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BarnOwl - tty‐based zephyr client


barnowl [-n] [-d] [-D] [-v] [-h] [-c CONFIGFILE] [-t TTY] [-s CONFIGDIR]


BarnOwl is a fully integrated tty‐based instant messaging client. Currently it supports
AOL Instant Messenger, MIT Zephyr, Jabber, IRC, and Twitter. It is curses‐based, allows
for emacs‐style editing of outgoing messages, and uses Perl as an extension and
configuration language. BarnOwl will also run happily without a configuration file.

Once BarnOwl is started, typing ‘h’ will display a help screen. Typing ‘:’ enters command
mode, allowing the user to type a BarnOwl command line.


The following command-line options are avilable when running BarnOwl:

-n, --no-subs
Do not subscribe to zephyr messages on startup. By default, BarnOwl subscribes to
the default subscriptions and to anything found in ~/.zephyr.subs. When this
option is used, no subscriptions are loaded.

-c, --config-file=FILE
Specify an alternate config file for BarnOwl to use. The config file is an
arbitrary Perl script evaluated in the main package, and if it overrides the
BarnOwl::startup method that is run when BarnOwl starts. (Compare ~/.owl/startup,
which contains BarnOwl commands that are run at startup after the config file is

By default, BarnOwl uses the first of ~/.owl/init.pl, ~/.barnowlconf, or ~/.owlconf
that exists.

-s, --config-dir=DIR
Specify an alternate configuration directory. By default, BarnOwl uses ~/.owl/.

-t, --tty=TTY
Specify the tty name to use for the zephyr location.

-v, --version
Print the version number of BarnOwl and exit.

-d, --debug
Enable debugging. By default, debugging information is placed in

-h, --help
Print command‐line option help.


Written by Nelson Elhage and Alejandro Sedeno at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. Based on Owl by James Kretchmar.

Comments, questions, and bug reports may be mailed to [email protected].

24 Jun 2011 BARNOWL(1)

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