How to use the IRC

  7 years ago

A. Introduction

I.R.C. stands for Internet Relay Chat. It is one of the oldest chat protocols on the Internet and among the most widely used. In Linux Mint you would use the IRC to:

  • Find other users to help you with a problem
  • Help others
  • Chat with other users

On the IRC, you don't just connect to some central server. You join "channels". A channel is like a chatroom... once you've joined the channel you can see who's connected to it, and if anyone talks in the channel it will appear on your screen.

Similarly, when you type and say something, everybody in the channel sees it. 

B. How to connect to the Linux Mint channels

B1. Using Linux Mint

Open the menu and launch "Hexchat". It will connect you automatically and you'll be ready to talk with other people.

If you're using the KDE edition, launch the program called "Quassel".

B2. Using other operating systems

There are many IRC client applications which can connect you to the IRC under Windows, Mac OS and most other operating systems. 

Alternatively you can use a Web-based IRC client such as Mibbit:

  1. Open Firefox and go to
  2. Click on "Server" and fill in the following in the "Server address" field:
  3. Fill in your nickname
  4. Fill in the name of the channel (see section B3 for the names of the channels used by Linux Mint)
  5. Click on the Go button.
  6. When a new tab opens with the name of the channel in the background, click on it.
  7. You're ready to chat.

B3. List of channels and network used by Linux Mint

Linux Mint uses the Spotchat IRC network (On an IRC network each channel has a unique name, so if there was only one IRC network in the World there would only be one #England channel in the world for instance. As you can imagine, there are many.).

The address for this network is:

On this network, the distribution uses the following channel: #linuxmint-help

By default, Hexchat (or Quassel) will join this channel. You're welcome to ask questions about Linux Mint or to seek help from others.

Because Linux Mint is run by many different people, from older to younger people, having very different cultures and sensibilities, it is important that you remain calm, friendly and polite. You should also avoid any sensitive subjects such as religion, sex and politics. And you should avoid any term, insult, word that could hurt the sensibility of others.

C. Netiquette

There's an IRC culture on the Internet so it's important to be aware of certain things:

  • Shouting: Don't use capital letters. This is considered "shouting".
  • Flooding: Don't flood the channel (i.e. don't repeat the same thing more than once, and don't paste multiple lines of text in the channel. If you need to show somebody something that doesn't fit in a single line, use pastebin... see section D on how to use pastebin).
  • Demanding: People on the IRC are users like you, they will help you if they feel like it. Do not demand help, be nice and people will help you.
  • Disappearing: If you ask a question, wait for an answer. Don't just ask a question and go a few minutes later. Some people are connected all day, but that doesn't mean they're in front of their screen or that they're looking at the channel right now. Leave the IRC open in the background and do something else in the meantime. The more you wait the more likely you'll get an answer.
  • Picking: Unless you know someone, don't talk to him/her directly. When asking a question, ask everybody, not someone in particular. That particular person might not have the time to help you and it is considered rude to knock on people's door on the IRC.
  • Cursing: Remember that some users connected to the channel may be young children. Avoid any topics and wording that could hurt their sensibility.

D. Using pastebin to show text to other users

Sometimes you need to show the result of a command or the content of a file to people on the IRC. If you paste the text directly in your IRC client, you're likely to get kicked or banned from the channel for flooding. The solution is to use a pastebin.

A pastebin is a website which allows you to paste text and to show it to other people.

Let's try it:

  1. Open Firefox and go to
  2. Click on the empty text area under the title "Post a new pastebin".
  3. Paste your text in there
  4. Click the submit button
  5. Note that the address of the page has changed to something like
  6. Copy/paste the address in your IRC client
  7. When people click that link they will see the text you pasted.

E. Using imagebin to show images

Sometimes it's pictures you need to show. For instance, an error message, or a screenshot of your desktop.

Note: You can easily take screenshots of your desktop by pressing the Print_Screen key, or screenshots of a particular window by pressing Alt+Print_Screen.

In this case use the following website:

It works the exact same way as a pastebin. Fill in the form to upload your picture, copy the resulting address and paste it in your IRC client for people to click on it.

Sergio_67 1 year ago

Grazie, molto utile.

David2009 1 year ago

D & E are new to me. Thank you for sharing these tools!!

atomlaw 1 year ago

I realise that the chatrooms that have been opened are related to the technical issues of the project. I would like to know if there are any that are related to developing community engagement.

cassepipe 1 year ago

If you are a command line crack, know that you can pipe your file directly to pastebin command and it will give you a link

XP_Studios 3 years ago

also Mint KDE isn't really a thing anymore so maybe update that

Luceman 3 years ago

I learned something new! I will use pastebid from now on!

renato94 4 years ago

Thank you.

Samuelfcampbell 4 years ago

That is what I need to know before I got kicked for a paste longer than three lines! However I was invited to another chat immediately ~ Samuel

panorain 5 years ago

Thank You for the turtorial.

greencedar 5 years ago

Thanks on the tutorial concerning the IRC. It helped answer my questions that I had concerning it.

harmo 5 years ago

helpful info, thank you :)

bLuegLue6705 5 years ago

Very useful Thank you

Benji54 5 years ago

great info thanks

Jadesword 6 years ago

Good tutorial, but it would be better if there was a link to the current list of all Linux IRC Channels.

garwy 6 years ago

Terse, clear, and relevant.
Might have been good to have a link to further learning resources (such as info on /Commands).

rjt69 8 years ago

How to register on spotchat? How is the registration code used?

i typed in " Registration code, please!" and the ircbot returned
"-mintbotd(cinnabot@cinnabot)- Your registration code is "

Does it go in /msg somehow?

(using irssi )

Check6 8 years ago

thank you - update; the IRC for KDE version is called Konversation.

PaulTab 8 years ago

great info thanks

skybai 8 years ago


subho 8 years ago


Yarus-Arsene 9 years ago

very explicit and useful. Thanks Bunch

ajcardiac 9 years ago

Thanks for the information

kyriakos77 9 years ago

Thanks, very helpful.

grandpavangogh 9 years ago

Easy to understand, just what I needed to get a basic understanding of IRC.

PaulTab 9 years ago

Again another thoughtful well written article.

oeel 9 years ago

Thanks! very helpful!

lewyssmith 9 years ago

In the table in B3, please add the channel for LMDE (which is always hidden; you really have to dig to find it).

jfleen 10 years ago

Everyone should read this before using IRC. Good info.

balwantharwadikar 10 years ago

Thanks and very useful,

highwind 10 years ago

Thanks and very useful,
btw, the information of pastbin may need to be updated
on IRC the chanserv recommend now, and It seems that is not available.

blackburnsteven7 10 years ago

Agree Very Useful Thank's i am seeking to learn all i can of the os's operating procedure's

muhlber 10 years ago

Thanks! Very useful!

soloa 10 years ago

This tutorial reminds users how important it is to use good manners on the IRC. Thank you.

rahulrajpl 10 years ago

Dear Author,
How do you quote a person in IRC?

jrgsm70 10 years ago

It's a short tuto but extremely useful.
Now, I got a two different sites:

sujitnag 10 years ago

very helpful tutorial.

gadgetboi 11 years ago

feels like in the 90s era when entering the IRC channel :D

harmored 11 years ago

I'm v. new to this world and will try to be constructive in comments once I am a bit more confident in what i (think i) am doing. Thus far I like Nadia.

DasFox 11 years ago

The IRC needs to be made up of different channels for different languages!

Clem PLEASE have someone do this, it's not fair to have everyone speaking 20 different languages in one channel, it's irritating with all the different languages spewing across the screen with no clue as to what is being spoken.

The forum isn't just in one language neither should IRC...


misailidis 11 years ago

Very helpfull to someone who has never used IRC and very easy to follow
in plain English

terabyte 11 years ago

Very good advice. I've served on buletin-boards as a moderator several times and as an administrator just twice as one who put a buletin board together from the language up. So my comment is qualified retrospectively. terabyte

ewertont 11 years ago

I go use IRC now.

parth 11 years ago

thanks for explining it in this simple way.....great for newbies like me

animaguy 11 years ago

I think it is a good chatroom but i can't find the server freenode. And linux mint 13 comes with XChat by default so I am not sure why you midbit even exists.

It is a good IRC for beginners and I am not trying to complain.

Thinker 11 years ago

Can you also add how to register a nick?

major 12 years ago

Personally I do not recommend using pastebin. use instead

major 12 years ago

Allow me to add an Arabic tutorial to use IRC:

PCSAWICK829 12 years ago

Never used IRC before.. this definitely got me started on the right track. Thanks for the posting & keep up the good work!

jatwood 12 years ago

Thanks for the information, its much appreciated.

sunewbie 12 years ago

very helpful

terabyte 12 years ago

verry good instructions! terabyte

ssstylish 12 years ago

Exellent Beginner level tutorial.
I learned everything i need to know in general about the IRC.
Поздрав :D

Maxdrake 12 years ago


gregzeng 12 years ago

Have been a Linux taster for decades ... but Skype, etc rather than IRC. Now heavily using *untu distros, but IRC is not really a novice-friendly business tool, with shared whiteboards, revisions & transfers of complex files, whilst a team collaborative process is progressing.

Could you help us business (non-coders) types with the better tools, with pointers to more useful software?

Kraft 12 years ago

Good and correct advice.

excentrica 12 years ago

Handy Guide!

Labby 12 years ago

Man, it's been years since I last used IRC. Thanks for the refresher Clem! I just connected and have it running the background.

RavS 12 years ago

Thanks a lot Clem!

treefang 12 years ago

Very helpful.

Chen_q07 12 years ago

Great tutorial. Very helpful to me! Thanks a lot.

SunWukong 13 years ago

Great tutorial. Now IRC chats don't look quite as daunting as they always have.

ArcherSeven 13 years ago

Also good to know, LMDE uses #linuxmint-debian on spotchat.

sayan_acharjee 13 years ago

Gonna use it from now on... :)

orionthehunter 13 years ago

Good links, I didn't know about them.

Tonya 13 years ago

Briefly and detailed = great article! Many thanks!!!

Sol_Badguy 13 years ago

Very useful,thanks! :)

grim 13 years ago

Awesome and useful tutorial, well done good sir! :D

linXea 13 years ago

Respect is the key on IRC.

linXea 13 years ago

Respect is the key on IRC.

Ki3rk3gaard 13 years ago

kool beenz

Heins 13 years ago

Hallo ..und viele Grüsse aus old Germany,
habe linux 10 Rc Version geladen...<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

iceman600 13 years ago

love this tutorial... now i know how to use IRC...

zaenal1234 13 years ago

this tutorial, i like.

jessie0514 13 years ago

Thanks this very nice specially for newbies like me.

titohal 13 years ago

It was useful for me, thanks.

ron_o 13 years ago

This is great and I'll be showing this to more people who come into the channel's above. Not very long ago I've discontinued help because it was an exercise in futility getting that person to simply paste information to a pastebin.

Just let me add two programs that can make getting help easier (after you get to know how to use these):
1. Webboard: A paste application for text
2. Shutter: A screenshot application, image manipulator and uploader
all rolled into one.

It's not a bad idea at all to write what you have tried as a very matter-of-fact way possible. Keep it short but descriptive; bullet style is a great idea. Don't tell a story. Paste that to a pastebin.

1. Version of Mint & Desktop:
2. Experience with linux in months to years:
3. Describe in one sentence what's going on:
4. Describe as briefly as possible in bullet style what was tried.
5. Is there anything you did beforehand that you think caused it.

Paste #3 above to the IRC channel with the URL after you have asked yourself this: Can I make this description any shorter & have I tried the forums or the internet to see if other people have had the same problems?. Many times I've searched for a howto and posted the URL.

Unlikely this technique will happen in most instances but I can dream. :)

fragus 13 years ago

Hum! One can learn new tricks everyday. Thank you for the concise explanation.

Darrel 13 years ago

Short and to the point, without having to wade through, redundant text. Thanks

Melon_Bread 13 years ago

Great Intro To IRC, Thank You!

suman_linuxmint 14 years ago

really best tutorial.. thanks!..

dragonias 14 years ago

Great tutorial, thanks!

peter_h 14 years ago

Thank you for this nice information. Especially the feature of the pastebin is quite new for me. Thank you.

kevr 14 years ago

to be honest here, i've never seen such an in-depth irc guide. i didn't read it, since i'm already familiar -- but nice job.

Rufus 14 years ago

Thanks a lot clem, I didn't knew that this IRC exists.

clem 14 years ago

@deathgasm: lol.. so much for an introduction :) Thanks :))

jkw 14 years ago

"I.R.C. stands for Internet Chat Relay."
*waves with the wizard staff*
"I.R.C. stands for Internet Relay Chat."

clem 14 years ago

@remoulder: Done.

remoulder 14 years ago

Another great tut. Just one thing "see below on how to use pastebin" - below where?