|Developer(s)||BitlBee team, with Wilmer van der Gaast as Lead Developer|
|Initial release||9 August 2002|
|Stable release||3.2 (6 January 2013)|
|Type||Instant messaging client|
|License||GNU General Public License|
BitlBee is a cross-platform IRC instant messaging gateway, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.
BitlBee communicates with the user via the IRC protocol, providing a gateway to popular chat networks such as AIM and ICQ (via OSCAR), Microsoft Messenger service (via MSNP), Yahoo! (via YMSG) and Google Talk and Facebook Messenger (via XMPP) and the microblogging networks Twitter, Identi.ca, and status.net. Since version 3.0, BitlBee can be built to use the libpurple library, which supports file transfers on many IM networks, and supports GaduGadu, QQ and other less well-known protocols. It supports the display of remote user status using the IRC voice attribute: online users are shown with voice, away users are shown without. Many IRC commands such as /WHO and /QUERY are available, though the capabilities of the remote IM protocols limits which IRC commands will work.
It can be installed and operated on a user's personal computer, a local server,or accessed on public gateway servers. A user registers with the BitlBee server for future credentials storage. Service protocols are added along with their credentials; following this, the software will display the user's buddy list as normal IRC users in a channel. Conversations can be public, or use the private message facility of IRC.
BitlBee runs on Linux, Unix, BSD, Windows, AmigaOS]nd Mac OS X.
The software has been reviewed positively. Vladi Belperchinov-Shabanski wrote that the software made his "dream come true", of only needing a single chat client open on his desktop, to access multiple IM protocols.