IRC stands for internet relay chat, and it is an instant message protocol that is older than your great granddaddy, probably.  It is where hackers and programmers hang out (remember that a programmer is a hacker).    This past week I finally learned why it’s soo much fun to hang out in IRC.  To start using irc, one needs an irc client, and a room to join.  IRC users generally hang out in chat rooms to talk about that room’s topic.  There’s rooms for #php, #emacs, #wordpress, etc.  But before I can continue my story, I first need to explain emacs.

So I use the text editor Emacs (and it’s sad that I am not using Emacs to write this blog post).  Emacs started out as Richard Stallman‘s programming editor, but it has since morphed into an email client, web browser, documentation viewer, word processor, accounting software, music player, calendar, etc.  Basically it is a one stop shop for all of your computing needs.

Naturally, Emacs has an irc client: erc.  I’ve been using erc for a few years, but it’s hard to configure (honestly Pidgin is a better beginner irc client).  For some reason erc would not authenticate me to  It would let me chat sure, but it would not let me use my chosen nickname.   grrr.

This is a problem, because some chat rooms won’t let you join, unless you are authenticated!  So I could not join the #emacs room to complain about #erc.

“So how can I fix this?”  I ask myself.

Since I was alone at the time, I also answered myself, “I know! M-x helm-info-erc RET t”

This let me open the info documentation for erc inside Emacs.  After a bit of searching I found this:


— User Option: erc-prompt-for-password
If non-‘nil’ (the default), ‘M-x erc’ prompts for a password.

If you prefer, you can set this option to ‘nil’ and use the
‘auth-source’ mechanism to store your password. For instance, if you
use ‘~/.authinfo’ as your auth-source backend, then put something like the following in that file:

machine login “#emacs” password sEcReT

So naturally I added these lines to my .authinfo.gpg.   And I still could not get authenticated to irc.  Sure, I could do a M-x erc and manually enter in my username and password each time, but that’s too tedious.  So I asked around on the irc room, and someone recommended that I change the lines to:

machine password PASSWORD port 6667
machine password PASSWORD port 6697

Then miraculously erc worked flawlessly!  I’m really grateful to the people on erc, who were so helpful!

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