Posted on Mar 11, 2018 By copyninja under misc

IRC is a communication mode (technically a communication protocol) used by many Free Software projects for communication and collaboration. It is serving these projects well even 30 years after its inception. Though I'm pretty much okay with IRC I had a problem of not able to use IRC from the mobile phones. Main problem is the inconsistent network connection, where IRC needs always to be connected. This is where I came across Biboumi.

Biboumi by itself does not have anything to do with mobile phones, its just a gateway which will allow you to connect with IRC channel as if it is a XMPP MUC room from any XMPP client. Benefit of this is it allows to enjoy some of XMPP feature in your IRC channel (not all but those which can be mapped).

I run Biboumi with my ejabbered instance and there by now I can connect to some of the Debian IRC channel directly from my phone using Conversations XMPP client for Android.

Biboumi is packaged for Debian, though I'm co-maintainer of the package most hardwork is done by Jonas Smedegaard in keeping the package in shape. It is also available for stretch-backports (though slightly outdated as its not packaged by us for backports). Once you install the package, copy example configuration file from /usr/share/doc/biboumi/examples/example.conf to /etc/biboumi/biboumi.cfg and modify the values as needed. Below is my sample file with password redacted.


Explanation for all the key, values in the configuration file is available in the man page (man biboumi).

Biboumi is configured as external component of the XMPP server. In my case I'm using ejabberd to host my XMPP service. Below is the configuration needed for allowing biboumi to connect with ejabberd.

  port: 8888
  ip: ""
  module: ejabberd_service
  acess: all
       password: xxx

password field in biboumi configuration should match password value in your XMPP server configuration.

After doing above configuration reload ejabberd (or your XMPP server) and start biboumi. Biboumi package provides systemd service file so you might need to enable it first. That's it now you have an XMPP to IRC gateway ready.

You might notice that I'm using local host name for hostname key as well as ip field in ejabberd configuration. This is because TLS support was added to biboumi Debian package only after 7.2 release as botan 2.x was not available till that point in Debian. Hence using proper domain name and making biboumi listen to public will be not safe at least prior to Debian package version 7.2-2. Also making the biboumi service public means you will also need to handle spam bots trying to connect from your service to IRC, which might get your VPS banned from IRC.

Connection Semantics

Once biboumi is configured and running you can now use XMPP client of your choice (Gajim, Conversation etc.) to connect to IRC. To connect to OFTC from your XMPP client you need to following address in Group Chat section

Replace part after @ to what you have configured in hostname field in biboumi configuration. To join a specific channel on a IRC server you need to join the group conversation with following format

If your nick name is registered and you would want to identify yourself to IRC server you can do that by joining in group conversation with NickServ using following address

Once connected you can send NickServ command directly in this virtual channel. Like identify password nick. It is also possible to configure your XMPP clients like Gajim to send Ad-Hoc commands on connection to particular IRC server for identifying your self with IRC servers. But this part I did not get working in Gajim.

If you are running your own XMPP server then biboumi gives you best way to connect to IRC from your mobile phones. And with applications like Conversation running XMPP application won't be hard on your phone battery.