Linkinus: Bringing IRC Into the 21st Century

IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is a great way to learn, share, and chat with others on similar areas of interest. There are a number of Mac and web applications for accessing this huge online community, but Linkinus from Conceited Software is now one of the more full featured out there.

This article will take a look at how to get going on IRC using Linkinus, what the app can do, and some advanced tips and tricks.

Getting Started

The first time you launch Linkinus, you will be asked to enter a username you would like to use. If you are already registered on an IRC network, you can enter passwords here as well.

After completing that, the main window will reveal itself with a collection of various IRC networks that you can join. Double clicking on one of these will connect you up with the network.

From here you can browse a full list of channels, or join a specific one. Unfortunately, you can’t search the channel list until it has fully loaded which can take a while. When setting up with IRC its a good idea to know at least what type of channels you wish to join so you know what to look for.

Welcome Screen

Welcome Screen

Features & Functionality

Linkinus packs a fantastic set of features, many of which aren’t found in other IRC clients. Here’s some of the ones which stand out:

Groups

If you have multiple chats open at the same time, rather than switching between them, you can actually view them side by side by selecting them all while holding down the command key.

This is great, and even allows you to save different Groups for instant access to multiple chats at a later time.

Groups

Groups

Remain Connected

Linkinus can stay rolling on IRC after you quit the application by keeping a small icon in the menu bar. This way, when you open it up again later, all messages that took place while closed will be there as though you never left.

Stars & Highlights

Highlighting is a common feature across most IRC clients. If someone uses your name, it will be highlighted so that you don’t miss the message. Linkinus also includes a nice feature called ‘Starring’ which is the equivalent of bookmarking a message for later reference. To star a message, all you have to do is click on the username next to it.

Embedded Graphics

I was very impressed when I saw someone share an image inside IRC. Unlike most other clients which simply provide a link, Linkinus actually embeds the graphic inside the chat so you can see it without having to open a new window in your browser. This even works for elements like YouTube videos!

Embedded Graphics

Embedded Graphics

Preferences

The Preferences in Linkinus are filled with a huge range of customization. In fact there are so many different options they couldn’t fit them all in the toolbar (not usually a good sign!)

You can change the style of how the app displays, including alternative themes, or edit status messages, colors, and sounds. You can also have Linkinus work seamlessly with Growl notifications, and so much more!

Something that is worth sharing that annoyed me when I first set up Linkinus is that all server messages create their own chat with a badge of unread messages next to them. To make these go away, or at least hide them, go into the ‘Miscellaneous’ tab and switch “Show Incoming Notices” to “In the network’s console”. This should take effect after you close all open server chats and relaunch.

Preferences

Preferences

Fun Tips

It’s great to see the team at Conceited Software have a sense of humor. They have included a fun set of scripts you can use inside your chats – some useful, and some just purely entertaining.

For example, typing “/abrb” will leave a random funny message such as “brb – The FBI just called, I’m wanted for a special mission.” Along with these, you can get quotes off Homer from The Simpsons or Bender from Futurama, reverse your text, or even flip it!

These scripts also serve a useful purpose though, letting you know the weather, Googling for you, or listing your current open applications in the dock.

Scripts

Scripts

Support

Being an IRC application, Linkinus offers excellent support from right within the app itself. Just log into their channel, and you can ask a question to anyone of the 40 or so helpful users and developers in there. They also offer a great wiki for starting out.

Conclusion

There are a couple of minor things which annoy me about Linkinus. The first is that when typing long messages, the text field doesn’t grow taller as it does in other apps, meaning you can’t see your entire message at once until posted. The second is even more minor, but I can’t say I’m a big of the sound alerts included in the app.

Linkinus is definitely an excellent option to check out if you use IRC or want to try it out. I occasionally use it to get instant feedback or technical support from lots of helpful and willing people on specific topics.

This is a very full featured IRC client, and worthy of its €19.99 (approx. $27 US) price tag. They have a free 15 day trial, so have a play and let us know what you think of it, or how you like to use IRC!


Summary

Linkinus takes IRC to a new, more useful, level. It brings the style you'd expect from a Mac application to an ageing technology, and certainly offers solid value for money.

8
  • http://bfred.it bayxsonic

    Yeah, it’s pretty and everything but it’s not that great. eg: The input box doesn’t expand as you type something, so you find yourself having to go back and forth.

  • http://malumelegans.com Jonas Wisser

    Linkinus is horribly buggy and its developers are no longer responsive, although they used to be. If you want stability and support, go with Colloquy; if you look around, you can find some pretty nice themes for it.

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    Colloquy does the same or maybe even more :)

  • http://www.iynque.com iynque

    I’m on IRC all the time with Colloquy… giving this a try :o

  • http://www.realityloop.com Realityloop

    I’m a registered user of Linkinus but recently switched to LimeChat which is free and in my opinion better than both Colloquy and Linkinus
    http://limechat.net/mac/

  • Pingback: Linkinus: AppStorm Review « IRCReport: Blog

  • kuh

    I can see from the glowing review that either you didn’t use it very long or it is just your nature to post high marks for all the software you review (not sure which). But i think you’ll find if you use it for an extended period of time that Linkinus leaves a great deal to be desired.

    First of all, i should say that although i do have TONS of issues with Linkinus, i must admit that it is still the best IRC client at the moment for OS X. Colloquy is hideous, buggy, and un-intuitive, and hasn’t seen a significant update in something like 5 years; LimeChat and MacIrssi are nearly featureless (although they have potential); and despite the fact that i spend tons of time in the terminal every single day, i find that console-based IRC applications are horrible, mostly because they lack the ability to use the Cocoa text system.

    But anyway. Here is a laundry list of issues i have with Linkinus:

    1. It’s ridiculously resource-intensive for an IRC client. If that just meant high RAM usage (like Firefox), that would be fine, but resource-intensive in this case means that SO much is going on that the application is extremely slow and repeatedly locks up. There has been a persistent bug that many users have reported where the interface locks up repeatedly as you’re typing in the channel; the developers have made a few very brief responses, but the issue has persisted for every single version since 2.0. Also, trying to launch the Log Viewer most of the time is like a 45-second affair, it’s just so ridiculously slow.

    2. The application has a lot of great features in theory, but many of them don’t work in practice. Flood protection exacerbates the slowness issue i mentioned above, so you’re pretty much forced to turn it off. The right-click whois screen is slow and doesn’t work on any network i’ve tried it on. The rich-text Log Viewer, although it has seen improvements recently, is ungodly slow and uses an enormous amount of disk space.

    3. Linkinus lacks many features that are common for other IRC clients. For example, Linkinus does not support channel linkification. (In almost all GUI IRC clients, if someone mentions another channel in chat, the client allows you to click the channel name to join it. Linkinus’s support for this feature is broken.) Related to that problem is the fact that Linkinus’s support for IRC URIs (e.g. when clicking irc:// links in Firefox or Safari) is half-assed and only works in the most ideal circumstances. Additionally it appears to be unable to show users’ host masks when they join/part/quit.

    4. There is little documentation. The only written support available is a wiki on their Web site; the vast majority of this hasn’t been updated since the 1.x series, and anything that has been updated is so rudimentary that you could probably consider it place-holder text. This also extends, notably, to the documentation on theme and plug-in creation.

    5. The activation feature is extremely over-zealous, almost to the point of Adobe-like absurdity. It hasn’t inconvenienced pirates at all as far as i can see from the torrent sites i visit, but the forum is certainly not void of LEGITIMATE customers complaining about it.

    6. The frequency of releases is extremely slow, especially given that the application is clearly not mature at all. When a new version IS released, it usually contains only a handful of very very small changes that nobody cares about.

    7. And this is the most important part: THE DEVELOPERS DO NOT CARE AND ARE COMPLETELY UNRESPONSIVE.

    Conceited only have a single person who responds to questions and support threads consistently, and as far as i can tell that person has absolutely no connection to the internal workings of the company. He is not a developer, he can’t help with order-related issues, he has little to no knowledge of the release schedule, he doesn’t even appear to have any special insight into how to use the application. He certainly tries, i can’t deny that, but he is essentially just another user, so despite his efforts he is usually unhelpful.

    The developers themselves grace the forums maybe once every month or two, usually to post an unhelpful two- or three-sentence suggestion that amounts to ‘try the beta version’ or ‘can you use the bug tracker to report this?’, and then they disappear again.

    Whilst we’re on the subject, the bug tracker is utterly useless. I have posted literally dozens of bugs to it, some of them fairly serious, and only one or two have even been acknowledged, let alone resolved. In my experience the vast majority of bug reports are ignored.

    Of course, i have no idea what’s going on in the developers’ lives. Maybe it’s a side-project for them, maybe they’ve dedicated their entire lives to helping disabled senior citizens and they’ve only got time to work on Linkinus on their holidays, i don’t know. If this were a freeware or open-source project, then i would understand, no matter what the excuse was. But it’s not. It’s a commercial product. You pay real money for it, with the expectation that the software will be updated and supported and that the developers will at least acknowledge — and possibly address — your problems. But that doesn’t happen. They just can’t be arsed.

    So, again, although i must reluctantly admit that Linkinus is over-all the best IRC client for OS X, i would NOT suggest purchasing it unless you (a) absolutely can not deal with the limitations of the other clients and (b) are willing to live with the fact that your 20 euros will not guarantee any kind of support or acknowledgement of your concerns from the developers.

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  • http://www.iynque.com iynque

    Now that I’ve been using it daily for a while, I have to say that while it’s pretty and feature-rich, it just doesn’t work as well as Colloquy, which is free. Both Colloquy and Linkinus have their bugs, but Colloquy is a solid client that works smarter and costs you nothing.

    Basically, Colloquy is a delight to use because of some obvious thought and intelligence in it’s basic workings that Linkinus is ignorant of.

  • Donovan Roddy

    This company sucks, MAJOR. I’ve purchased linkinus and was having none stop issues with it and was requesting support and never, seriously “NEVER” got a response back. I tried via email, I tried looking up the companies information online to see if there was a phone, I twitter them and no one ever responded to me. If you’re planning on buying this product or any product they sell be weary guys, do your research first, try contacting them and look for a real business location, etc.

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