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F L O O T E R B U C K ! -- What Flooterbuck does Flooterbuck is an Infobot. It goes onto IRC and sits in a channel that you pick for it, and learns, remembers, and gives back useful information. <dagbrown> flooterbuck, convert 3 tonnes to nautical elvis <flooterbuck> dagbrown: 3 tonnes is 22.5341 nautical elvis. <dagbrown> flooterbuck: My hair is wet <flooterbuck> dagbrown: Okay. <dagbrown> flooterbuck, what is a Norse? <flooterbuck> dagbrown: A Norse is a Norse, of course, of course -- Note: Flooterbuck Infobot vs. Infobot Flooterbuck Infobot (http://flooterbuck.sf.net/) is a rewrite of Kevin Lenzo's (apparently abandoned) Infobot (http://www.infobot.org/). Flooterbuck is meant to be cleaner, more modular, and more hackable than the original Infobot. The authors of Flooterbuck Infobot believe that all of the old Infobot functionality has been preserved. However, it is still recommended that you keep your old installations of Infobot around, just in case you find that there is something necessary which only exists in the old Infobot (and in that case, please contact the authors of Flooterbuck). Theoretically, you can copy all of the .db files and the conf/*.config files from your old Infobot installations into your Flooterbuck installation and it will work. However, you may not get all of the new features of Flooterbuck that way -- you should at least have a look at the sample configuration file included with Flooterbuck to see if there's any new features that you want to enable. For more information on the differences between Flooterbuck and Infobot, please see the REVISIONS files. -- Very minimal setup instructions You will need to update your infobot.config and infobot.users. See the example files. This requires perl 5. You should be able to start up just by running infobot. If you are using macperl, you will (currently) have to make one minor change (because $^O didn't work for me under os8). The infobot uses parameter files, typically in the params directory, to set up with. It treats anything on the command line as a parameter file and tries to load it. If you are using macperl, you will want to set the value of the macperl parameter to 1 in the two given param files (in the 'files' dir). By default, the infobot uses the IRC setup. This may change. NOTE that the irc version has no output by default; you'll have to turn up the debug level to get more. to start up the infobot, just invoke it from the command line. infobot -- A note on forms You can prepend the tag <reply> to values in the db to just get a reply with no extra info. e.g. x => <reply> y then when you ask 'x?' it will just reply 'y' instead of something like "i think x is y". -- Extending the bot by adding your own code You can place your module in the modules directory. It needs to define a package with the same name as the file itself (without the .pm extension). It needs to define a subroutine named scan() that takes a callback function, a message, and the nick of the person who wrote that message. The callback function is the function which, when called with an argument, will reply to the query in the appropriate way. That is, if the query was originally a private message, the callback function will reply via private message. If the query was a message in a channel, the callback function will send the reply to the correct channel. If the module does not "catch" a message, then scan() function should return undef to allow the message to "fall through" to other modules. The best way to figure all this out is to look at one of the many modules provided as a reference. Oh, and if the module you added would be of interest to other Flooterbuck users, you might want to consider contributing that code to the project. Flooterbuck can be found on Sourceforge at http://flooterbuck.sf.net/ -- Disabling features of the bot Nearly everything that Flooterbuck does (beside the actual communication with the IRC server) is handled by the modules in the modules directory. Although some modules can be enabled or disabled by changing the configuration files, you can disable any module by simply deleting it or moving it to a different directory. -- update_db & dump_db update_db is a little perl script that will take a flat ascii file and make an infobot-style db out of it (currently just a couple of dbm files). You'll want to make 2, even if theye contain only 1 element each. it will also simply add (and overwrite entries in) existing dbs. This is especially nice if you don't allow updates to the databases through IRC and just want a collection of permanent factoids. update_db <inputfile> <dbname> where <inputfile> is an ascii file like (in the case of an url-style infobot): infobot => at http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~lenzo/hocus.html one key => value per line. In the current setup, you need an is-database and an are-database, mainly for legacy reasons about representing plurality and being able to give the proper form. in the infobot-is.txt file and infobot-are.txt files you have examples. these are a fine starting point: 1.1 update_db infobot-is.txt infobot-is update_db infobot-are.txt infobot-are 2. Now you need to edit infobot to set up your bot. Don't forget to set the path to perl properly at the top and make it executable. 3. Then try running infobot. At present, there's a bunch of VERY BAD code in it, so don't use the -w switch unless you want to fix a bunch of things and mail me. Eventually, kill it and then you'll probably want to crontab it. included is a sample crontab and the script that you will need to edit. dump_db <dbname> will just make a flat ascii file out of the named db, e.g. dump_db infobot-is Both update_db and dump_db take an optional switch, -m, which tells them what DBM module to use. You'll need to specify this if you set DBMModule in your config file in order to get the bot to use something other than Perl's default. Eg, update_db -m DB_File infobot-is.txt infobot-is dump_db -m DB_File infobot-is good luck, and mail me! kevin firstname.lastname@example.org ps - i am just releasing this _now_ instead of waiting to fix everything. If you use this and like it, or even if you don't, please mail me! -- Thanks to: Kevin Lenzo and his team for the original Infobot.