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Logo xchat.png
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, 1999[1]
Stable release 2.8.9 / 28 August 2010; 4 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 www.xchat.org

XChat is a popular Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client. It has a choice of a tabbed document interface or tree interface, support for multiple servers and is highly configurable. Both command line and graphical versions are available.

XChat is available for Unix-like systems and Microsoft Windows; derivatives with native support for OS X's Aqua interface are also available (see below). The official XChat software has been largely unmaintained since 2012, with development moving largely to forks such as HexChat.[2][3]


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,[4] connecting to multiple servers,[5] secure connections,[6] CTCP, DCC file transfers and chats, and a plugin system for various programming languages (including at least C or C++, Perl, Python, Tcl, Ruby,[7] Lua,[8] CLISP, D, and DMDScript[9]). 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 address the user's nickname. The interface can display clickable operator ("op") commands and others, and allows customization of fonts, event sounds, timestamps, and logging.[10] 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.[10]

XChat runs on Unix-like operating systems and modern versions of Windows[11] Many GNU/Linux distributions include packages for XChat in their repositories.


The main body of XChat code is licensed under the GNU General Public License. However, as of August 23, 2004, the official build for Windows has become shareware, and must be purchased after a 30-day trial period. Previous builds for Windows were removed from the official site.[12] The authors state that the shareware fee is required due to the excessive amount of time it takes to make it compile under Windows.[13]

However, since the unix version of XChat's code is open source under the GPL, several free non-official builds for Windows have been maintained.[14]


XChat has been described as popular,[15][16] buildable for a variety of platforms. IRC Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools goes into depth explaining its setup, configuration, and advanced features under Unix[15] and OS X.[17]

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. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ IRC Hacks, p. 90.
  6. ^ IRC Hacks, p. 93.
  7. ^ Xchat-Ruby Plugin Website. ruby.sourceforge.net
  8. ^ xchat Lua plugin. ankh-morp.org.
  9. ^ xcdscript home page. ludost.net.
  10. ^ a b Arnote, Paul (September 2009). "Internet Relay Chat: The Forgotten Chat Frontier". PCLinuxOS Magazine.
  11. ^ Support for 98/ME was dropped from the official Windows build: XChat Forum - Support for Windows 98/ME dropped.
  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. ^ Build Lineup. xchatdata.net.
  15. ^ a b IRC Hacks, p. 3
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ IRC Hacks, p. 11.

External links[edit]

Derivative software[edit]