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Hackabot README

    A crazy, hackable, and hacked up IRC bot.
    Licensed under the GNU GPL v2 or later.


This bot was mainly written by Michael Marineau and includes
contributions from other people including various staff of the OSU Open
Source Lab. See docs/credits.txt for individual contributors. This bot
is more widely known by it's original incarnation as 'manatee' on

The current implementation (it has been rewritten several times) by now
features a core bot is written in Python using the Twisted framework.
Commands and other event handlers can be implemented as plugins for the
core bot or as individual scripts in commands/ or hooks/<type>/ which
are called on demand. Most of the time writing features as external
scripts is the way to go as plugins must always us non-blocking IO and
play nice with Twisted.


The bot should be run directly from its source tree (don't copy
anything to /usr/bin). The code depends on the current directory layout
to find all of its various pieces. Since the bot has a lot of random
commands that you may not even want I've split the dependency list
between the core requirements and the various noodly bits.

Core Requirements

Python >= 2.4
Twisted Core >= 2.5
Twisted Words >= 2.5
MySQLdb (optional, see below)
lxml or elementtree if using Python 2.4

Hackabot can be run without a database but many commands and hooks
depend on it so you probably want it unless you are simply using
Hackabot as a framework for your own stuff.

Disclaimer: Although I think hackabot is compatible with Python 2.4 and
Twisted 2.5 it has been a while since it was tested with these versions.

Misc Requirements

Most external commands/hooks will be happy with the following:


Of course if you are running without db support DBI/DBD is optional but be
sure to disable those external commands as it won't happen automatically.

And some lesser things:

URI::Find::Rule         (TinyURL hook)
WWW::Shorten::TinyURL   (TinyURL hook)
SOAP::Lite              (Urban Dictionary command)
figlet                  (figlet command)
cowsay                  (cowsay command)
and other stuff I forget...

To attempt to get catch missing dependencies before starting run the
check-deps script in the bin directory. It is far from perfect and is
known to miss a few things, but it should catch most things.


An example config file showing and explaining all the options is
etc/hackabot.example.xml and a more minimal one is hackabot.simple.xml.
The basics should be pretty clear from those examples.

To set up access to various commands create an ACL config file and point
to it using an acl tag in the main config file. The example and
documentation is in etc/acl.example.xml. ACL files can be defined
globally or per network.


Once the config files are in place start hackabot with the config file
as the argument:
./bin/hackabot etc/hackabot.xml

If you want the bot to background the bot try this:
./bin/hackabot -l var/hackabot.log -p var/ etc/hackabot.xml

Further documentation can be found in the docs directory. Enjoy!

-- Michael Marineau <>