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XChat: Excellent IRC Client

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Scott M. Morris

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Posted: 13 Oct 2005

Applies to:

  • SUSE Linux
  • Novell Linux Desktop 9
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9

In recent weeks, I have published a few articles outlining some ways to get help when you run into problems on your system. I mentioned message forums and mailing lists. However, there is another great way to get even more immediate help. You can usually find an IRC channel. IRC is an acronym meaning Internet Relay Chat. If you can find an IRC channel that addresses the software giving you trouble, you may be able to get help there. I'd like to show a great irc client that can be used to connect into these channels. It is called xchat.

First, let's make sure you have it installed. Open up YAST and search for the package called xchat. When it comes up in the right pane, tick the checkbox next to it. Then, click ACCEPT:

Note for users of SUSE Linux, SUSE Linux Professional, or openSUSE: If you search for this package and it does not show up, you may want to enter some additional installation sources into YAST. A list of installation sources is available here, and an article on how to use them can be found here. Be advised: These installation sources will not work for Novell Linux Desktop or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Now, let's run xchat. Click on the K Menu, then INTERNET, then CHAT, and finally XCHAT:

You will see the initial Xchat window appear:

For this demonstration, we are going to connect to a SUSE IRC channel. First, fill in the identification fields. Then select a server from the list at the bottom. We are going to use FREENODE. Finally, click CONNECT:

Xchat then connects to the server, in this case, FREENODE:

We are now connected to the IRC server, but are not in any channel. To find a channel, go to the WINDOW menu, and select CHANNEL LIST:

A window appears. In the REGEX MATCH box, type suse and then click the REFRESH THE LIST button down in the lower left corner of this window. You will see several channels appear that are related to SUSE:

The channel I'm looking for is #suse. So, I'll double-click that channel name. I see in my main window that I've entered the channel:

As IRC is a bit complex and slightly off-topic to explain here, there are many tutorials available to get you up to speed. This article is more geared towards highlighting Xchat than explaining the ins and outs of IRC.

Xchat is a great application to fill your IRC needs. If you're in the market for a nice IRC client, try out Xchat.

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