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Run the WeeChat IRC client with Off-the-Record (OTR) encryption.

Run from Docker Hub

A pre-built image is available on Docker Hub and can be run as follows:

docker run -t -i fstab/weechat-otr

The container will start up with the WeeChat client. Within WeeChat, configure your nick, username, realname:

/set irc.server.freenode.nicks alice
/set irc.server.freenode.username alice
/set irc.server.freenode.realname "Alice Springs"

Finally, connect to freenode:

/connect freenode

Build from Source

  1. Make sure Docker is installed.
  2. Clone docker-weechat-otr from GitHub

    git clone
  3. Build the docker image

    cd docker-weechat-otr
    docker build -t="fstab/weechat-otr" .
  4. Run a docker container with that image

    docker run -t -i fstab/weechat-otr

Use OTR Encryption

Within WeeChat, you can use OTR encryption as follows:

  1. Start a private conversation without encryption:

    /query bob hello
  2. Within the private chat buffer, start the encrypted session

    /otr start

    It may take a few seconds until the encrypted conversation is established.

For more info, run /help otr in the server buffer to view the OTR help.

Storing Configuration Permanently

The instructions above show an easy way to try out WeeChat and OTR encryption.

However, if you use WeeChat regularly, you may soon find it annoying that all data in the Docker container is lost as soon as WeeChat exits:

  • You need to configure your nick each time you start the container (/set irc.server.freenode.nicks alice)
  • WeeChat generates new OTR keys and fingerprints each time it starts.
  • All conversation logs are gone once WeeChat quits.

If you start using WeeChat regularly, you want to store data permanently. In order to do that, you need to create a directory on your host computer and map that directory to /home/guest/.weechat in the Docker container:

mkdir ~/.weechat
chmod 700 ~/.weechat
docker run -v ~/.weechat:/home/guest/.weechat -t -i fstab/weechat-otr

That way, all WeeChat data is stored in ~/.weechat on the host system, and can be re-used in the next docker run.

Why OTR?

Spiegel Online has an interesting article on how intelligence agencies crack encrypted Internet communication. As the linked documents from the Snowden archives suggest, the NSA seems to have major problems with decrypting OTR messages.

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