What is a bot?
Short for Robot, it is an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client that is scripted to react to exterior commands and events without direct input from a user at a keyboard.
What are bots used for?
Most bots are benign and used to keep a particular channel open. Often they are used for channel maintenance, such as kicking users for rude language, to stop flooding in a channel, or remove offensive nicks.
Other bots have a specific purpose, such as helping to run a game or serving virtual drinks. A few can be abusive bots such as war or takeover bots. Almost all IRC Nets and servers do not allow war or takeover bots. Attempting to run such bots is a quick way to get k-lined from a network.
Some Networks such as Undernet provides services to registered channels via
bots "X" and "W". DALnet provides services without using bots per se. EFnet does not provide services for its channels, leaving that up to each individual channel to provide. (Okay,
they just started a very limited "re-op" service).
Bot Operating Systems
Bots are usually one of two kinds: 1. Unix or linux based bots that operate from a shell account. 2. Windows based bots that operate from a windows based machine. The most common on IRC is the Eggshell bot (also called an "eggie" or "eggbot"). However, with more 24/7 accounts available via cable modem or DSL accounts, running a Windows based bot is becoming easier.
Which is better, Eggbots or Windows bots?
The one that does what you need for the least amount of expense and effort is usually the "best" bot. Eggbot's are generally acknowledged as being much more stable (up and connected) than windows bots. However, a good windows based machine without a lot of other processing on it can keep a bot up and connected for weeks at a time. And it's a handy way to use that old computer that is gathering dust in the corner. Eggies are probably harder to get up and started for a new user, but take less attention overall.
How do I get an EggBot?
You need a shell account. These usually cost money, running from 10 or 15 dollars a month for a shell account. Then you need to install a script, compile it and keep it updated. Most free shell providers do not allow IRC eggbots! You will have to pay for a shell account on a server, then upload, compile, and configure your bot script.
Excellent resources for info about Shell Accounts and Eggies is available from:
http://www.shellcentral.com http://www.xcalibre.com http://www.eggdrops.org/
A couple of IRC friendly shell providers are http://www.linuxshell.net/
How do I get a windows based bot?
If you have a 24/7 (24 hours a day / 7 days a week) account, normally a cable or Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) account, you can usually purchase a second unique Internet Protocol number (IP) from the provider for a nominal cost. It costs me five bucks a month with ATT's @home service, for instance (but then there is the cost of electricity and so on).
Setting up a bot from your standard computer
or an Internet Connection
Sharing (ICS) computer using the same
address will basically end up looking like a "clone". That can get you kicked or k-lined from a
server. Ideally, your bot should be on a computer with it's own unique IP.
However, some servers allow two clients from the same address. Check the
server's Message Of
(MOTD) to see if they do (simply type: /motd ). Depending on which IRC client software you like to use, you need
to download (or write)... a bot script for that client.
If you are going to run a mIRC bot, I suggest checking out http://www.xcalibre.com
or http://www.mircscripts.org for
I have a Local Area Network (LAN) at home running through a gateway computer. Can I use one of these machines to be a bot while I chat on another one?
Technically yes, but you still end up looking like a "clone" because both machines will have the same IP. Some servers will allow you to run a second "instance" of your client as a bot, others will not. If the bot is a game bot or amusement bot, you probably have a better chance of running it as a second instance. But for a long term bot connection, the machine hosting your bot should have a unique IP, ideally.
robot graphics courtesy of robotnut.com