Please note that PhoeBox is no longer developed.

Download PhoeBox 7.06 - diff between 7.05 and 7.06 (11 March 2001)
Read about what is new in the version.


About PhoeBox

Starting July 2001, I do not maintain nor use PhoeBox anymore. If you are interested in using PhoeBox, then I suggest you start using irssi which is an excellent, light IRC client, and will give you all the features PhoeBox provides. For the PhoeBox users, here is a PhoeBox theme for irssi.

PhoeBox is an ircII script that I use daily and that I have been working on since 1997. It does what I need, and doesn't do anything else.

It was started using bits and pieces of some scripts that I liked:

However, those scripts had too many useless features (at leats to my taste) and things that I didn't like, so I decided to merge all the characteristics that I liked and to drop all of the others. As of today, there isn't much code left from PhoeBox 1.0 (i.e. from Phoenix or Textbox). The script was named PhoeBox as a tribute to Phoenix and Textbox.

PhoeBox used to work with the ircII client. It now requires EPIC.


IRC text clients are really powerful. However, their usability is often limited. This is the aim of PhoeBox: making EPIC easy to use.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of what PhoeBox provides:

Color support
IRC in black & white is not really readable.
Text highlighting
If someone talks to you in public, you will be warned (with colors and/or beeps).
Public & private nick history
When somebody talks to you, you can recall his/her nick by pressing one key (tab for public messages, ^W for private messages).
Channels attached to windows
Channel do not travel from window to window just by switching channel. Note that EPIC4 1.1 will have such a feature by default.
Nick completion
Press ^T and the script will complete the nick you were writing.
Away facilities
The messages (both private and public) sent to you which you are away are saved. The script automatically sets you away and logs messages if you are idle more than a specified time.
Lag counter
Evaluates the response time of the IRC server you are connected to to detect if you are lagging.
Encoding support
PhoeBox understands morse, TextBox encoding, Rot13 encoding.
Permanent display of the topic in the status bar
If somebody changes the topic while you where not loiking at your IRC client, you can still view it in the status bar.
Logging facilities
PhoeBox allows you to log your IRC sessions in the native IRC format with timestamps, that you can then process to produce a readable form.


In the following, x.xx represents the version number (such as 6.05).

  1. Download the latest version.
  2. Uncompress the tar ball in your home directory (with tar xvzf PhoeBox-x.xx.tar.gz).
  3. Configure the script by editing config.pb. If you are not happy about the colors, you can also edit colors.pb.
  4. Configure you IRC client to load the script at start-up: add the following in your .ircrc:
       set load_path .:~/PhoeBox-x.xx
       load PhoeBox.irc

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a sentence highlighted when people talk to me?
You have to specify the correct mask in config.pb. For example, if you want PhoeBox to warn you when people say john, colonel, hannibal and smith, you should have:
^assign MASK.1 john
^assign MASK.2 colonel
^assign MASK.3 hannibal
^assign MASK.4 smith
Why can't I get my client to beep?
The standard way to mute and unmute PhoeBox is to use switch its quiet mode using the /quiet function. Originally, you could put in config.pb /assign QMODE OFF to have it beep, but the proper way to do that starting in version 7.04 is to use /quiet OFF.


PhoeBox was originally written and is maintained by Hugo Haas.

It was at some point maintained by Robert Chéramy when I didn't have time to deal with it anymore. He added the topic in the status bar.

Other contributors are: Arnaud Bienvenu (global color support since version 4.30), Samuel Hocevar and Pierre Baillet (|<oWb0y module).

The script includes code from other people (split detection, enconding functions, etc). See the source for the credits.

We hope you enjoy PhoeBox as much as we do.

What's new

Version 7.06 is a minor update of codes.pb to have the display functions show the time is SHOWTIME is enabled.

Useful stuff

Log reformatting

PhoeBox has a logging module (logging.pb) which logs IRC sessions in timestamped, raw IRC format. Here is an example:

[Wed Nov  8 10:44:11 2000] DeltaData!-Dathan@ PRIVMSG #francaise :yo 
[Wed Nov  8 10:44:45 2000] DeltaData!-Dathan@ PRIVMSG #francaise :what the hell are we going to do about sorting the .wfr when it is UTF-16 ?????
[Wed Nov  8 10:45:03 2000] hugo!hugo@localhost PRIVMSG #francaise :wfr?
[Wed Nov  8 10:45:06 2000] 305 hugo :You are no longer marked as being away
[Wed Nov  8 10:45:30 2000] DeltaData!-Dathan@ PRIVMSG #francaise :Word Frequency File  :)
[Wed Nov  8 10:48:35 2000] hugo!hugo@localhost PRIVMSG #francaise :hmmm... I don't know what it is, and I'm not sure it's a bad thing :)

I wrote, based on something by Gerald Oskoboiny, a Perl script to reformat the logs, do search queries, to reformat them:

Nov/ 8 10:44 #francaise DeltaData: yo 
Nov/ 8 10:44 #francaise DeltaData: what the hell are we going to do about
	     sorting the .wfr when it is UTF-16 ?????
Nov/ 8 10:45 #francaise      hugo: wfr?
Nov/ 8 10:45 #francaise DeltaData: Word Frequency File  :)
Nov/ 8 10:48 #francaise      hugo: hmmm... I don't know what it is, and I'm
	     not sure it's a bad thing :)

vil allows you to view your IRC logs, hence the name. For the documentation, read the source.

Previous versions (they are not all there because I lost them...)

PhoeBox 7.05 - diff between 7.04 and 7.05 (21 February 2001)

This version fixes a bug in the handling of the kick commands received and the mass op commands (/op and /massop) from war.pb are back.

Version 7.04 - diff between 7.03 and 7.04 (19 February 2001)

This version fixes a tiny bug in the quiet mode. I took the opportunity to change the configuration file. The right way to set the quiet mode is to do quiet OFF (instead of the old assign QMODE OFF).

Version 7.03 - diff between 7.02 and 7.03 (14 February 2001)

This version fixes a problem with the logging of private messages introduced in version 7.00. It also fixes other minor problems and changes a few things in the display. war.pb is gone since IRC has changed a lot in the last 4 years which is it is now obsolete.

Version 7.02 - diff between 7.01 and 7.02. (13 February 2001)

This version fixes two problems introduced in version 7.00. Version 7.00 was a major rewrite and had not been tested extensively.

It also fixes a display bug which was there since version... 4.30.

PhoeBox 7.01 - diff between 7.00 and 7.01 (12 February 2001)

This version features three minor fixes for version 7.00. Version 7.00 was a major rewrite and had not been tested extensively.

Version 7.00 - diff between 6.08 and 7.00 (11 February 2001)

Version 7.00 is a major rewrite of many functions. The reason for that is that PhoeBox was written 4 years ago with functions simple functions. EPIC4 has many advanced functions which were defined in PhoeBox, or that make the code much lighter.

I have moreover rewritten a lot of things that were not written by me and that I wasn't happy about. I believe that now I got rid of obscure legacy code.

The changes are:

The result is a better, yet lighter and faster, script.

With all the changes I made last week, I have bumped the version number to 7.00. I am pretty happy about the state the program is in now so I do not expect big changes soon. On the other hand, with so many changes, I expect a few bugs and another version soon.

Version 6.08 - diff between 6.07 and 6.08 (7 February 2001)

Version 6.08 fixes some display bugs of version 6.07. It also makes the use of a separate window for private messages options (see the SEPARATE_MSGWIN and MSGWIN_SIZE options in config.pb; this option is deactivated by default not to confuse users used to the earlier versions.

The input line now has a prompt which shows on which channel you are talking. There is a good chance that it will help people writing to the right channel, and by people I mean me.

I also cleaned up the code a little bit.

Version 6.07 - diff between 6.06 and 6.07 (6 February 2001)

PhoeBox now uses a separate window for private messages and queries. It also prints the full date for recorded messages.

Finally, it now always print the name of the channel a message is being sent to. Not doing so leads to confusion when a user joins many channels.

Version 6.06 - diff (2 February 2001)

This version fixes a few bugs.

It also binds channels to the windows they are in. It basically redifines the switch_channel command to allow the user, for example, to switch between channels #a and #b in window 1, and between channels #c and #d in window 2.

The drawback is that currently, using window commands is hazardous. I will have to fix this in a future version. I advise the user to only use ^X, ^O (^E has been freed for the end_of_line function), join and leave to move channels around. Avoid closing a non-empty window too.

Version 6.05 - diff (5 November 2000)
This version adds the possibility of having timestamps in the window.
Version 6.04
Please note that version 6.04 contains a security fix. Upgrade immediately if you were using PhoeBox 6 earlier than 6.04. Thanks to Etienne Bernard for the patch.
Version 6.03
Version 5.20
Version 5.12
Version 4.51
Version 4.50
Version 4.21

Hugo Haas <>
Last modified: $Date: 2003-11-02 00:22:54 -0800 (Sun, 02 Nov 2003) $