Man, I must be a real late bloomer when it comes to IRC: I just started using it a few weeks ago. Heck, that’s when I also noticed it was born almost exactly the same time as me! Time’s a funny thing.
Yeah, it’s kind of relieving to see how important such an old invention can still be for some people, even today. Many software developers and FLOSS communities nest their interactive help centers and “customer services” somewhere in the jungle of those IRC networks. And that’s great! People get the answers and the IRC culture lives on! It’s a win-win. Not to mention I have yet to see a single advertisement on an IRC network as opposed to F***book and the likes!
So, how do I get there, you ask. It’s trivial. Get yourself an IRC client, find a server on your intended network and off you go! I personally prefer “The Client of the Future”, Irssi as my client software: it’s simple, it’s robust, it’s FLOSS and it’s Finnish! As for the networks, most of that software related stuff is located on Freenode. Find your server here!
But then there’s Wi-Fi. In the beginning, I had some great trouble staying connected to the network, as my wireless would arbitrarily disconnect every now and then (it started to get worse when I connected a new hybrid tablet running W8.1 on the network, if you know something about this, please share your information). As I didn’t really feel like mounting network cables all over the place, I decided I just put the IRC client running on my Raspberry Pi, which was already wired to my router.
Here comes the awesomeness! Of course you know how to connect to a RasPi, don’t you? SSH. You sneak in, fire up the Irssi client and there you are! Then you start wondering. How to keep the client running after you disconnect the SSH? Screen.
GNU Screen is a terminal multiplexer which can run processes in such a way it’s possible to detach from them without killing them. Yes, of course you can re-attach yourself to the processes as well! So you start a new screen with
screen -R irssi irssi
which creates a screen called “irssi” and runs “irssi” inside it. At this point you would do all the configurations to your IRC client such as autoconnects, autojoins and identification stuff. Then you chat for a while, and a while, and yet for a little while. Then your Wi-Fi says “ERRRRR…..” and you get dropped off. No problem! As soon as you get your wireless back, you SSH into the RasPi and restore your screen session with
It’s all there! Another great thing about screen is the ability to connect multiple terminals to a single screen session: you can do this by adding the -x option when you re-attach! When you’ve had enough chatting, detach from the screen session with CTRL-A + CTRL-D and close your SSH. The chats won’t go anywhere!
Last off, open up a NAT/PAT port on your home router and you have access to your IRC session at all times! Well, it sure is a little annoying using CLI programs on a smartphone, but you still can get your messages on the go and never miss a thing!