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Jabber MUC Through Bitlbee

One of the things that kept me going back to a GUI for IM over and over and over is the fact that my Jabber client of choice, namely Bitlbee, didn't support multiuser chat (MUC). I had seen in the code commit logs that it had been added, but after downloading the development version and not seeing it, I figured they pulled it from the main branch until it stabilizes. Come to find out, if I wanted to get MUC in Bitlbee, I needed to be running the latest snapshot. Well, my bzr version is a bit old (the version on Ubuntu Dapper Drake), so I couldn't pull the code down from the branch. Then I found out, thanks to some dude in the Jabber room on that the server supported MUC. This was music to my ears. I disconnected my local Bitlbee session, and connected to the server, and what do you know? MUC! So, if you're running irssi, BitchX, WeeChat, or some other text-based IRC client behind screen, with Bitlbee, here's how you can have your Jabber MUC.

First, we need to connect to This server supports SSL, which I would prefer to connect with, so I'll be using that in the example. So, in irssi, let's connect:

/connect -ssl 6668

This will make the connection, then open a "&root" window for you to setup your account(s). Let's do that, just for simplicity sake. First, we should register ourself with the server, so if we need to login again, we can identify: In our &root window in irssi:

register password

Where password is a password of your choice. Now, if you ever disconnect, you can reconnect your accounts with just a "identify password". Now that we're registered, let's add our Jabber account. For me, I'm running my own Jabber server, so I'll use that for my example:

account add jabber password

This will connect to the Jabber server with my password, whatever that may be. At this point, you should save your information before you go any further:


Now, let's connect:

account on 0

The first account you add will be the 0th account (we're counting like normal here, starting with zero), the second account you add will be account 1, and so on. Ok, now you're connected, how do you join a Jabber MUC room? Well, on the server, we have the 'join_chat' command. The syntax is simple: "join_chat ". Let's see how we can connect to the Jabber MUC on

join_chat 0 &jabber atoponce

0 is the account number that is referenced to the account I added earlier. Now I'm connected to a Jabber MUC, running in Bitlbee, running in irssi, all behind screen. In other words, no more joining and leaving the MUC room. As long as my server is running, I can keep my irssi client going, and keep tabs on all the back logs in case I want to reply to something.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Jason | December 14, 2007 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Aaron, your invalid HTML makes readers cry :P.

    Use &lt;room&gt;, not <room> :P.

    Alternatively, use []'s.

  2. Dave | October 30, 2008 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Three quick notes:

    1) The stable version of BitlBee has now supported Jabber MUC for some time.

    2) You don't need to type the identify gunk if your IRC client supports /PASS authentication. Just tell your IRC client to authenticate with your nick and password, and you're good to go.

    3) If you're in the USA and don't want to cross the Atlantic (especially when congestion is high), my server ( is the only server in the US on the latest stable version of BitlBee (1.2.3, as I type this). As an added bonus, my server also has a CGI:IRC installation at so you can get your IM even when you're on the road with a computer that doesn't have an IRC client. As a final bonus, I have the Skype plugin running on bitlbee1; I'm pretty sure I've got the only public server anywhere with it.

    BTW - I like the way you phrased the tidbit about your favorite "Jabber client." Keep in mind that the Jabber gods no longer call Jabber Jabber, so if you don't want to incur their wrath, you'd better call it XMPP. It seems to be fairly popular practice nowadays to call it Jabber/XMPP or XMPP/Jabber (depending on which side you took in the famous JSF wars). Of course, if you want to take diplomacy to the next level, you can call it Jabber/XMPP/iChat/GTalk/WhatNext, and hope your keyboard holds up under the stress you put it through every time you talk about Jabber/XMPP/iChat/GTalk/WhatNext 😎

    - Dave

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