A file-based IRC client inspired by ii

git clone https://git.8pit.net/hii.git


2024-05-19 Update girc dependency for another bug fix Sören Tempel
2024-02-08 Update girc dependency for race condition fix Sören Tempel
2024-02-08 hii.1: Remove remaining reference to freenode Sören Tempel
2023-11-07 README.md: Rephrase motivation and status section Sören Tempel
2023-07-22 Sort nicknames in usr FIFO descending by last activity Sören Tempel

Clone the repository to access all 262 commits.


A file-based IRC client inspired by ii(1).


I originally only intended to write a frontend for ii instead of completely rewriting it from scratch. However, while working on the frontend I noticed that I couldn’t implement certain features in the frontend without changes to the backend (ii). I briefly considered patching ii but ultimately decided for a rewrite. During the rewrite, various features have been implemented that are not supported by ii (e.g. various IRCv3 features, builtin TLS and IPv6 support, et cetera).


I currently consider hii feature complete and use it myself daily in combination with insomnia and a per-server runit user service for automatically starting and supervising hii processes.


New features (compared to ii):

Features intentionally not implemented:

While hii has more features than ii it is still supposed to have a limit feature set and shouldn’t “expand until it can read mail”.

Compatibility with ii

Backwards compatibility with ii wasn’t a goal. While the directory structure is mostly backwards compatible everything else is pretty much different. This is the case because proper backwards compatibility would have been a lot of work and I personally didn’t need it.


The program can be installed either using go install or make.

go install

To install to the program using go install run the following command:

$ go install github.com/nmeum/hii@latest

Note that this will not install additional documentation files, e.g. man pages.


To install to the program using make run the following commands:

$ git clone https://github.com/nmeum/hii.git
$ cd hii
$ make && make install

This will also install documentation files to the correct location and may thus be preferable when packaging this software for a distribution.


Q: Sockets cannot be used with standard utilities such as grep(1). Why are nick names served using a unix domain socket anyhow?

A: Several ways of implementing a nick list have been considered. Using a regular file has various obvious disadvantages. For instance, the file would need to be truncated every time the nick list changes, which causes a lot of file system operation. Using a FUSE for serving the nick list was also briefly considered, however, while this would allow interaction with standard utilities it would require linking against FUSE and would complicate things quite a bit. Serving nicks using a unix domain socket seemed to be a reasonable compromise.

Q: Why are mentions recorded in a separate file? Can’t this be implemented using inotify, kqueue, … in the frontend?

A: While this might certainly be possible it would complicate the frontend code quite a bit. Implementing this in the backend was fairly easy and only required a few changes. Additionally, neither kqueue nor inotify are mandated by POSIX.

Q: Can feature X/Y/Z be added to hii?

A: No.


This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/.