What is BitlBee?
BitlBee brings IM (instant messaging) to IRC clients. It's a great solution for people who have an IRC client running all the time and don't want to run an additional MSN/AIM/whatever client.
BitlBee currently supports the following IM networks/protocols: XMPP/Jabber (including Google Talk), MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM and ICQ, and the Twitter microblogging network (plus all other Twitter API compatible services like identi.ca and status.net).
How to use it?
Just install the program and connect to the BitlBee server with your favourite IRC-client. You will be force-joined into the control channel where root (the bot, your assistant, the bee) will try to help you to get the program working.
As soon as you get your accounts working, you can add users to your contact list and talk to them, just like you normally do on IRC. Open a query, talk to the person in the channel, or even talk to them in groupchats that will look to you like just another IRC channel.
If you don't want to (or can't) install BitlBee on your own machine you can also use one of the public servers. If you use Windows, this is the preferred option, as the Win32 port isn't very reliable yet.
BitlBee 3.2.2 is available for download now. If you want to know what's new, just read the changelog. tl;dr: If you care about OTR, you do want this version.
From now on, new versions will only be announced via the Twitter account, because really these news posts were just a third rehashing of the changelog.
BitlBee 3.2.1 fixes Twitter issues
BitlBee 3.2.1 was just released, which should fix compatibility issues with Twitter introduced by HTTP/1.0 deprecation.
If you're using im.bitlbee.org or testing.bitlbee.org you shouldn't have to do anything, they're already updated.
Facebook chat disabled for no clear reason
If you're having troubles using Facebook chat with BitlBee, that's a known issue. Facebook have revoked BitlBee's API keys last night without giving any reason. All I received is two mysterious e-mails. Also, my Facebook account was disabled. But that might have been for different reasons since I don't remember the last time I used it. TBH I'm impressed I recognised enough pictures of my contacts to be able to restore it. :>
To make matters worse, in their communication to users connected to their chat from BitlBee, they say "You can contact the app admin for more information". I can assure you, I know as much as you do.
I've heard rumours that a whole bunch of chat apps were disabled, not just BitlBee. No clue what's going on, but in the meantime you can switch back to password-based authentication.
No clue whether it will come back. I've clicked the Appeal button so let's find out whether anyone reads what ends up there other than character device 1:3. We'll see, I'm not going to waste too much effort on it myself.
Update: As always, pay attention to the date on posts like this. This problem got resolved within a day or so IIRC.
Now available: BitlBee 3.2. Get it while it's hot! It adds support for Twitter API version 1.1, which will be required from March this year. But even without that it's a huge improvement over previous versions, with support for the streaming API and direct messages.
BitlBee 3.0.6 is available for download now. If you want to know what's new, just read the changelog.
(Yes, this post is a copy-paste of the one for the last release. :-)
BitlBee 3.0.5 is available for download now. If you want to know what's new, just read the changelog.
If you have problems keeping your Twitter connection open, this is a known issue caused by bad behaviour on Twitter's end. In some cases this may also cause crashes due to faulty error handling in BitlBee.
A fix to work around this annoying behaviour was committed to bzr and is live on the two main public servers for a while now. Also, the nightly builds have the fix.
If the problems with Twitter persist, a 3.0.5 release may come soon.
It took a while, but BitlBee 3.0.4 is finally ready. Get it while it's hot, if you aren't already running bzr snapshots anyway. :-)
BitlBee 3.0.3 is ready. Rushed out a bit because Twitter broke for many of us. This release should fix it, by using the "new" and preferred way to download your contact list.
For now, you should also be able to use the following work-around to make older versions work: account twitter set base_url http://api.twitter.com/1. This workaround isn't perfect though. Please upgrade, if you can.
3.0.3 has some other nice changes. If you want to know it all, just read the changelog.
Keeping it short again: BitlBee 3.0.2 is ready! Mostly bug fixes, and a few new toys.
BitlBee 3.0.1 is ready! Mostly bug fixes, not a lot of new stuff.
As you may or may not know, AOL sold ICQ a little while ago. The new owner, DST, is moving the service to their own servers around now. The result is that you (or at least some people) can no longer log into ICQ via the AOL servers.
BitlBee currently defaults to using login.messaging.aol.com for all OSCAR accounts, both AIM and ICQ. This is fixed in bzr. You don't have to upgrade to get ICQ to work again, just tell BitlBee to use login.icq.com again. You can do this using a command like this:
acc icq set server login.icq.com
See help account set for details; if you don't run BitlBee 3.0 yet, or if you have multiple ICQ accounts, this may not work.
BitlBee 3.0, more Bitl than ever.
Finally, the next major release is there! Almost five years after the last major release, it was about time. Who would've thought that this one would take even longer than going from 0.7 to 1.0 (which "only" took three years)?
There are so many changes in this version, including some very old major requests like a complete core rewrite, OTR encryption, a significant upgrade of the MSN protocol module, optional support for libpurple, file transfers.. The last one used to be the "Duke Nukem Forever" in the BitlBee community. Looks like we won!
This all seems enough to bump the major version number. Since, looking at the timing of previous versions, it's waaaay late to release a BitlBee 2 at this point, let's go for 3.0 immediately. :-)
For the curious, there's also a short screencast that demonstrates some of the new features. If you haven't tried the multi-channel stuff yet, do take a look!
Anyway, go and download the thing. Many people were running this stuff from Bazaar already, so join the club. :-) Have fun, and thanks everyone for your continued support! (And in all modesty, let me remind you guys that we're also on Flattr. :-)