How To Install Irssi

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  • Q: What is Irssi?
    • A: Irssi is a terminal based IRC client for UNIX systems. It also supports SILC and ICB protocols via plugins.

What you will need

  1. A copy of irssi compiled for Intel OS X.
  2. An AppleTV set up with SSH access.
  3. Some spare time.


As with anything in Unix, there's usually a few ways to do things. Clearly things will differ if you have your own username set up on the AppleTV, if you set up a different sshd, if you used a pre-authorized key, and so on. I will center this on how-to from a relatively stock OS X perspective.

Extracting the files

First, unarchive the file on your local machine:

tar jxfv irssi-0.8.11-osx.tar.bz2


Use scp (or your favorite ftp or sftp client, such as Cyberduck on OS X, or FileZilla on Windows - see their instructions) to transfer them to your AppleTV. In the following examples, replace with whatever your AppleTV's address is. On OS X, open up and do:

scp -1r irssi-0.8.11-osx frontrow@


Now, log in to your AppleTV with SSH:

ssh frontrow@

Once you're in, do:

cd irssi-0.8.11-osx
sudo ./installme

Environment settings

Now you may create a file called .profile in your home directory, either by using nano and pasting the following, or just do:

echo export PATH="/bin:/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin" > ~/.profile

CAUTION! This will erase the previous contents of your ~/.profile file, if one already existed!

There is also a more global way of doing this, if you set up your path in the file /etc/profile

Running it

Now just run irssi, or better yet, screen irssi and you have a text-mode IRC client on your AppleTV! Now you can chat with me on #AwkwardTV! The basics of using screen is to type Ctrl+A then Ctrl+D and you can exit out of things, but leave Irssi running. Next time you need to access it, SSH back in to your AppleTV and type screen -rd and boom!