BitlBee brings IM (instant messaging) to IRC clients. It’s a great solution
for people who have an IRC client running all the time and don’t want to run
an additional MSN/AIM/whatever client.

BitlBee currently supports the following IM networks/protocols: XMPP/Jabber
(including Google Talk), MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM and ICQ.


Installing should be pretty straight
forward just use your usual method of installing apps i.e. yum install, apt-get
install etc etc. Now I may be blind but it took me a while to track down how you
start the stupid thing, don’t do as I did and try and be clever using the root
user to start Bitlbee it’ll slap you across the wrist anyway “BitlBee
is running with root privileges. Why?
” Here’s what you have to do.

Pre Configuration

1st find /etc/xinetd.d/bitlbee you need to
change the line disable = yes to disable = no

“Coz it’s disabled by default in’t it” Doh!

2nd Now find /etc/hosts.allow and add bitlbee: to it.

3rd Now do /etc/init.d/xinetd restart (You may have to modify this for your specific systems e.g. in ArchLinux it is /etc/rc.d/xinetd start.

OK so now we go to irssi and we type;

/connect cross our fingers and hit enter

Usage setup

Two users will always be there, you (where “you” is the nickname you are using) and the system user, root.

OK so within bitlbee let’s set up some of the important bits.

It’s important to ‘register’ so that all your IM settings (passwords, contacts, etc) can be saved on the BitlBee server. Make sure you pick a good strong password:

register (yourpassword) no brackets

Now lets set up our connection to google talk (Apart from IRC it’s the only other account I have at the minute) so do;

account add jabber mypasswd

Good that should be listed as account 0 and will hopefully have imported all your contacts if not don’t worry you can add them manually;

add 0

This will add the contact ‘username’ to your account 0 list Bitlbee will automatically name it probably the username you can change that to something more to your liking with rename e.g.

rename username user

The nick will now be displayed as user; you cannot talk to anyone until you have added them to your account so make sure you add some as soon as possible

Check out some of the documentation on


IRSSI Scrapbook

Connecting to a server

then /join

BitlBee (Your own Server)

Connecting to Google Talk

account add
jabber mypasswd

BitlBee (Hosted Server)

/server add -auto
-network IRCnet 6667