IRC: Enhance the daemon with Services

So after setting up the daemon and connecting a client it is possible to chat on the IRC network. All the basic features of IRC can be used: You can switch to different channels, chat in private sessions or entertain a big audience. But there is more!

It is possible to enhance the functionality of the IRC daemon with so called IRC Services. These provide functionality for leaving messages to other users, managing  administrator rights and channels or collecting stats about your server. As always there is a list on Wikipedia which compares the bigger projects: Comparison of IRC services

There are also IRC daemons with integrated Services. These are usually bigger, commercial projects. But there are also open source projects like InspireIRCd with basic services on board.

Unlike clients or servers, IRC Services do not differ a lot from each other (at least for the basic user). The basic functionality has been defined over the years and the more advanced features are usually not very interesting for the basic usecases. I decided to go with Anope because they provide a good documentation, are in active development, open source and used by a broad userbase.

As with the daemon, it is needed to configure everything before the first start. There is a example.conf which contains verbose information about each config item. The only thing I had problems with was the linking: It is needed to enhance the unrealircd.conf to accept connections from Anope. On the other side the services.conf has to be modified to match the settings in the unrealircd.conf. If you have problems setting up the connection you can use different tools to help you find the problem:

  • Start Anope with verbose output: anope.exe -debug -nofork. It is easier to find what’s wrong if the tool is giving you verbose error messages.
  • Use the link-maker to create specific configurations which you just have to copy/paste into your .conf-files.
  • If you change the UnrealIRCd config you can use the rehash command instead of restarting the whole server: unreal.exe rehash. This way you stay connected to the server and are able to rapidly test different settings.

I again uploaded my (slightly modified) config files to Pastebin. There is a new version of the unrealircd.conf and the Anope service.conf. As in the daemon post I highly encourage you to create the configs by yourself. My configs probably won’t fit your needs, but they’re a good reference.

You can just start Anope with anope.exe, as described above. You also can use -debug -nofork if you want verbose output on your terminal. If everything worked out you should be able to access the services via your IRC client. Check it by typing /msg NickServ HELP into the chat and see if you get any help messages.

I’ll write more about the features in a future post.

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