The Grumpy Editor's Guide to graphical IRC clients
Posted Jan 16, 2007 21:42 UTC (Tue) by cdarroch
Parent article: The Grumpy Editor's Guide to graphical IRC clients
I mostly work outside of IRC, but have to "listen in" on a number of sessions throughout the day, on different servers. For me, the great advantage of KVIrc over others I've tried (which is by no means all of them) is that it has an excellent system tray notification system. There's a single icon, with four sub-icons that indicate the specific kind of activity going on, e.g., chat, a private query, a server notification. Even better, they can be set to light up in red when your IRC nick is used, and a small, transparent overlay window pops up to display the text which triggered the alert. There's also a helpful beep. (The overlay window even has tabs, if two or more channels happen to be active at the same time.) This all lets me ignore most of the IRC traffic and just get pinged when someone's asking me something -- but without the IRC client forcing me to pay immediate attention if it's not warranted.
Also, if you right-click on the icons in the Window List sidebar, you can use the "Undock" and "Dock" options to detach an IRC window from the main KVIrc window. It then becomes just a regular desktop window until you "Dock" it again. KVIrc will remember these settings after you exit the program. Personally, I undock everything except the server notification "console" windows and then minimize them all. (Actually, I use KDE's special window settings to automatically place them where I want them and minimize them as soon as they're opened.) I'd agree that having everything contained in the main window is just frustrating. Oh, and you can adjust the backgrounds so they're opaque.
Another important feature when you're sitting on public IRC channels is that if you accidentally cut-and-paste in a chunk of text from a confidential document, it isn't immediately sent out over the wire just because it contains some newlines. KVIrc sends such text to a multi-line buffer where you have to explicitly hit Ctrl-Enter to send it.
KVIrc also lets you tune the fonts and colours it uses, can automate the use of NickServ, and can be programmed to automatically log into specific servers and channels at startup. For me, that means that I can start KVIrc with a click and then forget all about it until someone pings me. Perfect.
There are some annoyances, of course. Having to use Alt-K to get to the menu with the Quit option seems odd to me. Sometimes -- maybe only with older versions, though -- per-server configuration changes I'd made wouldn't be saved, perhaps because I closed the configuration window but didn't click "OK" or "Apply". It would be nice to be able to configure the colours of the multi-line input buffer. Finding configuration options among all the choices can be difficult.
But, overall, version 3.2.0 makes using IRC so pleasantly forgettable that I'd recommend taking a second look at it.
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