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Xchat logo svg.svg
XChat 2.8.0 PL.png
Screenshot of XChat 2.8.0
Developer(s) Peter Železný (zed), Brian Evans (LifeIsPain)
Initial release X-Chat 1.0.0: June 29, June 29, 1999; 17 years ago (1999-06-29)[1]
Stable release
2.8.9 / 28 August 2010; 6 years ago (2010-08-28)
Development status Discontinued[2]
Written in C
Operating system OS X, Unix-like, Windows
Platform Cross-platform
Available in Multilingual
Type IRC client
License Proprietary for Windows version, GNU General Public License for others
Website xchat.org

XChat is an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client. It has a choice of a tabbed document interface or tree interface, support for multiple servers, and numerous configuration options. Both command line and graphical versions were available.

XChat is available for Unix-like systems; derivatives with native support for OS X's Aqua interface are also available (see below). A Windows port called XChat-WDK was created then discontinued in 2012, with its development moving largely to forks such as HexChat.[2]

XChat's main source code tree has not received any patches since 2013.[3] Some Linux distributions, such as Fedora, maintain their own versions to fix bugs, keep the program working and able to build, and to resolve security issues.[4] As the program has not had a proper release since 2010, it may not work as expected if users install the official version.


XChat is a full-featured IRC client with a GUI surrounding the basic chat window. It includes all basic functionality found in most other IRC clients, including nick completion,[5] connecting to multiple servers,[6] secure connections,[7] CTCP, DCC file transfers and chats, and a plugin system for various programming languages (including at least C or C++, Perl, Python, Tcl, Ruby,[8] Lua,[9] CLISP, D, and DMDScript[10]). Plugins allow extending the features and customization of the functionality of XChat.

The default view for the client window is referred to as "tree view", but can be configured for a tabbed interface instead. Tabs change color as text arrives, other users enter or leave channels, or another user addresses the user's nickname. The interface can display clickable operator ("op") commands and others, and allows customization of fonts, event sounds, timestamps, and logging.[11] XChat implements all standard IRC commands (e.g. /NICK or /JOIN), as well as DCC chatting (/CHAT), which allows chat to continue if the IRC server is disconnected.[11]

XChat runs on Unix-like operating systems, and many GNU/Linux distributions include packages for XChat in their repositories.[citation needed]


The main body of XChat code is licensed under the GNU General Public License. However, on August 23, 2004, the official build for Windows had become shareware, and had to be purchased after a 30-day trial period. Previous builds for Windows were removed from the official site.[12] The authors stated that the shareware fee is required due to the excessive amount of time it took to make it compile under Windows.[13] This created controversy as Peter Železný did not have the copyright to all of the code which he was claiming to re-license, as well as linking proprietary shareware enforcement code against GPL-licensed code, making the Windows version of XChat a violation of copyright law and the GPL.[14]

However, since the Unix version of XChat's code is open source under the GPL, several free non-official builds for Windows are being maintained.[15]


XChat has been described as popular,[16][17][18] buildable for a variety of platforms. In its heyday it was rated one of the best IRC clients for Linux.[19] IRC Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools goes into depth explaining its setup, configuration, and advanced features under Unix[16] and OS X.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "News". XChat.org. September 18, 1999. Archived from the original on 1999-09-21. 
  2. ^ a b Announcement of HexChat Posted on 06 Jul, 2012
  3. ^ XChat Subversion repository history, showing few commits other than to plug-in code since 2010
  4. ^ "Package xchat". apps.fedoraproject.org. Retrieved 2016-09-18. 
  5. ^ Whaples, Thomas (2004). "Hack #2: XChat". In Mutton, Paul. IRC Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools. O'Reilly Media. p. 63. ISBN 978-0596-00687-7. 
  6. ^ IRC Hacks, p. 90.
  7. ^ IRC Hacks, p. 93.
  8. ^ Xchat-Ruby Plugin Website. ruby.sourceforge.net
  9. ^ xchat Lua plugin. ankh-morp.org.
  10. ^ xcdscript home page Archived May 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› . ludost.net.
  11. ^ a b Arnote, Paul (September 2009). "Internet Relay Chat: The Forgotten Chat Frontier". PCLinuxOS Magazine.
  12. ^ Preston, Allan K. (June 2006). "XChat for Windows(review of release by Silverex)". IRCReviews.org. 
  13. ^ XChat for Windows. xchat.org. "Q. Why can't XChat for Windows be free? A. [...] Building XChat for Windows is a difficult process, it requires quite some skill and expertise to accomplish. It takes time, and is by no means automated. [...]"
  14. ^ "xchat.org :: View topic - About Windows release licensing.". 2007-02-16. Retrieved 2016-09-18. 
  15. ^ Build Lineup. xchatdata.net.
  16. ^ a b IRC Hacks, p. 3
  17. ^ Hudson, Andrew; Hudson, Paul; Helmke, Matthew; Troy, Ryan (2009). "Internet Relay Chat". Ubuntu Unleashed 2010 Edition: Covering 9.10 and 10.4. Sams Publishing/Pearson Education. p. 124. ISBN 978-0672331091. 
  18. ^ "IRCHelp.org". 
  19. ^ "Five Best IRC Clients for Linux". 
  20. ^ IRC Hacks, p. 11.

External links[edit]

Derivative software[edit]