As you may have noticed, we have changed which IRC bots idle in our channels. I thought I’d explain it a little here.
First, some background
ubottu, our core IRC bot, is a Supybot running our custom plugins. The plugin you’ll most likely to have used is called “Encyclopedia”, that’s the one which stores and fetches factoids in our channels. We also use a plugin called “Bantracker”, which is used to keep track of things like kicks, mutes and bans. Both of these plugins store information in SQLite (version 2) databases. Up until now this has worked out fine for us, but things have changed.
If you use the Ubuntu channels on IRC regularly, you may have noticed a while ago that ubottu was not feeling very well, lots of “Ping timeout: … seconds” quit messages. This was due to several reasons, including hardware limitations on the server we ran ubottu from, and the databases we use. Our databases have become quite large and, even removing lots of old entries, this was making ubottu “hang” and timeout. Another issue is that the memory requirements of ubottu tend to grow the longer it’s in use, we suspect this is due to inefficient and old code.
The Ubuntu Bots team, who maintain the plugins used in ubottu, have planned to rewrite the current plugins we use, so we can move away from SQLite version 2 and keep efficiency in mind, but this will take some time and may not easily solve the database issues we were having. The good news is that we now have a shiny new server! This server was generously donated to us by The Rackspace Cloud, and it gives us some much needed breathing space. This new server copes with the insane memory usage of ubottu and makes accessing our large database much faster than it used to be. We have also decided that having ubottu in more than 40 channels is just too much for one little bot, so we’ve reorganised our existing bots and added some new ones.
From now on you’ll see ubottu in the main (core) channels, and a couple of others. The ubot2 and ubot4 bots will take over many of the channels ubottu was in, and we’ve introduced 3 new “lubotu” bots for LoCo channels. You can see a full list of IRC bots and the channels they’re in on the Ubuntu wiki.
- ubot2 will take over Team channels A-L
- ubot4 will take over Team channels M-Z
- lubotu1 will take over the Americas LoCo channels
- lubotu2 will take over Asia LoCo channels
- lubotu3 will take over EMEA LoCo channels
With this new layout we hope to firstly reduce the load on ubottu, and also make it clearer exactly which bot should be in which channels.
If you experience any problems with the bots you can contact the maintainers of most of them in the #ubuntu-bots-team IRC channel on freenode.