Happy 17th birthday BitlBee
The IRC gateway program BitlBee which allows you to talk to people on a wide range of instant messaging services from your favorite IRC client is now 17 years old. Many of the protocols it originally supported are dead but the program lives on with support for modern networks.
BitlBee lets you talk to people on XMPP (Jabber) networks as well as a wide range of other systems if the BitlBee server you use has the right plugins. There's support for Discord, Telegram, Slack, Steam to name a few. The BitlBee wiki has a full list.
We did an interview with the BitlBee developers 15 years ago titled The Future of BitlBee, the IRC Gateway for Instant Messaging protocols (MSN, ICQ, Jabber, Yahoo). Many of the protocols that were supported back then, like MSN, are long gone. That didn't discourage the developers, BitlBee is by nature a multi-protocol tool so one or two of it's supported networks dying is a non-issue.
BitlBee developer wilmer had this to say about the 17th birthday:
"I've managed to keep myself motivated to work on it for ~13y as well which I'm kinda happy about"
Happy birthday BitlBee!