows), and while it might seem difficult to understand at first – it actually offers some really practical functionality and modelling system that you can take to your advantage, and build your own hackers IRC client.

There are a ton of scripts available to make it all easier.

3. Quassel

Blogs   Quassel IRC

Quassel is a program to connect to an IRC network. It has the unique ability to split the graphical component (quasselclient) from the part that handles the IRC connection (quasselcore). This means that you can have a remote core permanently connected to one or more IRC networks and attach a client from wherever you are without moving around any information or settings. However, Quassel can easily behave like any other client by combining them into one binary which is referred to as “Quassel Mono”.


I’ve not have had a lot of experience with Quassel, but during my research a couple of people have been saying that it’s a good alternative, and does the job well. Have you used Quassel, and do you have anything special to say about it? I’d love to add it to this section!

4. KVIrc   The Visual IRC Client
I don’t think anyone should expect that many features from an IRC client, at the end of the day – it all comes down to being able to transmit messages, and see what others are up to. With that in mind, it does help to have extra plugins, tweaks and even styles to play with, and adjust to our own needs.

KVIrc has a great community behind it, it’s a traditional IRC client that has got multiple language packs available, IPv6 and proxy support, and quite a bit of scripting properties – too many to just list here, so check out the website to learn more.

And yeah, there are pre-made themes available – see here, it’s worth doing a Google search for some that are made by the community members themselves.

5. Pidgin

Pidgin  the universal chat client
This is a universal chatting client that works on a lot of different mediums, but does provide support for IRC usage as well, you can log-in into multiple chatting platforms at the same time – giving you the flexibility you need, instead of having to download a new client for each platform.

It does everything that a normal chat client would do, and more! It is also quite known in the industry as the go-to client when it comes to discussing matters over encrypted channels, which can be achieved by the usage of the wide plugin system that Pidgin has.

There are roughly 2-4 million active users of Pidging, so the community support is always available.

What’s Your Favorite IRC Client for Linux?

I think I’ve covered the majority of options out there, most of which are very popular and have communities behind them to support development and general problem solving. What about you, and the IRC client you use on your Linux distribution?