Weechat setup for IRC in tmux via SSH


Joining some IRC channels was something that I wanted to do for a long time. But just using a regular client on my laptop does not work, because IRC does not store messages for later delivery. Since my Laptop is often not connected to the IRC server for various reasons I had to find a workaround for that. So I gave the Weechat + tmux + ssh setup a try.

I started with a debian VM that is online 24/7. Then I installed Weechat and tmux:

apt install weechat-curses weechat-plugins tmux

Now I needed a user to log in as via SSH and to run Weechat. After that lingering has to be enabled so that the user is allowed to run systemd user services while not being logged in.

loginctl enable-linger $USERNAME

The systemd service is basically copied from the Arch Linux Wiki and looks like this:

Description=A WeeChat client and relay service using Tmux

ExecStart=/usr/bin/tmux -L weechat new -d -s weechat weechat
ExecStop=/usr/bin/tmux -L weechat kill-session -t weechat


This unit file is stored as ~/.config/systemd/user/weechat.service

The important part is the tmux -L weechat in the commands in the unit file. For reasons explained further in the Arch Linux wiki article the way systemd starts services would kill the tmux session in which weechat is started after startup. With -L weechat a socket called weechat is used instead of default one which is not impacted by the systemd behavior.

To enable and start the service use

systemctl --user enable weechat.service
systemctl --user start weechat.service

There should now be a tmux sesson with Weechat inside.

Connecting to it is possible via tmux -L weechat attach To make sure that systemd works as intended reboot the VM and check again.

After that some work has to be done to make it easier to access the tmux session. I started with a script like this on the server:


tmux -L weechat attach

stored in /usr/local/bin/weechat-connect so I dont have to type in the long tmux command every time.

Then I wanted to start this as if was a regular programm on my laptop. So I made a script

alacritty -e ssh -t <USERNAME>@<SERVER> weechat-connect

and put it somewhere in my path. alacritty is my terminal emulator, if you use something else just use it. The -e is just the "run this command" option. I hope that every terminal emulator has a similar option, just pick the right one.

Running weechat on my laptop attaches me to the WeeChat running in the tmux session via SSH. Since the SSH connection might die every now and then I might switch to mosh instead of ssh in the future.