Quassel, IRC Client Extraordinaire


I don’t usually review IRC clients but Quassel is an exception because it’s just a great example of how you can push the limits of a simple application, by putting the right efforts in the right place.

I tried a bunch of IRC clients on the Pandora and I even packaged one (Java based) but when Quassel came out it was clear I was never going back to any other. First, it may be only me, but I had a persistent annoying bug in all other clients where the last few characters on each line would be cut through. Don’t ask me why, I could never understand where the issue came from, yet it does not occur in Quassel for some reason.

But it’s far from the only reason I use Quassel. The first thing you realize is that it’s dead easy to change the format of the text you input, bold, italic, underlined… you have it, but that’s not only it. The color and the background color can be changed very easily as well. It’s very practical on IRC to ensure you know where is the last line you typed.


Quassel also knows when you are doing other stuff while it’s minimized. It will throw a notification on the corner of your screen to let you know that your name is mentioned in a line, when minimized. Very cool, and the only IRC client on Pandora to do that as far as I know. And if you only want to focus on your IRC session, it has a full screen mode, too.

I am not sure how much you use IRC yourselves, but if you are very active, and have several aliases on different channels, Quassel makes it trivial to manage them. You can simply select your identity via a list where you select the one you use right now.

Another great thing to save time is the fact that Quassel saves all your previous chat windows and channels once you quit the application. When launching it again you find back all the channels or chats you kept opened, and your previous conversations are logged. Awesome. I’m pretty sure other clients can do it too, but Quassel shines by the fact it does everything right by default. Good defaults make a world of difference.


Quassel can even be surprising sometimes. The other day I was hovering on a link posted by someone on the OpenPandora channel, and suddenly Quassel displayed a preview of the linked web page above the mouse pointer. Classy.


For all these reasons and more, Quassel is really the best IRC client out there, and definitely the one I will use on my desktop as well from now on. It’s THAT good. Many thanks to Canseco for porting it and releasing it on the repo and to the Quassel project team.

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Interesting. Do you know if it supports SASL for logging on to Freenode? Most of what it does seems to be in xchat already. I don’t use colours on IRC, so I don’t know about that, but xchat notifies you if you’re mentioned, and will flash an icon in the system tray on any activity too, if you want it (I think that’s default, but I forget). You do need to configure it to automatically open your channels on connecting, but it saves logs and presents them to you again by default. In Xchat you specify your nick when connecting… Read more »


I can confirm that both SSL and SASL work perfectly in Quassel and would thoroughly recommend trying it out.


Interestingly the article does not mention the best part about Quassel – its Client/Core functionality. It allows you to remain logged in to your IRC networks via a core application running on a different machine (eg a server you might have running 24/7). You can then log in to the core with your Quassel client, which restores your backlogs as if nothing had happened, ala the good old screen/irssi combo. It’s much cleaner/more intelligent than a BNC.


Quassel can run in a client/server mode also where the client – the GUI which you use – connects to a back end server. The server remains connected to the IRC channel, hence when you close your client you remain connected to the channel (so long as the server is still running). I run the Quassel server (quasselcore) at home where it’s always on and connect to it via SSH from work as I need – this is a great setup.