IRC for Mac OS X, Simplify with Irssi

Too much time has passed since I made a post, so here is a short one on the best way to use IRC on a Mac: Irssi. This client allows you to use IRC via Terminal and it’s super easy to do. Why install something called IRC Duck or ChatWaffle and bloat your system with more apps? You’re not on an iPhone. Let’s keep something holy.

Irssi is a very configurable client and can be adapted to your needs using a wide variety of Perl scripts. Irssi calls their product “the client of the future” which doesn’t make sense to me, honestly. I just think of them as the client. But their slogan might make sense if you think all of the current application bloat will disappear eventually and everyone will go back to their turtle roots of being happy with shells. So with Irssi the future is constant. You could say the transformation is happening already, albeit very slowly.

Before you go any further with installing, I have to warn you. This is the real way of using IRC. While there are themes available for Irssi, this is still no candy land. If you need happy icons and things to make you feel like you’re “on a computer” then Irssi may not be the way to go. But if you want the real, old-school deal, then let’s get started.

So if you’ve visited this blog before and read my PuTTY on OS X install article, you may be familiar with MacPorts. Assuming you already have MacPorts installed, all you have to do is run this in Terminal:

sudo port install irssi

The compile begins automatically and once it’s complete, naturally you just type irssi and the program begins.

It can be a little confusing at first. When you first start Irssi, it will ask you about your window preferences. You probably don’t need to change anything, just make sure you type this setting though:

/SET autocreate_windows ON

To connect to a server, type this for example:

/join #yourfavoritechannel

You’ll be able to switch windows by typing esc+1 and esc+2.

If you have any questions, leave a comment!



  1. [..if you think all of the current application bloat will disappear eventually and everyone will go back to their turtle roots of being happy with shells.]

    Wow! would you like to marry me? 😉

  2. Sebastian


    sudo port install irssi is does not work on my latest snow leopard installaion!

    Error: The following dependencies failed to build: glib2 openssl
    Error: Status 1 encountered during processing.

    Can you help me out?!


    • LeLutin

      Chances are that you don’t need protection from Hackers (maybe if you push one to troll you) since hackers are only ppl who will push things to the limit and try to discover what they can do with devices that wasn’t intended in the design.

      In terms of IRC you probably want to use an SSL connection to avoid snooping on your discussions.

      Other than that keeping irssi to the latest version so that you can get security fixes. And maybe registering your nick with your preferred network’s NickServ.

      but don’t be afraid, ppl won’t destroy anything on your computer just because you’re using IRC.

  3. Harry Pujols

    I installed irssi using Homebrew. That make fix some of the security concerns, and no need to use sudo.

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