9 Best Free and Open Source Linux Graphical IRC Clients

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a form of real-time Internet text messaging (chat) or synchronous conferencing. IRC was born during summer 1988 when Jarkko Oikarinen wrote the first IRC client and server when he was working in the Department of Information Processing Science at the University of Oulu, Finland. This system enables millions of people around the world to communicate in real time. While IRC has lost some popularity, IRCv3 looks interesting with some advanced client features such as instant notifications, improved security and more.

IRC is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums, called channels, but it also allows one-to-one communication via private message as well as chat and data transfers via Direct Client-to-Client.

IRC is used for many different purposes such as obtaining technical support from developers and users, for conducting meetings and even for rolegaming.

Users typically connect to an IRC network using an IRC client. The client takes the raw IRC traffic and turns it into an easy-to-use interface.

Although the IRC protocol does not provide any file transfer mechanisms, users can create file servers that allow them to share files with each other by using customised IRC bots or scripts for their IRC client.

IRC is a good way of engaging with the Linux community. Being able to tap into the wealth of knowledge of individuals logged into IRC enables users to engage directly with developers and other users of distributions and applications. IRC is not just limited to obtaining and giving technical support to others; it can be used for many other activities.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled an updated list of 9 praiseworthy graphical IRC clients. Our findings are captured in the ratings chart below in the classic LinuxLinks-style.

Ratings chart for the best free and open source graphical IRC clients

Let’s explore the 9 graphical IRC clients. Click the links in the table below to learn all about each client.

IRC Clients
HexChatMulti-network IRC client based on XChat
Quassel IRCDistributed, KDE4/Qt based
SmuxiSmart MUltipleXed Irc - the IRC client for sophisticated users
PidginEasy to use and free chat client supporting lots of protocols
KVIrcKDE based next generation IRC client with module support
KonversationUser friendly client for KDE Plasma 5
PolariSimple to use IRC Client
dxircSimple yet capable cross-platform IRC client
CommuniSimple and elegant cross-platform IRC client

This article has been revamped in line with our recent announcement.

Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments