IRC improvements (was: Group windows by account type)

Ethan Blanton elb at
Wed Apr 8 21:21:45 EDT 2009

There were several things you liked; I'm glad to hear that, but
there's not much to do there.  ;-)  These are the things you didn't
like, or wanted to see different.

Jo-Erlend Schinstad spake unto us the following wisdom:
>  There are some things that has to be changed or fixed in order for
> Pidgin to be a good IRC client though. For one thing, notices _must
> not_ be opened in their own windows. Notices are not usually very
> important and the default behaviour in all other clients, is to not
> open them in new windows. Also, there is a side effect; all ctcp
> replies are notices and therefore also open their own windows. This
> must be changed. Actually for IRC account types, numeric messages and
> notices should be sent to one dedicated window, and I think this
> window should have the same name as the account in question.

I agree that the notice behavior is very annoying.  This standard
"server window" solution was previously not reasonably possible due to
limitations in the libpurple API.  Now that we have persistent
conversations, though, there might be a reasonable solution to this,
without writing a bunch of support just for IRC.  Someone should look
into that.  Please create an enhancement ticket on the bug tracker
( for this.

> Speaking of windows. It should be made possible to group windows based
> on account _types_ and not only by accounts or groups. This way, I
> could have all my IRC channels, which are on several different
> networks, grouped together in a window. I realise that I can
> accomplish this by grouping the IRC channels together and open new
> conversations in windows based on groups. However, this makes it
> difficult to see which networks the different channels are on, making
> it easy to /join #channel on the WrongNet. That, of course, could be
> worked around by giving all channels an alias, like #Ubuntu at FreeNode.
> But this feels awkward and requires quite a bit of configuration. In
> any case, being able to group windows based on the account type is a
> usable feature. I hope this will be implemented.

This is trivial to do, and a plugin could be written to do it in a few
minutes.  In fact, I think there's already an extended conversation
placement plugin floating around someplace, which may even do this.
Does anyone know?

We're not likely to add this as a default placement option, as one of
the goals of Pidgin is to *hide* protocol and account differences, not
glorify them.  I don't see any harm in including an extended
conversation placement plugin in the distribution, though.

> And of course, we need to have a way to see and set channel modes,
> kick, ban, op and voice users, set topic, etc. Pidgin does have this
> for XMPP Rooms, doesn't it?

/commands work normally in Pidgin IRC.  You can use /mode for bans,
op, and voice, as well as /op and /voice for the latter, there is a
/kick command, etc.  See /help in any IRC window for more information.
The topic can be set by clicking on the room topic, or with /topic,
either one.

There are not as many right-click menu options on the channel user
list as people would like, and I intend to add a pile of those, but I
haven't gotten to it.  See ticket #264 on the tracker.

> I think these changes should be fairly easy to implement, but they
> would make Pidgin a really suitable IRC client for a lot of people.

You're right, most of them wouldn't take very long.  (The server
messages window might.)  This would be a great place for a new
developer to sink their teeth into Pidgin.  ;-)


The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws [that have no remedy
for evils].  They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor
determined to commit crimes.
		-- Cesare Beccaria, "On Crimes and Punishments", 1764
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