The Lounge web IRC client in Fedora

My graphics card died and thanks to COVID and Bitcoin, it will be a long wait until it’s back. I am on Mac M1 at the moment and it looks like there are not many good IRC clients on MacOS.

Let’s run a simple web-based IRC client which can also work as a bouncer (no need of ZNC). I randomly selected one which is called The Lounge, looks nice and works okay for me. This one is written in NodeJS and since there is no package in Fedora, I’ve decided to build it via yarn. It needs only one native dependency I think - sqlite3 so do not expect any problems on that front:

# dnf install nodejs yarn sqlite-devel
# dnf groupinstall "Development Tools"
# mkdir ~/.thelounge
# cd ~/.thelounge
# yarn add thelounge

If you prefer installing it into /usr/local then run yarn global add thelounge.

Create a user service, I will be running it as a regular user:

# cat /home/lzap/.config/systemd/user/thelounge.service
Description=The Lounge IRC client
ExecStart=/home/lzap/.thelounge/node_modules/.bin/thelounge start

Start it to create a default configuration file:

# systemctl --user daemon-reload
# systemctl --user enable --now thelounge

Optionally, stop the service for now and review the configuration. There are couple of things I recommend to tune. By default the service listens on HTTP (9090), no HTTPS is configured, it stores all logs in both sqlite3 and text files and it is configured as “private” instance, meaning you need to login with a username and password:

# vim ~/.thelounge/config.js

Create new user:

# ~/.thelounge/node_modules/.bin/thelounge add lzap

Visit http://localhost:9090 or https://localhost:9090 if you’ve configured SSL. There you can create one or more IRC connections, join all channels, everything will be written into a separate ~/.thelounge/users/user.js configuration file which is nice. If you disabled sqlite3 logging, everything is stored in text files which I appreciate a lot.

If you want a simple letsencrypt tutorial for Fedora, read my prevous blog post:

# grep "https: {" -A5  ~/.thelounge/config.js
  https: {
    enable: true,
    key: "/etc/pki/tls/private/",
    certificate: "/var/lib/acme/certs/",
    ca: "",

No intermediate CAs are needed for letsencrypt so you can leave the field blank. Have fun.