Weechat – a trial

I’m a big fan on console apps. But for IRC, I have been using quassel, as it gives me a client on my phone. But I’ve been cleaning up my cloud accounts, and thought of the good old days when you’d simply run a console IRC client in screen or tmux.

Many years ago I used weechat, it was awesome, so I thought why not go and have a play.

To my surprise weechat has a /relay command which allows other clients to connect. One such client is WeechatAndroid, which in itself isn’t a IRC client, but actually a client that can talk to a already running weechat… This is exactly what I want.

So in case any of you wanted to do the same, this is my current tmux + weechat setup. Mostly gleened from various internet sources.


Initial WeeChat setup

Once you start weechat, you can simply configure things, when you do, it writes it to its config file. So really all you need to do is place or edit the config file directly. So once setup you can easily move it. However, as you’ll always want to be connected, it’s nice to know how to change configuration while it’s running… you know, so you can play.

I’ll assume you have installed weechat in whatever distro your using. So we’ll start by running weechat (inside a tmux or screen):


Now while we are inside weechat, lets first start by installing/activating some scripts:

/script install buffers.pl go.py colorize_nicks.py urlserver.py

Noting that there are heaps of scripts to install, but lets explain these:

  • buffers.pl – makes a left side window listing the buffers (or channels).
  • go.py – allows you to quickly search the buffers.
  • urlserver.py – automatically shorens long urls so they don’t break if they overlap over a line.
  • colorize_nicks.py – is obvious.

The go.py script is useful. But turns out you can also turn on mouse support with:

/mouse enable

Which will then allow you to use your mouse to select a buffer, although this will break normal copy and pasting, so maybe not worth the effort, but thought I’d mention it.
Although of course normally you’d use the weechat keybindings to access them, <alt+left or right> to go to a buffer, or <alt-a> to goto the last active buffer. But go, means you can easily jump, and if you add a go.py keybinding:

/key bind meta-g /go

An <alt+g> will lauch it, so you can type away, is really easy.

But we are probably getting away from our selves. There are plenty of places that can tell you how to configure it connect to freenode etc. I used: https://weechat.org/files/doc/devel/weechat_quickstart.en.html

Now that you have some things configured lets setup the relay script/plugin.


Setting up /relay

This actually isn’t too hard. But there was a gotcha, which is why I’m writing about it. I first simply followed WeechatAndroid’s guide. But this just sets up an insecure relay:

/relay add weechat 8001
/set relay.network.password "your-secret-password"

NOTE: 8001 is the port, so you can change this, and the password to whatever you want.

However, that’s great for a test, but we probably want SSL, so we need a SSL cert:

mkdir -p ~/.weechat/ssl
cd ~/.weechat/ssl
openssl req -nodes -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout relay.pem -x509 -days 365 -out relay.pem

NOTE: To change or see where weechat is looking for the cert is to see what the value of ‘relay.network.ssl_cert_key’ or just do a: /set relay.*

We can tell weechat to load this sslcert without restarting by running:

/relay sslcertkey

And here’s the gotcha, you will fail to connect via SSL until you create an instance of the weechat relay protocal (listening socket) with ssl in the name of the protocol:
/relay del weechat
/relay add ssl.weechat 8001

Or just be smart and setup the SSL version.

On the weechat buffer you will see the client connecting and disconnecting, so is a good way to debug connection issues.


Weechat /relay + ssl (TL;DR)

mkdir -p ~/.weechat/ssl
cd ~/.weechat/ssl
openssl req -nodes -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout relay.pem -x509 -days 365 -out relay.pem

In weechat:

/relay sslcertkey
/relay add ssl.weechat 8001
/set relay.network.password "your-secret-password"