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Bitlbee logo.png
Developer(s) BitlBee team, with Wilmer van der Gaast as Lead Developer
Initial release 9 August 2002 (2002-08-09)
Stable release 3.2.1 (28 November 2013; 7 months ago (2013-11-28)) [±]
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Instant messaging client
License GNU General Public License

BitlBee is a cross-platform IRC instant messaging gateway, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

BitlBee communicates with the user via the IRC protocol, providing a gateway to popular chat networks such as AIM and ICQ (via OSCAR), Microsoft Messenger service (via MSNP), Yahoo! (via YMSG) and Google Talk and Facebook Messenger[1] (via XMPP)[2] and the microblogging networks Twitter,[3], and Since version 3.0, BitlBee can be built to use the libpurple library, which supports file transfers on many IM networks, and supports GaduGadu, QQ and other less well-known protocols.[4] Off-the-record messaging is supported by Bitlbee.[5] It supports the display of remote user status using the IRC voice attribute: online users are shown with voice, away users are shown without.[6] Many IRC commands such as /WHO and /QUERY are available, though the capabilities of the remote IM protocols limits which IRC commands will work.[6]

It can be installed and operated on a user's personal computer, a local server,[2] or accessed on public gateway servers.[7] A user registers with the BitlBee server for future credentials storage. Service protocols are added along with their credentials; following this, the software will display the user's buddy list as normal IRC users in a channel.[2] Conversations can be public, or use the private message facility of IRC.[8]

BitlBee runs on Linux, Unix, BSD, Windows, AmigaOS[2]and Mac OS X.

The software has been reviewed positively. Vladi Belperchinov-Shabanski wrote that the software made his "dream come true", of only needing a single chat client open on his desktop, to access multiple IM protocols.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How to use Facebook chat in BitlBee". Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d Mutton, Paul (2004). "Hack#99: Use MSN/ICQ/Jabber from IRC". IRC hacks. O'Reilly Media. pp. 374–383. ISBN 0-596-00687-X. 
  3. ^ "How to twitter in BitlBee". Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  4. ^ "Using BitlBee with the libpurple IM backend".
  5. ^ "Get OTR to work with bitlbee". 
  6. ^ a b c Belperchinov-Shabanski, Vladi (31 January 2004). "BitlBee: IRC vs. Instant Messengers". Freshmeat. 
  7. ^ "Public BitlBee servers".
  8. ^ Krumbach, Elizabeth. "Bitlbee Quickstart Guide (Online Edition) & Notes". 

External links[edit]