How it all started
By Francois on Sunday 17 February 2008, 11:22 - Permalink
When you work on a open source project, you need to follow the discussions with the other members of project. Each project has its own preferred way of communication. Most times they rely on mailing lists or IRC. Some rare ones even rely on newsgroups, sprints or private emails.Some time in 2004, I got involved in the Stratagus project. The main communication channel for Stratagus was IRC. It worked great. A lot of people were active on the channel from everywhere over the world. The project leader lived in Australia, some developers lived in the US and Canada while others lived in Europe or anywhere else in the world. Everybody lived in different timezones. And that was a big problem. While sleeping the guys in the other timezones had important discussions about the project. When joining the channel later on, you were lost. In order to participate in the project and stay tuned, one had to keep his (noisy) computer always on to stay connected on the IRC channel. Leave a week or two for holidays, and you're completely lost when you come back.
Later we found a IRC logger service by Colas Nahaboo. Finally the solution for those communication problems ?
The logger enabled you to set a password on the channel logs. Of course, I tried. Unfortunately the password had special characters which did not get through the authentication. Result: a few hours after activating the logger, the logs were lost forever.
The logger by Colas is targeted for Intranets. As such it has some weaknesses when deployed on the public Internet. The code to display the logs consists of bash scripts without many consideration for security. Also anyone on the channel can tell the bot to leave. In a hostile environment like the Internet, this is an invitation for crackers to disrupt your tools. Conclusion, Colas logger is very useful but not reliable.
No other IRC logger was as close to our needs than the one of Colas. If we wanted better, we had to write our own. And thus, I bought a virtual server and created an improved version of the logger. A version tailored for the public Internet and which one could rely on while absent of IRC.
People noticed the logger and enjoyed it. Some asked if the logger could log their channel too, and so the list of logged channels increased.
This is the story of the birth of the IRC logger on colabti.