Introduction to Bitlbee

Quote from Bitlbee homepage

BitlBee brings IM (instant messaging) to IRC clients. It’s a great solution for people who have an IRC client running all the time and don’t want to run an additional MSN/AIM/whatever client.
BitlBee currently supports the following IM networks/protocols: XMPP/Jabber (including Google Talk), MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM and ICQ, and the Twitter microblogging network (plus all other Twitter API compatible services like and

In short, Bitlbee is an IRC server where you can connect to and use it with your IRC clients to connect to other chat services like Yahoo, FB, Gtalk,…

Bitlbee Homepage:


First you need to install MacPort, a package manager for Mac OS. Simply download the installation package here and install it into your computer.

After finishing MacPort installation, open Terminal and type in this command

$ sudo port install bitlbee

Provide it your root password and wait until MacPort successfully installed bitlbee for you.

If you run bitlbee immediately, you will receive a message that btlbee cannot read the config. We need some extra steps.


Next, we need to have the bitlbee.conf file to store all the config of bitlbee. Open up terminal again, cd to the this directory

$ cd /opt/local/etc/bitlbee

Type ls and press return, you will see a file named bitlbee.conf.sample here. This is a sample of the config file. What we need to do now is to rename it to remove the .sample trailing. Issue this command to rename it

$ sudo mv bitlbee.conf.sample bitlbee.conf

Type ls again and hit return to see if the file name is successfully changed.

Now you can run bitlbee, but wait! If you connect to bitlbee server and register an account there, it will return an error that the program does not have enough permission. The solution is that change bitlbee to run on your user account. Run this command in terminal

$ whoami

The ouput result is your current username. Write it down for later use.

Continue run this command to edit the bitlbee.conf file

$ sudo emacs bitlbee.conf

Find this line

# RunMode = Inetd

and change it to

RunMode = ForkDaemon

Next, find this line

# User = bitlbee

and change to

User = your-user-name

Replace your-user-name with your username. Actually, when installing bitlee, it will create a user named bitlbee however I don’t know why on my Mac it didn’t so I let it run as my username.

The rest just leave it unchanged. Press Ctrl-x Ctrl-s to save the file and then Ctrl-x Ctrl-c to exit emacs.

Finally, you need to change the owner of the directories that bitlbee uses to your account. Open Terminal and execute those commands

$ sudo chown -R your-user-name /opt/local/etc/bitlbee
$ sudo chown -R your-user-name /opt/local/var/lib/bitlbee

Replace your-user-name and your-group-name in the commands above with your user name and group name.

Now you’re ready to run bitlbee by typing bitlbee into terminal and hit return.

This little stuff took me more than 1 hours to install and config. Why it’s so complicated! >.<