GNU/ Linux Tools: Getting Started With IRC Using ircII

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There are a bunch of IRC clients for Linux, but one of the oldest is ircII. You can find ircII, or just irc, on just about any version of Linux. To start irc, just type this in a terminal window:

irc BobFromAccounting

And the irc client should launch. If you get an error message, then it probably isn't installed. To install irc in ubuntu, type this:

sudo apt-get install ircii

Now irc should launch. Again, issue the command:

irc BobFromAccounting

And this time you should be logged into the server, and your nickname, or nick, is BobFromAccounting.

Now that you are in, it's time to join a server. Type this:

/join #ubuntu

and you should join the ubuntu channel. Soon you'll start seeing messages at the bottom of the irc window. You can watch the conversation in real time.

To post a message to the conversation, simply type something and press enter. Don't feel bad if you don't get an immediate response. Imagine walking into a crowded room of computer nerds, none of whom know you, and you ask a question unrelated to the current conversation. You may not get a reply.

A quick, newbie friendly way to search for other channels, is to go to the searchirc website, where you can find a ton of other irc channels to investigate. A lot of the channels are computer specific, but there are many other channels in the sports, fitness, games, etc., categories. There's even a channel for American football fans called #nfl.

To find the list of available channels the nerdy way, then type:


in your terminal window. A long list of channels will start scrolling down. After a short load time, you should be able to see all available channels in the server. You can then scroll back up to view all of the channels. Remember, to join a new channel, simply type:

/join #channelname

where channelname is the name of your new channel. So to join the #edubuntu channel, you would type:

/join #edubuntu

Note to would-be power users: you can join a chat with the join shortcut like this:

/j #edubuntu

If you are hopelessly stuck, jump onto the internet and google ircII tutorial. You can also get help within irc by typing this command:


The help command will give you a list of currently available commands you can use.

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