IRC is an ancient, tried-and-true one-to-many chat protocol. Pidgin is a feature-rich instant messaging client that can handle many protocols, including IRC. Pidgin runs on many different platforms, including the three most popular ones. Pidgin integrates nicely with the desktop.
Here’s how to set up a Freenode IRC account in Pidgin:
- Open Pidgin; click
Accounts -> Add/Edit.
- Click the
- Change the protocol to
chat.freenode.netas the server.
- If you have a Screen name (called a “nick” or “nickname” in IRC parlance), type it (e.g.
MrOpenSource) in the
Screen namefield. If you don’t own one yet, make one up.
- Click on the
Advancedtab, and fill in the
Now, register your nickname. This helps people recognize you, protects your identity, and allows you to send private messages.
- Click on
New Instant Message.
- Fill in
Accountto the Freenode account you just created, and click
Ok. Now you can “talk” with the
- The first message you send should be
register PASSWORD EMAIL(where
PASSWORDis one of your choosing, and
- Next, set an email address. This will give you a way to reset your password later should there be a need. Send
set hide email onto
- Next message should be
set email ADDRESS(where
ADDRESSis your email address)
One problem sometimes occurs when you have connection problems. You may be disconnected from the internet and the IRC server may not realize you’ve dropped off. When you reconnect, you may see what appears to be two of your username in the channel with slightly different names. Like:
help release to
NickServ will tell you how to release the original, correct nickname.
Further instructions can be found here or by saying
help to NickServ. Commands like
/msg NickServ help do work in Pidgin.
This guide was heavily inspired by the following article on freesoftwaremagazine.com.
One more final tip: enable the “Join/Part Hiding” plugin to supress the many “so-and-so joined the room, so-and-so left” messages that will likely show up in the channel.