Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a form of real-time Internet chat. It is mainly designed for group (many-to-many) communication in discussion forums called channels, but also allows one-to-one communication via private message. On IRC you can talk to many other members using Ubuntu, on topics ranging from idle chit-chat to support with your Ubuntu. Though a channel might have many people in it at any one time, they might not always be at their keyboard; so if no-one responds, just wait around and someone will hopefully answer soon enough.
When participating in Ubuntu IRC channels, please abide by the Code of Conduct and channel guidelines.
The following is just a list of programs that you can use to enter the Ubuntu channels listed below.
Ubuntu, Xubuntu (GTK+)
Empathy - Default instant messaging software on Ubuntu since Karmic.
Smuxi (Website) - A cross-platform and user-friendly IRC client for GNOME.
Pidgin - Popular instant messaging software that also supports IRC.
XChat - GUI based IRC client.
HexChat (Website) The fully open source successor to XChat. Particularly good in terms of bugfixes, but there are some new features too.
LostIRC - A simple GTK IRC client.
Loqui - Another GTK client, with a range of features intermediate between XChat's and LostIRC's.
Kubuntu, Lubuntu (Qt)
Kubuntu comes with Konversation, which is also pre-configured for the Kubuntu help channels, Lubuntu comes with Quassel, which is also pre-configured for the Lubuntu help channels.
Quassel (Website) - KDE/Qt5 based, IRC client. Doesn't require the KDE libraries so it can be installed with a minimal download size on a non-Qt based system. Though not marked as version 1.0, it is very rich in terms of features.
Konversation (Website) - KDE GUI based IRC client. Aims for a simple, intuitive and more IM-like user interface and succeeds to this end. However, it also has several features for more advanced IRC users.
KVIrc (Website) - a powerful Qt GUI client though it is less KDE-integrated.
Irssi - Popular command line/text based IRC client.
WeeChat (Website) - A newer, but also popular command line/text based IRC client. Much more actively-developed than Irssi at the moment.
ERC (Emacs Wiki) - an IRC client for the Emacs editor.
Other operating systems
Free or shareware IRC clients are available for most systems.
For those users who would rather not search for and install an IRC client on their system, several websites exist that allow accessing IRC from a web browser:
These services are neither maintained nor endorsed by Ubuntu or Canonical.
There are many real-time discussion channels for the Ubuntu community. A list of the channels, a brief description, and the channels contact is available on the Channel List page. The contact person mentioned in the list is the contact person for channel issues. For general support questions, please ask your question in the appropriate channel.
The logging bot is ubuntulog. It maintains a log for both the main channels and LoCo channels. If you are interested in having ubuntulog in your channel, please contact <rt AT NO SPAM ubuntu DOT com>. The channel logs from this bot can be found online at:
Please be aware that when you are on IRC you may be logged by bots or people other than these, sometimes without permission of channel operators. Please keep in mind that you are in a public place and even if it is not said explicitly others may be logging their conversations which include yours. The content of all Ubuntu channels, whether official logs or otherwise, are considered to be in the public domain.
This bot sits in a channel and provides various types of information upon command.
It contains the facts database and is active in #ubuntu, #kubuntu, #kubuntu-devel, and many others. See Ubottu Usage for details on how to operate the bot. In #ubuntu-desktop, -devel, -bugs, -motu, -offtopic, #kubuntu-devel, #bzr and #launchpad, ubottu also listens for Launchpad/Malone/debbugs URLs and bug numbers and will give information about the requested bugs. In #ubuntu-offtopic a few fun-features are enabled as well.
If you intend to use the IRC service on a continued basis, you are advised to register an account. That will give you a unique IRC identity, and will also allow you to access channels where unregistered users have been locked out for technical reasons.
Ubuntu members can get an Ubuntu hostname cloak, indicating their affiliation, and disguising their public IP address. See https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-irc-cloaks for information about obtaining one.
IRC operators can help you if there is a problem or disturbance in the channel. In most channels, saying « !ops » will alert operators, but this should only be done in response to serious channel emergencies. Channel operators and the IRC Team can be contacted in #ubuntu-irc for general enquiries.