IRC Guide

The OpenStack Project makes heavy use of Freenode IRC. While the canonical reference for Freenode is found in the Freenode Knowledgebase, this document contains some more specific information for those who are new to IRC and would like to know more about common OpenStack practices.

As of August 1, 2018 all OpenStack IRC channels require users to register their nickname in order to join channels. Unregistered users will be redirected to #openstack-unregistered which has the above link in the channel topic. This was unfortunately required as a result of spam.

Channel Logging

OpenStack IRC Channels and OpenStack IRC Meetings are logged to eavesdrop.

Just Start Talking

Also known as “No Naked Pings”.

When interacting with other OpenStack Developers over IRC, just start talking. Starting with “ping”, “hi, are you there?” or “do you have a minute?” might seem polite, but it’s actually more distracting. If you have a question, just ask it.

Be prepared that it might not get answered the first time as people tend to multi-task. It’s ok to re-ask after a while, but try to be aware if there is a lot of activity going on that the person or people you are looking for may not be in a position to answer right at that moment.

Talking to specific people

To talk to a specific person, prefix the line with their name. For instance, to ask mordred a question:

mordred: I’m having a problem with this patch,, could you help me figure out it?

It is not required or useful to prefix someone’s name with an @, it’s just extra typing and looks weird in IRC clients.

Use a pastebin for communicating long content

OpenStack runs a pastebin service that can be used for pasting content and then getting a link that can be copied into IRC. Pasting more than one or two lines floods the channel and makes other communication difficult.

Technical Support

The OpenStack Infra team is responsible for maintaining the developer infrastructure systems used by the OpenStack project. The team is in the #openstack-infra channel. As they are technical support for the entire OpenStack project, the channel can be quite busy. However, they are there to help, so if you have issues, asking in #openstack-infra is completely appropriate. Just remember that it’s best to just ask your question, and that sometimes it might be extra busy so you might need to be patient. If there is an issue that seems to require urgent attention by someone with access to one of the servers, you can mention infra-root in your message. Likewise, if you would like to get the attention of the core reviewers for one of our configuration repositories, use the keyword config-core.

Persistent Clients and IRC Bouncers

Many OpenStack developers prefer to run an “IRC Bouncer” to allow for being always connected.


It is NOT required to have a persistent IRC connection. Indeed, some developers explicitly disconnect. The information here is intended to be helpful for those who would like to have a persistent connection but are not sure how.

A common pattern is to run either weechat or irssi inside of screen or tmux on a Cloud Server or some other computer that is always connected to the Internet.

For those who prefer graphical IRC clients, another approach is to run a proxy server like ZNC or bip and connect through it.

For people who do not have access to a convenient persistent Cloud Server or do not care to manage a long-lived server, IRCCloud is a web-based IRC client that provides an optional (paid) persistent connection.


As an OpenStack developer, it may be worth the effort to find an OpenStack Cloud on which to run a bouncer. Being an OpenStack End User is a great way to ensure good context for the End User experience.