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Unreal 3.2.8-rc2 has been released

A little less than 4 weeks after the -rc1 release, there now is a -rc2 release of UnrealIRCd 3.2.8 available where some of the still present bugs have been fixed.

Fixes in this release include a bug that prevented you from compiling the IRCd on Mac OS X , problems with OperOverride that prevented you from -q/-a’ing someone when you were halfop, an issue with SuSE Linux 10.3 on AMD64 arch where the IRCd core-dumped on start, prevention of throttling client connections and stalling the IRCd when there are big adjustments made to the systems time after starting the IRCd and, last but not least, the documentation has been updated to reflect the latest additions and changes.

The full announcement and changelog can be found here and downloads are available from here.

UnrealIRCd 3.2.8-rc1 is ready for testing

And another one in the IRCd updates list – this time it’s Unreal.

After it has been announced that Stskeeps will leave the project behind there has been quite some uproar as it is one of the most widely used IRCd’s today.

The announcement was quickly followed up by nate, who explained that he will indeed continue development on version 3.3.x so the project is far away from being dead but he also noted that “Its still going to be a few months off before any code is here for base uses” as he is “the only one working on 3.3 right now”.

Today Syzop announced the availability of 3.2.8-rc1 which, as he stated in the announcement, “should NOT be used at production servers” but is meant to “allow members from the public to test if there are any major release critical bugs (eg: crash bugs) present, so they can be corrected before the real 3.2.8 release.”

Major Changes, taken from the summary are:

* Zip links issue (Overflowed unzipbuf)
* Crash issue with 3rd party modules that introduce new channelmodes w/parameters
* Mac OS X: Various issues which prevented the IRCd from booting up
* A few rare crash issues, including a crash when linking to another server

Minor fixes include:

* CGI:IRC: Several IPv6 issues, both on IPv6 IRCd's and CGI:IRC gateways
* IP masks in oper::from::userhost sometimes didn't match when they should
* (G)ZLINE's on IPv6 users were sometimes rejected
* CHROOTDIR works again

Notable new features introduced with this release are slow spamfilter detection, where the IRCd checks the time a spamfilter takes to execute each time it is matched and warns about slow executing ones and maybe even disables it if a certain threshold is reached – this will prevent the IRCd from coming to grinding halt if the RegEx is malformed or poorly written.

Away notifications with WATCH opens up the possibility to have Instant Messaging like notifications for users going /away or coming back – although none of the clients currently support this it’s nice to see some innovation in a protocol as old as IRC.

Clients like mIRC, Klient and possibly others can make use of UHNames where the IRCd sends full nick!ident@host masks to be used for the clients internal access list.

Changed behaviour in this release includes the removal of the part reason when someone banned /part’s – this will prevent them from having a last payback for getting banned.

The full changelog can be found in the announcement – downloads are available for Windows, Windows with SSL and as Sourcecode.

Syzop also mentioned that “If you’re willing to help some more, maybe you could help out in the Unreal3.2 testing forum as well, to test specific test-items, be sure to read the first post (‘READ THIS! (how to use)’).”

Happy testing! :)

Stskeeps quits developing for UnrealIRCd

In an announcement on the IRCd’s website, Stskeeps posts his “resignation letter”:

“So, after a long wait, I’ve decided to pull out of the UnrealIRCd project – which I started back in 1999. My reasons for this is that IRC has reached a point where it’s growing increasingly difficult to do anything remotely inventive, restricted by the lack of cooperation in the IRCd community and amongst networks & clients, and lack of people interested in helping out with doing the actual code. And when it’s not possible to do anything inventive, it just isn’t exciting anymore, and it’s a drag to code on.”

After Stskeeps pulling out and Syzop being forced to go inactive again, there are two people left developing for a 3.2.8 version of the popular IRCd. Stskeeps says that he wishes them “the best of luck” and that it would have been “selfish of me to shut down the project when there’s still people active within it, so this isn’t a shut down notice, but I’ve decided I don’t have time for maintaining the project anymore, contribute to, or participate in it. So the fate of the project is in their hands now.”

Being asked about Unreal4, a fork of InspIRCd, Stskeeps replies that it is “completely dead” and very probably not going to see the light of the day. But not all hope is lost for the future of UnrealIRCd, there’s a 3.3 branch still in development which is a rewrite of the existing codebase.

Closing his posting he writes: “I would like to thank the people that have helped out with contributions both code, support, donations, infrastructure and time through these many years. A testament to this would be , which illustrates how strong Unreal still is, even with inactive development for quite a while. And the fact that Unreal started out with being a fringe IRCd noone really used, to being the most used IRCd on the internet.

For myself, I’m no longer going to answer support questions with regards to UnrealIRCd, or hang out at the channels anymore. I’ll be on freenode if any of those who know me personally would like to hang out still.”

Thanks to Stskeeps and nate for letting me bug you & all the best for the future both to you and Unreal.

How to protect an IRC network from spam

Dealing with spam is something every IRC network had to do in the past, present or even maybe in the future.

If it is somebody that is trying to give your network a bad name, a trojan horse that tries to infect your users or just someone that tries to annoy you and your users doesn’t quite matter, spam probably has been an issue as long as IRC has existed.

Luckily, there are quite a few methods and ways to counter-act on it.

First thing should be educating your users to not click on anything that has been sent to them unsolicited – or performing any commands that promise them to “get free ops” and what else is going to be tempting to some – or they also might unwillingly and unknowingly join the spammers.

There are many (semi-) automated means to combat spam, mostly depending on what software you use – or are willing to use – on your network.

Some IRCd’s, such as Unreal or InspIRCd, already have built-in functionality to filter spam in any part that is visible to other IRCers – those however require that someone notices the spam and adds a regular expression to block and act upon it.

Completely automated ways to combat drones and malicious users include setting up a proxy scanner using DNS blacklists, or DNSBLs for short. There are extensive lists of various blacklists available on the internet but only some of them are meant to be used exclusively for IRC so choose wisely.

But what if the IRCd of your choice doesn’t support spamfilters and you don’t want to use DNS-based blacklists? IRCDefender is a software that could provide you with such functionality by adding a “pseudo-server” to your network which sole purpose would be checking for spam and everything else you configure it to do.

Neostats is another service that can help you combat malicious activity – it might even already be installed so you only would need to add the SecureServ module to it to have an additional layer of protection available.

So, since preventing spam also somewhat pertains to security, the same rules apply to it: you rather have a few layers to prevent something bad from happening than depend on a single line of defense.

Please share your tips what you do about spam on your network as well as stuff i might have missed :)

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Syzop Returns as Unreal3* Maintainer

On the 13th of May IRC-Junkie reported that Syzop had to retire as maintainer on the UnrealIRCd team because of RSI injury to his wrists.

“And I’m back! I was forced to go inactive 4 months ago due to a severe wrist issue. Now, after surgery and 3 months of recovery, I’m starting to get back on track again and I’ve resumed my position as Unreal3* maintainer in the UnrealIRCd team”, Syzop announced on the UnrealIRCd website.

“I’m currently at ~33% of my normal capacity,” Syzop said to IRC-Junkie, “but recovery is going steady and am rarely experiencing any pain now. Still, got to be very careful with how long I work, and stress levels.” He also has to do exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles.

Syzop resumed his work as maintainer on the UnrealIRCd 3.* branch. “I’m personally not involved with Unreal4 at the moment, I’m only maintaining Unreal3, since I don’t want to stress my wrist too much.” Syzop sees the 3.* branch to be of importance for quite some time to come, so he focuses on this branch instead. “I also want to personally ensure that Unreal3 will be maintained long enough so nobody is rushed to Unreal4, hence also my statement on my own site saying I’ll support it in some shape or form until somewhere in 2009.”

“There are numerous changes to be done to Unreal4 to make it an Unreal product, some major.. many minor. And, of course, a lot of (stress)testing. I believe some good progress has been made during the summer vacation, but there’s still a lot left to do, and now the vacation is over progress is slower (as expected),” Syzop ends.

Thanks to DragonFlu who spotted this!