IRC Services Manual

2. Installing and using Services

2-1. System and network requirements
2-2. Installing Services from a binary distribution
2-3. Installing Services from source code
2-4. Configuring Services
2-5. Starting, stopping and controlling Services

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2-1. System and network requirements

In order to run Services, you will need the following:

  • A POSIX-compliant operating system. Services is designed for the Linux operating system, but should function on any POSIX-compliant (or nearly so) operating system; it is known to work on FreeBSD and Solaris.

  • A supported IRC server (IRCD). Services supports several different types of IRC servers, as listed in Table 2-1 below. Your IRC network must be using one of these servers in order to use Services (the "Services module" column indicates which protocol module is used with that server; see section 2-4 for details).

Additionally, if you plan to compile Services from the source code, you will also need the following (note that these are not necessary if you install from a binary package):

  • GCC [] (the GNU C compiler). Services currently uses some extensions to the C language provided by GCC, and is unlikely to compile on other compilers. Warning: GCC version 2.96, provided in some Red Hat and related Linux distributions, has bugs which cause Services to be compiled incorrectly (see FAQ B.1 for details); early versions in the 3.x series were also reported to have problems. Please use either version 2.95.3 or version 3.2 or later to compile Services.

  • GNU make [], version 3.79 or later. Services uses complex Makefiles which may or may not work with other "make" programs, and are known not to work with earlier versions of GNU make. Note that GNU make may be installed on your system as either make or gmake; if you're not sure, type make -v or gmake -v in your shell, and if you get output that looks like "GNU Make version 3.79.1, by Richard Stallman and Roland McGrath", then it's installed.

  • The Bourne shell or a compatible shell. This should be installed on your system as /bin/sh. If by any chance the configure script fails (see section 2-3), try installing Bash [] and using it to run the configure script.

  • Perl [] may also be needed if you modify certain files (the language data files in particular).
IRC server (IRCD) nameServices module
Bahamut [] 1.4.25 and above bahamut
Chunky Monkey IRCD 1.0 and above monkey
DALnet (ircd.dal) 4.4.13 and below dalnet
DALnet (ircd.dal) 4.4.15 and above dreamforge
Dreamforge (ircd.dal 4.6.x) dreamforge
ircd-2.8.x rfc1459
ircd-2.8.x+TS8 ts8
ircu (Undernet) [] 2.9.x undernet-p9
tr-ircd [] 4.0, 5.0 and above trircd
UltimateIRCD 2.8.1 dreamforge
UltimateIRCD 3.0.0 bahamut
Unreal [] 3.1.1 and above unreal

Table 2-1. Supported IRC server types
(servers listed in italics have not been tested and are listed based on user reports)

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2-2. Installing Services from a binary distribution

Binary distributions of Services are provided for Linux systems in the popular RPM and .deb formats. See the Services home page to download the latest binary distribution, then install or upgrade it the same way you would for any other package.

Note that executable files in the binary distributions are compiled statically, which means that they will work on any modern system regardless of version, at the cost of requiring slightly more disk space and requiring an upgrade (or recompile from source) if a bug is found in any of the system libraries used by Services.

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2-3. Installing Services from the source code

If no binary distribution is available for your platform or you prefer to compile Services yourself, you will need to install from the source code. Once you have downloaded the source, you need to:

  1. Run the configure script. This script checks what type of system you are running and determines what adjustments to the base source code are necessary in order to compile. Certain compile-time options can be set by passing command-line flags to the script; the most common ones are:
    • -ignore-cache (ignore the results of any previous configuration)
    • -prefix pathname (set default installation location)
    • -no-dir-check (skip check for presence of installation directories)
    • -use-static-modules (compile using statically-linked modules, even if dynamic linking is available)
    A full list of flags can be obtained with ./configure -help. (If you prefer the GNU autoconf "--option[=value]" format, configure will accept that as well, e.g. "--prefix=/usr".) Note that configure will ignore environment variables like CC and CFLAGS; use the appropriate command-line options instead if you need to set these yourself.

    Note on using alternate C compilers: If you specify a particular C compiler using the -cc option, or if GCC is not installed on your system, you will also need to specify any necessary options using the -cflags option. In particular, Services uses a feature of C known as "pointer aliasing", which is technically forbidden by the C standard but necessary for clean programming. Some compilers attempt to optimize based on the assumption that pointer aliasing is not used; if your compiler does this, you will need to tell it not to (the option for GCC that does this is -fno-strict-aliasing).

    When the script starts up, it will first ask for the directories in which you want to install the Services program and data files. By default, these are /usr/local/sbin and /usr/local/lib/ircservices, respectively (if you have run configure before, the pathnames you used last time will be used here instead); press Enter to accept the default for each, or enter the path you want to use for installation. If you change the program installation directory, a "good" data directory pathname will be generated from the path you gave. Finally, if you use the -prefix pathname command-line option, then these questions will be skipped, and the program and data installation directories will be set to pathname/sbin and pathname/lib/services respectively.

    After setting the installation directories, configure will check your system and print out status messages as it proceeds. At the end, if no errors occur, it will print out a message telling you to proceed with compilation.

  2. Edit defs.h and the Makefile, if necessary. There are a few settings at the top of these files which can be changed as needed. Usually, however, there is no need to change them, and you can proceed directly to compilation.

    One case in which you may want to modify a setting is if you run a regional network which uses a language other than English as its primary language; in this case, you can change the DEF_LANGUAGE setting in defs.h to your local langauge.

  3. Compile the program. Run the command make (or gmake, depending on your system) from the top-level directory. Compilation time will vary depending on your system; on the author's Pentium II (400MHz, 896MB RAM) system, compiling the entire program takes approximately one minute.

  4. Install the program and data files. Run the command make install (or gmake install) and the program and data files will be copied to their destinations. The program file is installed as ircservices in the program installation directory; the data installation directory will contain sample configuration files (see section 2-4), language data files, the convert-db utility, and (if you compiled modules with dynamic linking, which is the default on systems which support it) module files.

    Note that if you are compiling the program as the same user you will install as, you can just use the single command make install to compile and install in one step.

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2-4. Configuring Services

Once Services has been installed, it must be configured for your network. Services uses two text files to control its behavior: ircservices.conf and modules.conf. ircservices.conf contains settings that affect Services as a whole, such as the remote server to connect to; modules.conf contains settings that apply to individual modules, such as NickServ and ChanServ.

When Services is installed, two sample files, example-ircservices.conf and example-modules.conf, are installed in the data directory; if you are installing Services for the first time, you should start out by copying or renaming these files to ircservices.conf and modules.conf respectively. Each file contains detailed information about all possible settings, which can also be found in Appendix A. When setting up Services for the first time, you should at least check these settings:

FileSetting and syntaxDescription
ircservices.conf RemoteServer host[:port] password Sets the server to which Services connects and the password used to connect.
ircservices.conf ServerName name Sets the server name Services will use on the IRC network.
ircservices.conf ServerDesc description Sets the server description provided by Services.
ircservices.conf ServiceUser user@host Sets the username and hostname used by Services clients. You may want to set this to an E-mail address at which users can ask questions about Services or your IRC network.
ircservices.conf LoadModule module-name Loads the specified module. The example configuration file lists all of the possible modules; select which ones you want to load or not load. In particular, make sure you select the correct protocol module and enter its name in the line which reads
LoadModule protocol/(insert protocol name here) or Services will not be able to start.
modules.conf Module protocol/protocol-name Change this line (the first Module line in the file) so it contains the same protocol module you specified in ircservices.conf.
modules.conf FromAddress user@host mail/main module: Sets the E-mail address used as the sender on outgoing mail. Set this to an address at which users can contact you with questions about Services.
modules.conf FromName "name" mail/main module: Set this to the "name" you want to use as the sender on outgoing mail. If you don't want a name (just the E-mail address), leave this setting commented out.
modules.conf ServicesRoot nick operserv/main module: Set this to the nickname which should be granted Services root (super-user) privileges.
modules.conf ListenTo address:port httpd/main module: Sets the ports which the Services HTTP server will listen to. See the documentation for details.

Table 2-2. Commonly used configuration directives

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2-5. Starting, stopping and controlling Services

Services can be started by simply running the ircservices program from a shell prompt. Upon starting, Services will parse its command-line arguments and the ircservices.conf file, then open the log file; if there are no errors, it will then print a short message to the terminal, put itself in the background and return control to the shell. If an error does occur, Services will print an error message and exit.

Several command-line options can be used to modify Services' behavior or override settings in the ircservices.conf configuration file; these are summarized in table 2-3 below. The command-line option -help can be used to get a list of all available options.

-help Print list of available options
-dir=pathname Use pathname as the data directory instead of the compiled-in default
-remote=host[:port] Connect to the specified server; overrides RemoteServer setting
-log=filename Write logging information to filename; overrides LogFilename setting
-debug Starts Services in debug mode; using this option multiple times will produce more debugging output
-readonly Starts Services in read-only mode; databases and log file will not be written to
-nofork Do not fork (go into the background) after initialization
-noexpire Disable expiration of database entries (nicknames, channels, autokills, etc.)
-noakill Disable autokill checking (autokill list can still be modified)
-forceload Attempt to load corrupted databases as much as possible
-import=filename Import data into Services' databases (see section 5-2)

Table 2-3. ircservices command-line options

Once in the background, Services will load language files and modules, then try to connect to the remote server specified in ircservices.conf (or on the command line). If any errors occur during these steps, an error message will be printed to the log file and Services will terminate. If Services appears to start up correctly but does not connect to your IRC network, check the log file for any errors that may have occurred.

Once Services successfully connects to your IRC network, it will continue running until either:

  • the remote server closes the connection (for example, because of a /SQUIT command);
  • an OperServ RESTART, SHUTDOWN, or QUIT command is received; or
  • a termination signal (SIGINT [^C], SIGQUIT, SIGTERM, or SIGKILL, as well as fatal program errors) is received.
In any of these cases (except in the case of a SIGKILL signal, which Services cannot detect), an appropriate message will be written to the log file describing why Services terminated.

The debug output level and read-only setting can be modified while Services is running using the OperServ SET command as needed, and other OperServ commands can be used to monitor the status of Services or (as mentioned above) shut down or restart Services.

While it is running, Services will periodically save modified data (newly registered nicknames and channels, modified settings, and so on) to disk. This is done in such a way that even if Services crashes while writing the data, the previous contents of the databases will remain intact. However, should the database files become corrupt (whether because of a bug in Services or as the result of hardware failure or tampering), the -forceload command-line option can be used to recover as much data as possible from the corrupted data file. It is also strongly recommended that you make regular backups of your data files, to reduce potential damage from such problems.

If the contents of the ircservices.conf or modules.conf configuration files are changed, Services can be instructed to reread the files with either the OperServ REHASH command or the SIGHUP signal. If no errors are found in the configuration files, Services' settings will be updated with the new configuration file contents. Modules can also be loaded and unloaded this way without restarting Services by adding or removing LoadModule directives in ircservices.conf; however, modules will not be able to be unloaded if other loaded modules depend on them. (For example, since the ChanServ module depends on NickServ being available, you cannot remove the NickServ module while leaving the ChanServ module loaded. You can, however, unload both of them at once.)

If the system Services runs on supports periodic execution of programs, such as via the cron utility, you can use the supplied script ircservices-chk, installed in the same directory as the ircservices executable, to ensure that Services comes back up quickly if it should crash or otherwise terminate unexpectedly. (Of course, you will need to disable this check if you ever shut down Services intentionally!) On a typical Unix system, the following line, when added using the crontab utility, will cause the ircservices-chk script to be run once every five minutes (here, /path/to/ircservices-chk represents the full path to the ircservices-chk script):

0,5,10,15,20,25,30,35,40,45,50,55 * * * *    /path/to/ircservices-chk

If you need to pass options to the ircservices executable, simply add them after ircservices-chk in the line above. You can also prevent the script from generating output (which would be sent to you by mail) by adding the -q option after ircservices-chk and before any other options.

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