Ratchet

Ratchet (formerly rirc) was the first icecap client available, written by Andrew "Vagabond" Thompson. Its written in Ruby and uses the ruby/gtk2 bindings for its UI.

Here's a Screenshot, and now, a Newer One.

TODO: finish the rest of the page restructure

Ratchet and SSH

The following section applies ONLY to ssh on *nix. Windows ssh is unsupported at this time.

Irssi2 is designed, and possibly best used, running on a remote machine, so that you can connect to it from wherever you are, and so that you can turn your laptop/desktop off without missing messages, or losing the abilty to remotely connect. Ratchet supports connecting to irssi2 over ssh quite well, provided you set things up.

If you're using public key auth with no passwords, Ratchet should connect out of the box, there should be no issues.

However if you need to type a password or a key passphrase, you'll need to set up ssh-askpass.

  1. Install a ssh-askpass program, the two I am aware of are x11-ssh-askpass and gtk2-ssh-askpass. Your distro probably provides something.

  2. Set your enviroment to have SSH_ASKPASS to be the path to your askpass binary 'export SSH_ASKPASS=/usr/bin/x11-ssh-askpass', you should probably do this in ~/.bashrc or whatever...
  3. It should now work. Ratchet will popup a ssh_askpass dialog when it tries to connect, just type in the password/passphrase and you're done.

Frequently Asked Questions

Not sure really, haven't had an awful lot yet :). I'll make up a few tho, feel free to add some.

Q : Can I write a plugin?

A : Yes you can, the plugin framework has kinda stabilised and I no longer see any major problems with it (there may be problems I don't see however). There is no documentation for writing one yet tho but you can look at the sample plugins below, and ask me for more details if you're interested in writing one. I make no gurantees about interface stability tho, I'll still break things as I see the need, but it probably won't be major changes.(revised 10/9/05)

Q : Can I contribute

A : Yes, help with coding, bugreports and even feature requests are much appreciated. Don't expect prompt action on the latter however, unless its a feature I like or you bribe me into doing it sooner rather then later :)

Q: Does it run on <Unix/Linux flavour>?

A : Its known to run on Gentoo, Debian, Ubuntu, FreeBSD and Slackware, I have not tried anywhere else or heard any reports of sucess, but I guess most Debian based distros should work (Ubuntu, Knoppix, etc). I don't believe its been tried on any of the BSDs, and I think you'd have to roll the ruby-gtk2 bindings by hand for Mac OSX. If you do get it working anywhere else, or if it fails even tho all the deps are *correctly* installed, let me know so I can add more working/broken platforms.

Q : How do you plan on doing ICQ/MSN/Jabber based conversations?

A : I'm not sure yet, doing them like /msg might work but could be tricky...

Q : Why Ruby/GTK or Why didn't you use X toolkit or Y language? Ruby/GTK sucks!

A : I didn't want to write it in C/C++, PHP is very unsuitable, Python has some idosyncrasies that annoy me, I don't like java, I don't know perl (and from looking at code examples, I didn't want to learn). I had however been looking at Ruby as a language to play with, and as I find there's no better way to learn a language then to do something for real in it I decided that's what I'd use. I can honestly say I haven't regretted it, aside from the problem of Ruby's smaller installbase. (Principle of least surprise rocks!)

As far as the toolkit goes, I wanted something that was reasonably platform independant, something with ruby bindings, and something fairly widely used. GTK fit the bill nicely, and I have also had some experience with it in the past. I could have used QT, but due to its nasty windows licencing until recently it has less of an installbase there, the fact that I don't even have QT installed here, the fact that QT runs slower in openbox then GTK and the fact that GTK doesn't restrict my licencing options I picked what I picked.

If you don't like it, fork the code or do a client yourself :)

TroubleShooting

Ratchet, as alpha grade software relying on another alpha program is inherently unstable. However I use it exclusively as my IRC client and have done so for some time. If you're not adverse to bleeding edge software I encourage you to experiment with it.

For information on recent changes see the ChangeLog.

Before reporting a bug please check the bugs section in the TODO.

To report a bug, the preferred method is to submit in #icecap on freenode. I can also be reached by emailing vagabond (at) cataclysm-software.net

Clients/Ratchet (last edited 2009-03-15 22:42:40 by localhost)