IRC on RPi

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I’m learning how to run IRC on my Raspberry Pi so I can have a distraction in my lab. The setup I’ve got is pretty spartan, but that’s what I was going for on a $35 Linux box running off an 8GB SD card. You can do this too! It’s simple and fun. Why not give it a shot?


  • Raspberry Pi with Raspbian or similar installed
  • Booted into a terminal window
  • With network connectivity

Installing Irssi

Irssi is an IRC client program for Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It was originally written by Timo Sirainen, and released under the terms of the GNU General Public License in January 1999.

To install it on the RPi type the following in the terminal then press Enter:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install irssi # update to ensure freshness

Fire up the client with the irssi command.

Once connected, join a server and a channel to get connected with chat groups organized around various topics of interest. Here’s an Irssi cheat sheet to get you going.

Staying connected

The first thing I noticed using Irssi was I’d have to /exit the Irssi program to get back to my terminal session, causing the IRC connection to drop. To stay connected to IRC while using your RPi you can use a program like tmux or GNU Screen.

To install tmux on the Pi type the following in the terminal then press Enter:

sudo apt-get install tmux -y # use -y to auto-accept any interactive prompts

If you’re running Raspbian on the Pi, you can alternatively switch between terminal windows using Alt and the arrow keys and starting a separate terminal window and session, achieving a similar effect.


This post and the cheat sheet were inspired by Using Raspberry Pi as IRC Client from the IoT Pune Community Blog.

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