ircd-ratbox and ratbox-services in Ubuntu

Posted on: Sunday February 09, 2014

I recently decided to get an IRC server up and running to see how complicated it would be compared to installing ejabberd.

After looking through some of the packages available on Ubuntu through the standard repositories. I wanted to have Nickserv and Chanserv running, so I was hoping to get something with services included. Originally, I tried ircd2, but I didn't find a decent services package which worked with it. So then I was going to try dancer-ircd, because it had a dancer-services package. Turns out dancer-services was removed from the package repos due to a bug that was never corrected.

Thus, after a bit of poking I decided to go with ircd-ratbox and ratbox-services.

Installing Ratbox

Ratbox is pretty easy to install, and it has a very large (and very snarky) sample configuration file for you to work off of. It recommends that you read the entire thing first before starting to configure your real ircd.conf file. It then forces the point because there's a configuration variable which will shut down the server if you haven't been reading the entire thing (I'll give you a hint. It's called "havent_read_conf", and it's in the general block). Okay, fine. After a lot of head banging and some finagling I manage to get ircd-ratbox functional. That is all well and good, but unfortunately getting ratbox-services functional was a different story.

Wrestling with ratbox-services

First thing you need to do is get a back end for ratbox-services to run off of. I originally went with the sqlite backend, but there was a problem I was unable to resolve where it was unable to write to the db file. So then I switched to mysql. The problem there was the mysql db isn't installed by anything, so I had to go hunting for the mysql configuration file. It was not in an intuitive place (/usr/share/ratbox-services/lib/schema-mysql.sql).

The other undocumented problem was that NickServ is disabled by default (why? Why was that turned off?).

All in all it was not super difficult to get running after a careful reading of the configuration files, there were some gotchas which took me quite a long time to get figured out.