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Bitlbee tunnels instant messaging traffic (including MSN, ICQ, Yahoo, Jabber) to a virtual IRC channel and virtual IRC queries. What does that mean in english I hear you say. Basically it lets you connect to yahoo, msn or google talk through your redbrick chat.

Starting Bitlbee in irssi

To start bitlbee in irssi type

/connect bitlbee

This opens a new window, the bitlbee control window. You'll notice there seems to be another person in this channel called "root". This is the bitlbee system (we'll tell you how to rename it later).

Starting Bitlbee in weechat

To add your bitlbee server to weechat just type in the weechat window

/server add bitlbee

Before you connect you must have your nick set up so:

/set irc.server.bitlbee.nicks "your nick"

Then to connect simply type

/connect bitlbee

Adding accounts

This section tells you how to add accounts to the system.


account add msn <msn address> <password>


account add yahoo <password>

Google Talk

account add jabber
account gtalk set oauth on [Follow on-screen commands to authenticate using OAuth]
account gtalk on


Official more detailed guide: here

Use the same email you use to log in to facebook, and either your main password or an app password.

An app password can be generated via the: security page on the Facebook website.

account add facebook <email> <password>

Signing In

Once you've set up your accounts turn them on by typing

account facebook on

If you have multiple accounts set up you can turn them on one by one by specifing the number (accounts are numbered from 0 in the order you set them up)

account list

will tell you the numbers associated with each of your accounts. To turn on account one type

account on 1

Similarly you can sign out by typing

account off
account off 1

Seeing who else is signed in

You've probably noticed by now that you've been joined in this channel by your buddies. Using the /names command as usual will tell you who is signed in, but you'll see much more information by typing


In the case of Facebook, you will have a list of user IDs rather than names. You can rename them manually, or get a renaming script for them:

Tested for weechat only, names are fine



Sending a message

You can use bitlbee in two ways - either talk directly to your buddies in the bitlbee window, or open pms with them by typing /msg as you would to normally open a PM. you'll notice that irssi is somethimes including the server in the /msg command as you use the tab complete e.g.

/msg -Redbrick undone
/msg -bitlbee landa2

it's nothing to worry about :D


Setting your nickname

Bitlbee allows you to set different nicknames for each of the account you have connected. First need to know the number of the account you want to add them to (see above). For example if I want to change my name on MSN to Sleepy Guy, and msn is account 1 I would type

nick 1 "Sleepy Guy"

Setting nicknames for other people

When you use your regular IM client you can see the names that each of your buddies has set for themselves, but on bitlbee you can only see the first part of their email address. This can get quite annoying if people have strange email addresses. So, for example if your friend Kevin happenns to have a strange email address like you can rename him to just kev by typing

rename undoneisthecoolestguyever kev

You can also use this command to rename "root" to whatever you like.

Adding new buddies

Occasionally you'll want to add new buddies. For example if my msn account is number 1 and i want to add I would type

add 1

You can also specify custom names when you add new buddies

add 1 kevin

If I get tired of listening to kevin I can simply remove him by typing

remove kevin

Turning off join/leave messages

They can be pretty annoying. Fortunately turning it off is quite easy

/filter add bitlbee_noise irc.bitlbee.* irc_quit,irc_nick_back *

This assumes your bitlbee server is called "bitlbee"

Getting more help

The help in bitlbee tells you how to use every command, just type help in your bitlbee channel for more