This How-To Wiki page goes along with the Courses/IRC by ElizabethBevilacqua (pleia2) of December of 2006. It uses irssi version 0.8.10-1ubuntu1 in Dapper, Ubuntu version 6.06.

Connecting to the Server and Joining #ubuntu-women

By default, irssi is installed in Ubuntu.

To launch it, open a terminal, type irssi and hit enter.


This will bring you to a pretty empty looking shell of irssi.


This is when you will want to set your nickname.

A nickname is what you will be known by on IRC. Freenode is a very large network and so many of the more common names might be taken, so try to pick something unique. In this example I'm using the first letter of my first name and my last name.

Type: /set nick whatever_nickname_you_want as seen below, then hit enter.


Now that you have setup a nickname, you can connect to a server. You will be connecting to

There are hundreds of popular IRC servers on the internet that you may want to explore someday, but Freenode is where the Ubuntu IRC Channels are all located.

Type: /connect as seen below, then hit enter.


When you connect to a server you will see a lot of text scroll down, this is the "MOTD" (Message Of The Day) which generally tells you things about the server you connected to, gives you links to information about the server, and sometimes details rules and terms of use for connecting to the server.

The only very important thing you look for here is a notice toward the bottom that might say something like this:

Your nick is owned by...


-NickServ(NickServ@services.)- This nickname is owned by someone else

If you have never registered the nickname you are using, this means that someone else uses that nickname - YOU CAN NOT USE IT. Think of a different nickname and type: /nick new_nickname_that_is_more_unique (where new_nickname_that_is_more_unique is your new nickname)


There is no chatting in this "status" window, you now need to join a channel.

Type: /join #ubuntu-women as seen below, then hit enter.


You will now be joined to the IRC channel where you can chat!

Messages you want to send to the channel are typed in the same place you've been typing other commands, as seen below.


When you hit enter, the message is sent to the channel for everyone to see and reply to.


Here my user (ekrumbach) said "Hello!" and a user with the nickname pleia2 said "hey ekrumbach"

When you join a channel, you'll see the list of all the users come up - in this example the users are Chanserv, barkha, joejaxx, etc... The users with the @ symbol next to their nicknames are admins (can remove abusive users and such), users with the + next to their nickname have "voice" which all uses who have registered nicknames get in this channel (this is not true for all channels!).

When you are in a channel you will see two status bars. One at the top which contains the channel "topic" (The topic generally tells you something about the channel you entered), and one at the bottom. The one at the bottom is detailed below:


Note that the "[Act:#]" (active) section will disappear if there are no active windows.

If someone sends you a private message (a message that gets sent directly to you rather than to everyone in the IRC channel), the active section will appear with a number in yellow.

Basic Navigation

To change windows you can do any of the following:

alt number

alt arrow key

ctrl n

/window goto number

Beyond the Basics

This short introduction got you connected to the server and into a channel where you can chat. From here there are hundreds of other things you can do.

Feel free to ask any questions about how to use irssi in the #ubuntu-women channel - we're there to help you get into the FLOSS community! I would encourage you to explore the help menus, check out the settings, and try to figure out how everything works.

Official Irssi Documentation

pleia2's Irssi Basics

Courses/IRC/IrssiHowTo (last edited 2009-12-02 11:13:22 by localhost)