How to Install Srain IRC Client on Debian/Arch Linux

Srain is an IRC client written in GTK+ 3. It has an intuitive and easy to use interface. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is an application layer protocol that facilitates communication in the form of text. The chat process in IRC uses a client/server networking model.

Srain is an IRC client application that a user can install on their system. The client application then communicates with the chat servers to transfer messages to other clients that are connected to the server as well. IRC was mainly designed for group chats, normally referred to as channels. But it also supports one-to-one communication via private messaging.

Main features of Srain

  • It is fully open source
  • It is compatible with RFC - 1459 and 2812
  • Has a convenient connection panel
  • Supports message forwarding, image previewing from URL and direct upload of images
  • Can be operated purely on the command line
  • Has easy to extend configurations and python plugins

Installing Srain

There are two ways of installing Srain. One of them is using ready binary packages, and an alternative method is building the application from source files. Installing from binary is faster and safer than building it from source code. The catch is that there is no active maintainer for Debian binary packages, so we'll be better off building from source. For Arch, the package is available on the official upstream repositories.

Installing Srain on Arch

The fastest way to get strain up and running on Arch is by pulling the app from upstream repositories. This is done by running the following commands.

$ yaourt -S srain
$ yaourt -S srain-git # git version

If you don't have yaourt installed, refer to 2 Methods to Install Yaourt on Arch Linux guide by Alain Francois. Yaourt will offload the task of building from source for you. It will build the source files and build a binary package to be run by the Operating system.

You can as well build it from source by following the steps one by one. First get the dependencies installed:

# pacman -S make gcc pkg-config imagemagick git # building
# pacman -S gettext glib-networking gtk3 python curl libsoup libnotify libconfig

Once the deps are okay, proceed to build the application. Make sure you download the latest compressed package.

$ git clone
$ cd srain
$ $ ./configure --prefix=/usr/local --config-dir=/usr/local/etc
$ make
# make install

To install documents, run:

$ make doc
# make install-doc

You should now have strain properly installed and ready to be used. To launch it, you can either use your Desktop Environment application such functionality or the use the command line interface.

$ strain

Installing Srain on Debian 9

As mentioned earlier, there is no active maintainer for deb packages. So we'll install this from source files. Ensure all the dependencies needed for the build are installed.

# apt-get install make gcc pkg-config imagemagick gettext libgtk-3-dev>=3.16 \
libpython3-dev python3-dev libcurl4-dev libsoup2.4-dev libnotify-dev libconfig-dev>=1.5 \
glib-networking libgtk3.0-0>=3.16 python3 libcurl4 libsoup2.4 libnotify4 libconfig9>=1.5

Once all installed, clone the application and build it.

$ git clone
$ cd srain
$ $ ./configure --prefix=/usr/local --config-dir=/usr/local/etc
$ make
# make install

To install documents, run:

$ make doc
# make install-doc

Strain should be installed now on your Debian 9 Distribution.

Launching  Srain application

After the Installation of Srain, you will find Srain in your applications list, if not, just type srain in your shell to run it. Then you will see Srain’s initial interface.

Using Srain

Before you can start sending messages with Srain, you need to connect to IRC server. freenode is a famous IRC network, the official channel of Srain #srain is also hosted on it. Let’s start by connecting to freenode. To add the server,  start by:

Click the connection button on the Srain header bar > Predefined Server > freenode from candidate box with label “Server”, enter your nickname, then click the “Connect” button. You should be connected to the server in no time. See below image for visualization:

Once connected, you should start seeing some messages on freenode server. If the server you want to connect is not listed, you can add it to a custom server. This is done on Custom Server page, enter the hostname and relevant port of your IRC server. Then click connect button.

To join a channel, click the join button, select the page “Join Channel”, enter the channel name in the input entry with label “Channel”, then click the “Join” button.

For further reading, visit the official Command manual and Preference manual. The reference manual is good for you if you need to further customize Srain. Hope this guide has been beneficial. If you encounter any issues and need our help, please drop a comment and we'll be happy to assist.

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