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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.


Install bitlbee, available in the Official Repositories. Alternatively, install the development version, bitlbee-bzrAUR, available in the Arch User Repository.


Various settings can be set using the /etc/bitlbee/bitlbee.conf configuration file.


To run Bitlbee as a daemon uncomment the Runmode line and change it to the following.

RunMode = ForkDaemon

It is recommended to run the Bitlbee daemon without root permission. Uncomment the following line so Bitlbee can run as the "bitlbee" user, which was created when the package was installed.

User = bitlbee

Then start bitlbee and add it to the DAEMONS array (see: Daemon). Note that just starting the server does not log you into any of your chat accounts.

Connect to channel

Once Bitlbee is running connect to localhost using a IRC client. Then join the channel named &bitlbee. After joining the channel type Help and then Template:Keypress for further information.

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

See Also