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Archived - See irccloud/irccat

I'm not running this java version any more, please see this irccat clone in go.


As in cat to IRC.

IRCcat does 2 things:

  1. Listens on a specific ip:port and writes incoming data to an IRC channel. This is useful for sending various announcements and log messages to irc from shell scripts, Nagios and other services.

  2. Hands off commands issued on irc to a handler program (eg: shell script) and responds to irc with the output of the handler script. This only happens for commands addressed to irccat: or prefixed with ?. (easily extend irccat functionality with your own scripts)


Edit the irccat.xml so it knows which irc server, channel etc.. Check you have sun jvm >=1.5 (java -version)

This will build and package irccat as a jar:

$ ant dist

Then, using the appropriate config file:

$ ant -Dconfigfile=./examples/irccat.xml run

Also, you'll probably want to install netcat.

Sending text to IRC

By default IRCCat listens on, and sends data to the default (first) channels. In a networked server environment you will p robably want to make it listen on the private LAN interface.


$ echo "Hello World" | netcat -q0 localhost 12345 $ tail -f /var/log/www/error.log | netcat localhost 12345

In a server environment, consider adding a hostname to your internal DNS or using a virtual IP for irccat to listen on, in case you want to move irccat to another box later.

Sending to specific channels

To send to a specific channel rather than the default, put the channel name as the first word in the data (the channel name will be stripped):

$ echo "#mychannel hello world" | netcat -q0 machinename 12345

This sends "hello world" to #mychannel

First word defines the recipients, you can use comma separated list.

prefix indicates channel, @ indicates a nick.


- "#chan blah blah"
  just sends to #chan

- "@RJ psst, this is a pm"
  just sends via PM to user RJ

- "#channel1,#channel2,@RJ,@Russ blah blah this is the message"
  this sends to 2 channels, and 2 users (RJ, Russ)

- "#* Attention, something important"
  this sends to all channels the bot is in	

- "#chan %REDroses are red%NORMAL, grass is #GREENgreen#NORMAL"
  you can use colors too, see for the full list;
  Either "#" or "%" will work.

Changing topics in channels

To change the topic in a channel (rather than sending a message), use the prefix %TOPIC.

$ echo "%TOPIC #mychannel hello world" | netcat -q0 machinename 12345

This changes the topic of #mychannel to "hello world" (assuming the bot has permission to set the topic)

Second word defines the recipient channels. You can use a comma separated list. Nick recipients will be accepted, but silently ignored.


  • "%TOPIC #chan new topic" just changes the topic of #chan

  • "%TOPIC #channel1,#channel2 this channel is great" this changes the topics of two channels

  • "%TOPIC #* Important Topic" this changes the topics in all channels the bot is in

Built-in commands

There are a handful of built-in commands for instructing the bot at runtime.

Built-in commands are prefixed with a !

!join #chan pass		- joins another channel. pass is optional
!part #chan				- parts chan
!channels				- lists channels the bot is in
!spam blah blah..		- repeats your message in all joined channels
!exit					- System.exit()


Any command (?.. !..) uttered in a channel with irccat in is executed and implicitly trusted.

Any command PMed to irccat is ignored unless the user is joined to the default (first) channel in the config file.

SVN commit notifications

svn hooks let you announce commits etc. For example, try this in your SVN repo/hooks/post-commit file:

REPOS="$1" REV="$2" LOG=/usr/bin/svnlook log -r $REV $REPOS AUTHOR=/usr/bin/svnlook author -r $REV $REPOS echo "SVN commit by $AUTHOR (r$REV) '$LOG'$REV" | netcat -q0 machinename 12345

Nagios alerts to irc

Buried in our nagios config is this, from misccommands.cfg:

define command { command_name host-notify-by-irc command_line /bin/echo "#sys Nagios: Host '$HOSTALIAS$' is $HOSTSTATE$ - Info: $OUTPUT$" | /bin/netcat -q 1 irccathost 12345 }

define command { command_name service-notify-by-irc command_line /bin/echo "#sys Nagios: Service $SERVICEDESC$ on '$HOSTALIAS$' is $SERVICESTATE$ - Info: $OUTPUT$" | /bin/netcat -q 1 irccathost 12345 }

And in contacts.cfg:

define contact{ contact_name irccat alias irccat service_notification_period 24x7 host_notification_period 24x7 service_notification_options w,c,r host_notification_options d,r service_notification_commands service-notify-by-irc host_notification_commands host-notify-by-irc email blah@blah }


Email: Web: (work, and the reason irccat exists) Web: (blog) Irc: irc://


IRC bot that simplifies posting to IRC from shell scripts







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