Tips for configuring Polari with ZNC

At work we use IRC a lot. Seriously, a lot.

It's one of our main communication platforms and it's important we don't miss too much, so some teams are using a ZNC bouncer to stay connected even when they're not online.

Your choice of IRC client is usually pretty hotly contested (like text editors, but a little less spirited), but I'm personally a huge fan of Polari. It's modern, pretty, usable, and integrates with the rest of GNOME like no other client available today. Even better, no configuration files to deal with!

Now that last point has a downside: no configuration files to work with. If you're trying to do more advanced setup (like using ZNC) it can be a little frustrating.

In particular, if you're using ZNC with multiple networks, it's almost impossible as the Polari UI doesn't differentiate between nicknames, usernames and idents very well.

Polari network dialog

Fortunately, there is an easy way around this: under the covers, Polari is integrated with GNOME's Telepathy chat framework. Since GNOME's default chat client Empathy also uses Telepathy, you can configure your Polari servers from Empathy's much more functional (albeit less pretty and less usable) settings dialogs.

To access the more advanced settings, open Empathy (install it if you don't have it) and click Accounts from the app menu.

Empathy's account list

You'll then see any accounts you set up in Empathy as well as the networks you set up in Polari!

Click on Edit Connection Parameters... and you've got all the settings you could ever need for an IRC connection, including the all-important username field for ZNC users.

Empathy connection parameters

If you have multiple networks configured in ZNC, just change the username here to youruser/networkname to connect to the right network.

You can even modify your server details more easily here, including adding multiple servers HexChat-style.

Empathy server details

Since they're both using Telepathy underneath, Polari should update almost instantly as you update the settings in Empathy.

Have you tried Polari? What other IRC clients do you have troubles with? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.


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