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Bitlbee is a "console-based IRC to IM chatting gateway, including ICQ/MSN/Jabber". It allows the user to interact with popular chat networks XMPP/Jabber (including Google Talk), MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM and ICQ, the Twitter microblogging network (plus all other Twitter API compatible services like and, and social networking chat networks like Facebook and StudiVZ within their IRC client.

The users' buddies appear as normal IRC users in a channel and conversations use the private message facility of IRC.


First, download and install the package using pacman:

# pacman -S bitlbee

Bitlbee can now run as a daemon of its own! Open up Template:Filename to browse through the settings. Uncomment the Runmode line and change it to the following.

RunMode = ForkDaemon

There is no need to run the bitlbee daemon as root so we should uncomment the following line so it can run as the "bitlbee" user created when the package was installed.

User = bitlbee

Now run

/etc/rc.d/bitlbee start

to start the Bitlbee server. Note that just starting the server does not log you in to any of your messenger accounts! You must join a channel and issue commands.

You may also start bitlbee every time Arch Linux boots. To do so, just add the bitlbee entry in the file rc.conf as follows:

DAEMONS=(... bitlbee ...)

(The three dots mean other daemons that run during bootup)


You are now able to connect to this in an IRC client. To connect, just connect to localhost using your favorite IRC client.

Hopefully this will connect and you should immediately join a channel called '&bitlbee'. When you join this channel it will tell to type 'Help' if you're new... type 'Help' ;)

Read through the help offered by Bitlbee to get started. There are some great guides online too:

Connecting to Google Chat

In the control channel, &bitlbee, issue the following command after replacing <username> and <password> with your information:

<@user> account add jabber <username> <password>

Appending the command with is not strictly necessary, but it is recommended to enable extra security.

If you have enabled Google Authenticator make sure to create an application specific password (see: Google Accounts Help).

To verify that the account was added check the account list:

<@user> account list 
<@root> 0. JABBER, (connected) 
<@root> End of account list

You can change the server value of your gmail account with the following command:

account 0 set server

To log into your Google account issue the following:

<@user> account 0 on
<@root> JABBER( - Logging in: Connecting 
<@root> JABBER( - Logging in: Connected 
<@root> JABBER( - Logging in: Requesting Authentication Method
<@root> JABBER( - Logging in: Authenticating 
<@root> JABBER( - Logged in


If you get errors like the following:

<@user> account 0 on 
<@root> JABBER( - Logging in: Connecting
<@root> JABBER( - Logging in: Connected
<@root> JABBER( - Logging in: Requesting Authentication Method
<@root> JABBER( - Logging in: Authenticating
<@root> JABBER( - Login error: Error 403: Unknown error
<@root> JABBER( - Signing off...

Switching the domain from "" to "" may help. This seems to be the case for some European countries, especially Germany where Google doesn't own the trademark for the name Gmail [1].

The easiest way to change your account settings is to simply delete the account you created and add it again.

account 0 del
account add jabber mypasswd

or just use the `set` switch for the `account` command

account list   # find the id for your gtalk account, in this case I'll use '0'
account 0 set  # list all the possible settings for this account
account 0 set username        # change your username
account 0 set password somethingverysecret  # change your passphrase

External Links

See Also

Screen Irssi Bitlbee