This spec aims to suggest to use xchat-gnome as default IRC client.


All releases before Dapper shipped an IRC client, xchat. During Dapper Development phase it was decided to replace it by XChat-GNOME, a new frontend for xchat , far more integrated with GNOME and thus Ubuntu. This change seems to have been well accepted by the community. However at the end of Dapper development phase it was decided to have XChat-GNOME removed from the default installation (even if it stay in main). xchat was not re-added either, leaving the default install without any IRC Client. A bug was opened about that (bug 38694) but rejected.

  • The main argument for the removing of XChat-GNOME was that Gaim can be used for IRC chat and so it's redundant. A lot of users don't use Gaim for their jabber chat. Its interface is not enough GNOME spirit and intuitive. It's the same for IRC and i'm not convinced than Gaim is a good tool for that. On the other side, the main goal of XChat-GNOME is the GNOME integration and its easy to use GUI.
  • Another argument was that IRC chat is only used by geek and not by "common user". That's partially true but maybe it's just because current IRC client are too complicated and not enough user-friendly. Wink ;)

  • Furthermore, IRC will be used for the UbuntuLiveChatSupport. This spec aims to provide an easy way for user to ask support in their native language. Current implementation uses gaim and connects it on the channel of the good loco team (according user's locales configuration). So IRC chat is not reserved for geek anymore!

  • The SensibleIRCHandler spec aims to implement irc:// links handling like in XChat-GNOME. It would become useless if it was shipped by default.

  • I don't think a lot of people use Gaim for IRC chat. But XChat-GNOME has more and more users and so feedback, bugreport, improvements,... Furthermore, thanks to S├ębastien, we have a very good co-operation with Ubuntu. Most of the fixes from HEAD version are quickly backported and integrated in the package.
  • XChat-GNOME offers very sexy features like 3 notifications plugins (using sound, trayicon or libnotify). It's very useful to follow a conversation. Currently none is enabled by default but we could easily change that.

Use cases

  • Marcel asks a question on #ubuntu using Gaim but miss the response in the large amount of discussion (it's the first time Marcel use IRC).
  • Raymond is very disappointed to not find a IRC client in the "Applications" menu after the default installation.




  • xchat-gnome is already packaged and in main since Dapper.
  • Maybe we could modify it to auto-enable some notification plugins.
  • We could also auto-join the local Ubuntu channel of the user (like in UbuntuLiveChatSupport). So a curious user who doesn't know IRC and launchs xchat-gnome just to test it, will find people to speak about Ubuntu in his mother tongue

Outstanding issues

BoF agenda and discussion


XchatGnomeDefault (last edited 2008-08-06 16:23:33 by localhost)