XChat is a graphical IRC Client with a GTK+ GUI. It has a look and feel like AmIRC for the Amiga. Special features include the mIRC extension DCC RESUME and mIRC color, multiple server/channel windows, dialog windows, and a plugin API.
XChat is hands-down the most enjoyable IRC client I have ever used. It handles all the typical tasks one expects from an IRC client: managing networks and channels, identification with services, reconnecting if a connection is lost, ignoring annoying folks, typo correction, and more. Of course, like any other software I talk about, XChat is free.1
Not only do these languages have an impressive depth of documentation available, they have established communities, best practices, and support networks. Take Perl, as the prime example here: Whatever you need to do, chances are strong that there’s a module (or example code) in CPAN somewhere. That’s a library of over 18,000 bits of code, most of which are available for reuse.
For Ubuntu users, there are some convenient plugins to consider in the Universe repository (one-click install links are available below), including improved integration with the new messaging menu in Lucid Lynx, conversation-level security, and an easy way to report hardware specifications (very useful for troubleshooting).
One point of contention I have with XChat is the inability to arrange windows-within-windows, mIRC-style. I think that might have something to do with interface guidelines, but I’m not sure.
I have also drawn further one-sided comparisons to mIRC in “Why use XChat over mIRC“.
- XChat for Ubuntu (One-Click Install requires 7.10+) & Plugin Bundle (Message Indicator Support, Off-the-Record Messaging, and the X-Sys System Information Plugin)
- XChat for Other Linux Distributions (RPM)
- XChat for Windows (Installer)
- The “official” Windows build is a 30-day Trial, but the unofficial build I linked to is completely free, no catches. [↩]