Experimental IRC client, daemon and bot
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6.6 KiB


The unethical IRC trinity. This project consists of an experimental IRC client, daemon, and bot. It’s all you’re ever going to need for chatting, as long as you can make do with minimalist software.

All of them have these potentially interesting properties:

  • full IPv6 support

  • TLS support, including client certificates

  • lean on dependencies (with the exception of degesch)

  • compact and arguably easy to hack on

  • permissive license


The IRC client. It is largely defined by being built on top of GNU Readline that has been hacked to death. Its interface should feel somewhat familiar for weechat or irssi users.

This is the largest application within the project. It has most of the stuff you’d expect of an IRC client, such as being able to set up multiple servers, a powerful configuration system, integrated help, text formatting, CTCP queries, automatic splitting of overlong messages, autocomplete, logging to file, auto-away, command aliases and basic support for Lua scripting.


The IRC daemon. It is designed to be used as a regular user application rather than a system-wide daemon. If all you want is a decent, minimal IRCd for testing purposes or a small network of respectful users (or bots), this one will do it just fine.

Notable features:

  • TLS autodetection (why doesn’t everyone have this?), using secure defaults

  • IRCop authentication via TLS client certificates

  • epoll/kqueue support; this means that it should be able to handle quite a number of concurrent user connections

  • partial IRCv3 support

Not supported:

  • server linking (which also means no services); I consider existing protocols for this purpose ugly and tricky to implement correctly; I’ve also found no use for this feature yet

  • online changes to configuration; the configuration system from degesch could be used to implement this feature if needed

  • limits of almost any kind, just connections and mode +l


The IRC bot. It builds upon the concept of my other VitaminA IRC bot. The main characteristic of these two bots is that they run plugins as coprocesses, which allows for enhanced reliability and programming language freedom.

While originally intended to be a simple rewrite of the original AWK bot in C, it fairly quickly became a playground, and it eventually got me into writing the rest of the package.

It survives crashes, server disconnects and timeouts, and also has native SOCKS support (even though socksify can add that easily to any program).


Regular releases are sporadic. git master should be stable enough. You can get a package with the latest development version from Archlinux’s AUR, or from openSUSE Build Service for the rest of mainstream distributions. Consult the list of repositories and their respective links at:


Build dependencies: CMake, pkg-config, help2man, awk, sh, liberty (included)
Runtime dependencies: openssl
Additionally for degesch: curses, libffi, lua >= 5.3 (optional), readline >= 6.0 or libedit >= 2013-07-12

$ git clone --recursive https://github.com/pjanouch/uirc3.git
$ mkdir uirc3/build
$ cd uirc3/build
$ make

To install the application, you can do either the usual:

# make install

Or you can try telling CMake to make a package for you. For Debian it is:

$ cpack -G DEB
# dpkg -i uirc3-*.deb


degesch has in-program configuration. Just run it and read the instructions.

For the rest you might want to generate a configuration file:

$ zyklonb --write-default-config
$ kike --write-default-config

After making any necessary edits to the file (there are comments to aid you in doing that), simply run the appropriate program with no arguments:

$ zyklonb
$ kike

ZyklonB stays running in the foreground, therefore I recommend launching it inside a Screen or tmux session.

kike, on the other hand, immediately forks into the background. Use the PID file or something like killall if you want to terminate it. You can run it as a forking type systemd user service.

Client Certificates

kike uses SHA1 fingerprints of TLS client certificates to authenticate users. To get the fingerprint from a certificate file in the required form, use:

$ openssl x509 -in public.pem -outform DER | sha1sum

Custom Key Bindings in degesch

The default and preferred frontend used in degesch is GNU Readline. This means that you can change your bindings by editing ~/.inputrc. For example: …​. # Preload with system-wide settings $include /etc/inputrc

# Make M-left and M-right reorder buffers $if degesch "\e\e[C": move-buffer-right "\e\e[D": move-buffer-left $endif …​. Consult the source code and the GNU Readline manual for a list of available functions. Also refer to the latter for the exact syntax of this file. Beware that you can easily break the program if you’re not careful.

Configuration profiles

Even though the applications don’t directly support configuration profiles, they conform to the XDG standard, and thus you can change the location they load configuration from via XDG_CONFIG_HOME (normally ~/.config) and the location where store their data via XDG_DATA_HOME (normally ~/.local/share).

It would be relatively easy to make the applications assume whatever name you run them under (for example by using symbolic links), and load different configurations accordingly, but I consider it rather messy and unnecessary.

Contributing and Support

Use this project’s GitHub to report any bugs, request features, or submit pull requests. If you want to discuss this project, or maybe just hang out with the developer, feel free to join me at irc://irc.janouch.name, channel #dev.


I am not an antisemitist, I’m just being an offensive asshole with the naming. And no, I’m not going to change the names.


uirc3 is written by Přemysl Janouch <p.janouch@gmail.com>.

You may use the software under the terms of the ISC license, the text of which is included within the package, or, at your option, you may relicense the work under the MIT or the Modified BSD License, as listed at the following site:

Note that degesch technically becomes GPL-licensed when you compile it against GNU Readline, but that is not a concern of this source package.