profanity - Man Page

a simple console based XMPP chat client.


profanity [-vh] [-l level] [-a account]


Profanity is a simple lightweight console based XMPP chat client. Its emphasis is on having a simple and configurable command driven UI, see the homepage at:



-v,  --version

Show version and build information.

-h,  --help

Show help on command line arguments.

-a,  --account ACCOUNT

Auto connect to an account on startup, ACCOUNT must be an existing account.

-c,  --config

Use an alternative config file.

-l,  --log LEVEL

Set the logging level, LEVEL may be set to DEBUG, INFO (the default), WARN or ERROR.

-f,  --logfile

Specify a different logfile

-t,  --theme THEME

Specify which theme to use. THEME must be one of the themes installed in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/profanity/themes


Tab,  Shift+Tab

Tab completion next, previous.  Works for commands, nicks and quotes (when input line starts with >).

ALT+1..Alt-0 or F1..F10

Choose window 1..10.

ALT+q..Alt-p (in QWERTY layout)

Choose window 11..20.


Choose previous chat window.


Choose next chat window.


Page the active window up.


Page the active window down.


Page the occupants or roster panel up.


Page the occupants or roster panel down.


Jump to the next unread window.


Mark current window for later reading with an attention flag.


Switch between windows marked with the attention flag.


Run external editor (see profanity-editor(1)) for current input line.


Store current input line in history but do not execute it.

Note: Profanity is using GNU Readline library to handle input so default configuration file ~/.inputrc affects operation. In addition to that $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/profanity/inputrc is read after all default keybindigs are set so one can override or add settings there. For reference, see Readline documentation: info readline "Command Line Editing" "Readline Init File" "Readline Init File Syntax" and the list of available Profanity commands in inputwin.c. Standard Readline keybindings are supported, including C-r for interactive history search and C-x C-r for reloading inputrc without restart.

Using Profanity

The user guide can be found at <>.


Profanity supports various kinds of encryption: OMEMO, OTR, PGP, OX. You can only enable one of them per correspondent at a time.


OMEMO (/omemo) is defined in XEP-0384. It uses an implementation of the Signal protocol for key management and to synchronize messages among different clients. It works even when other clients are offline. And offers Perfect Forward Secrecy and Plausible deniability. Servers need to support PEP (XEP-0163). We implement the "siacs" version of OMEMO. Version 0.3.0, which is currently the widest adopted option. OMEMO is the only encryption option in Profanity that also supports encryption for MUCs (XEP-0045) and file transfer via HTTP upload (XEP-0363).


OTR (/otr) is defined in XEP-0364. It uses a combination of the AES symmetric-key algorithm, the Diffie–Hellman key exchange, and the SHA-1 hash function. It offers deniable authentication and Perfect Forward Secrecy. To initialize a session both clients need to be online at the same time. A session is between two clients, so multiclient chats are not working. Which is a feature not a bug. OTR does by design not work for MUCs.


OpenPGP (/pgp) is defined in XEP-0027. Is uses a public and secret key. It is also known as Legacy OpenPGP and has been deprecated. It doesn't provide protection against replay attacks. MUCs and file transfer via HTTP upload are not specified and thus not supported.


OX (/ox) is defined in XEP-0373 and XEP-0374. It's a more modern way to use OpenPGP on XMPP and tries to fix the shortcomings of legacy XEP-0027. Servers need to support PEP (XEP-0163). MUCs and file transfer via HTTP upload are not specified and thus not supported.


For more details read the relevant XEPs and look at the overview at <>


There is some XMPP specific terminology that might be unknown for fresh users. We will try to describe them here since they are often references in the help and man pages.


Stands for Jabber ID. It refers to an XMPP address. Historically XMPP was also known as Jabber. MAM Stands for Message Archive Management (XEP-0313) and describes the ability to store messages on the server and retrieve them later. MUC Stands for Mutli-User Chats (XEP-0045) and are also called, groups, group chats, chatrooms or conferences. Roster The roster is your contact list. By default displayed at the right side on the console window. See RFC6121. XEP XMPP is aa extendable protocol. There are core features and optional features described in XMPP Extension Protocols, short XEPs.

See Also

Profanity itself has a lot of built-in help. Check the /help command for more information.  Type "/help help" for information on how to use help itself.  Profanity ships with one man page for each built-in command, e.g. there is profanity-account(1) for /account.


Configuration for Profanity is stored in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/profanity/profrc , details on commands for configuring Profanity can be found at <> or the respective built-in help or man pages.


Bugs can either be reported by raising an issue at the Github issue tracker:


or to the mailing list at:



Copyright (C) 2012 - 2019 James Booth <>. Copyright (C) 2019 - 2023 Michael Vetter <>. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <> This is free software; you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.


Profanity was created by James Booth <> with many contributions from others, see the full list at: <>


2023-08-03 0.14.0 Profanity XMPP client