IRC is a common method of communication within Ubuntu and many other projects. I believe Ubuntu policy is that nothing is official unless it's on a mailing list, but there's still some benefit to having a rendezvous communication like IRC with others. But frequently, I see things like the following:
* novice has joined #ubuntu-foo
< novice> Can anyone help me with bug #53632?
< novice> I applied the patch, but it's not building correctly
< novice> Am I doing something wrong?
_ Five minutes of silence go by _
< novice> Is anybody here?!?!
* novice has left #ubuntu-foo
The first question can really be anything relevant to -foo, but the end result is all too common; the person leaves before anyone glances at the channel to respond. You might imagine it's a simple problem to solve with more peoplepower, but it's more a question of latency than throughput. So having tools to handle that latency is nice.
A remote server running sshd
An account on said server
Screen and irssi installed on said server
ssh client on your local machine
Steps to take
ssh into the remote server: ssh host.com
run screen: screen -S irc
run irc: irssi -C freenode.net
Hit Control-A followed by D to detach from the screen session. Irssi will continue running until you reattach
set up an GNOME launcher with the following command:
gnome-terminal -e "ssh -t host.com screen -d -r"
- Click the icon, authenticate with the ssh server and presto, IRC as if you never left
Tips for maximal enjoyment
Public Key encryption can make life a bit simpler
Control-A followed by ? (question mark) will bring up the help dialog for screen
alt-3 switches to window 3 in irssi, and so on. This continues for the qwerty row as well
screen -x will attach multiple connections to the same session instead of disconnecting the others
This page has a more detailed description of the above
Now you can just ask questions without having to leave, or monitor a channel for relevant questions and messages without missing anything. Traditionally, putting a nick in a message highlights the line on the intended recipient's screen, or does other interesting things. A common technique to establish rendezvous over IRC is a simple ping:
crweb: ping? I have a question about Qt on embedded
If nobody gets back to you immediately, be prepared to wait, especially on relatively small and slow channels. If you need to shut down your local computer, just hit Control+A D to detach. On busy channels like #ubuntu, it's wise to use nick: highlighting to sort out your conversation from the others.