Please at least SKIM this document before asking questions. In fact, READ IT if you've never successfully set up an Eggdrop bot before.


  1. Important notice
  2. What is Eggdrop?
  3. How do I get Eggdrop?
    1. How to get the latest version of Eggdrop via CVS
  4. Quick startup
  5. Upgrading
    1. Upgrading from a pre-1.3 version to 1.8
    2. Upgrading from an older 1.3/1.4/1.5/1.6 version to 1.8
  6. Command line
  7. Setting up a crontab
    1. Setting up a crontab using autobotchk
  8. Boring legal stuff
  9. Mailing list
  10. Documentation
  11. Obtaining help

1. Notice

Please read this file carefully before trying to set up Eggdrop. Also, make SURE that you select your +n (owner) users wisely! They have 100% access to your bot and account! ONLY GIVE THIS POWER TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST COMPLETELY!!

2. What is Eggdrop?

Eggdrop is the World's most popular Internet Relay Chat (IRC) bot; it is freely distributable under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Eggdrop is a feature rich program designed to be easily used and expanded upon by both novice and advanced IRC users on a variety of hardware and software platforms.

An IRC bot is a program that sits on an IRC channel and performs automated tasks while looking just like a normal user on the channel. Some of these functions include protecting the channel from abuse, allowing privileged users to gain op or voice status, logging channel events, providing information, hosting games, etc.

One of the features that makes Eggdrop stand out from other bots is module and Tcl scripting support. With scripts and modules, you can make the bot perform almost any task you want. They can do anything from preventing floods to greeting users and banning advertisers from channels.

You can also link multiple Eggdrop bots together to form a botnet. This can allow bots to op each other securely, control floods efficiently, and even link channels across multiple IRC networks. It also allows the Eggdrops share user lists, ban lists, exempt/invite lists, and ignore lists with other bots if userfile sharing is enabled. This allows users to have the same access on every bot on your botnet. It also allows the bots to distribute tasks such as opping and banning users. See Botnet Sharing and Linking for information on setting up a botnet.

Eggdrop is always being improved and adjusted because there are bugs to be fixed and features to be added (if the users demand them, and they make actually sense). In fact, it existed for several years as v0.7 - v0.9 before finally going 1.0. This version of Eggdrop is part of the 1.8 tree. A valiant effort has been made to chase down and destroy bugs.

This readme file contains information about how to get Eggdrop, command line options for Eggdrop, what you may need to do when upgrading from older versions, a list of frequently asked questions, how to set up a crontab, some boring legal stuff, info about the mailing list (a great place to ask questions, and a good place to report bugs, also), some basics about CVS usage, and some channels where you might get help with Eggdrop.

3. How to get Eggdrop

Before you can compile Eggdrop, you need to have Tcl installed on your system. Most systems should have Tcl on them by now -- you can check by trying the command "tclsh". If it works, you will be given a "%" prompt, and you can type "exit" to exit the program. This means Tcl is installed on your system. If tclsh doesn't load, then Tcl probably isn't on your system, and you will need to install it. The best ftp site for Tcl is

Currently, the 1.8 tree of Eggdrop is developed at You can get the latest version of Eggdrop from

You might also try for more help and information.

3a. How to get the latest version of Eggdrop via CVS

You can obtain the very latest version of Eggdrop, that is still under development, by using CVS. CVS means 'Concurrent Versions System' and is a tool for developers to always keep source code up to date. Try 'man cvs' on your shell for more information about CVS.

This is intended only for users that know a good bit about Eggdrop. Be aware that the versions of Eggdrop that you get via CVS are still being developed, and may be buggy. The Eggheads Development Team will in NO WAY take any responsibility for whatever might happen to you or your shell if you use a CVS version of Eggdrop.

To obtain Eggdrop via CVS:

  1. Log into your shell.
  2. Type 'export' .
  3. Type 'cvs login'.
  4. Press <enter> when prompted for a password.
  5. In your home dir, type 'cvs checkout eggdrop1.8'.
  6. In ~/eggdrop1.8, you should have a copy of the latest CVS version of Eggdrop.


  1. You can 'cvs logout', but you don't need to.
  2. You don't need to go through this whole process every time. If you want to get a CVS version of Eggdrop at a later time, you can just 'cd ~/eggdrop1.8' and type 'cvs update -CdAP'.
  3. If you experience errors when using 'export', you might be using tclsh as a shell. If so, try using the command 'setenv' instead of 'export':

    'setenv CVSROOT'

4. Quick startup

Please see Compilation and Installation of Eggdrop AFTER you finish reading this file.

5. Upgrading

5a. Upgrading from a pre-1.3 version to 1.8


We can't stress this enough. If you are upgrading and you have even a slight possibility of downgrading again later, you will HAVE to back up your userfile, or you will lose it. v1.3 of Eggdrop radically changed a lot of things.

There are many major changes between v0.9, v1.0, v1.1 and v1.8, so PAY ATTENTION to this part if you have a v0.9, 1.0 or 1.1 bot currently. If you're just starting out, you can skip this section.

If you run share bots, you will need to upgrade them all at the same time because of the new userfile format. Older bots will be able to link in, but will not get or send a userfile. MAKE A NEW CONFIG FILE from the example; there are some radical changes.

If you are upgrading from 0.9/1.0 to 1.8, just redo the whole thing. Absolutely everything has changed, including the userfile and config file formats.

If you are upgrading from 1.1/1.2 to 1.8, you will likely want to redo the config file, as much as changed. BACK UP! You will need to run 'tclsh scripts/weed/<userfile> c' to convert your userfile from v3 (1.1/1.2) to v4 (1.3/1.4/1.5/1.6/1.8).

5b. Upgrading from an older 1.3/1.4/1.5/ 1.6/1.8 version to a newer 1.8 version

If you followed Compilation and Installation of Eggdrop and did a 'make install' (or 'make install DEST="path"') after 'make', this will be pretty easy. Just upload the new eggdrop1.8.x.tar.gz file to your home dir on your shell, gunzip and untar it, and type 'cd ~/eggdrop1.8.x'. Next, type './configure', 'make config' or 'make iconfig', then 'make'. Then, kill the bot ('.die' on the party line), and 'make install' to the same directory your bot is currently in. After that, you can just restart your bot. You may wish to delete the old Eggdrop executable and modules as well, especially if you have limited disk space.

You should read through the new eggdrop.conf file for all of the new options in Eggdrop 1.8.x. You can copy and paste any of these settings into you current conf file if you do not want to use the default settings.

6. Command line

Eggdrop has some command-line options -- not many, because most things should be defined through the config file. However, sometimes you may want to start up the bot in a different mode, and the command-line options let you do that. Basically, the command line for Eggdrop is:

% eggdrop [options] [config-file]

The options available are:


Don't background. Normally, Eggdrop will move itself into the background when you start it up, meaning you'll get another shell prompt, and you can do other things while the bot is running. With -n, you won't return to the shell prompt until the bot exits (which won't normally happen until it's killed). By default, -n will send all log entries to the console.


Don't background, use terminal. This is just like -n, except that instead of seeing log entries, your console will simulate a DCC chat with the bot.


Don't background, show channel info. This is just like -n, except that instead of seeing log entries, every 10 seconds your screen will clear and you will see the current channel status, sort of like "top".


Create userfile. If you don't have a userfile, this will make Eggdrop create one and give owner status to the first person that introduces himself or herself to it. You'll need to do this when you first set up your bot.


Show help.


Show version info, then quit.

Most people never use any of the options except -m, and you usually only need to use that once.

7. Setting up a crontab

Eggdrop has become more stable with time, thanks mostly to people reporting bug details and helping find places where it crashes. However, there are still a -few- places where things aren't perfect. Few, if any, things in life are.

Also, most systems go down from time to time. These things cause your bot to disappear from IRC, and you have to restart it.

Eggdrop comes with a shell script called 'botchk' that will help keep the bot online. It will make the machine check every ten minutes to make sure your bot is still running. To use it, you have to add a line to your crontab. First, edit 'botchk' and change the directory and command line parameters so that it will be able to start up your bot. Then, add this line to your crontab:

0,10,20,30,40,50 * * * * /home/mydir/botchk

If you don't want to get e-mails from cron, use this:

0,10,20,30,40,50 * * * * /home/mydir/botchk >/dev/null 2>&1

Naturally, you need to change the path to the correct path for botchk. If you've never used crontab before, here is a simple way to add that line:

  1. Create a new file called 'mycron' and put the above line into it.
  2. From your shell prompt, type '% crontab mycron'.

That will create a new crontab entry for you with a line that runs botchk every ten minutes. Botchk will then restart the bot when necessary (and send you email informing you).

7a. Setting up a crontab using autobotchk

Included with your Eggdrop is a utility called 'autobotchk'. Using autobotchk is probably the fastest way of creating your botchk and adding it to crontab with just a few required steps:

  1. Type 'cp scripts/autobotchk ..'.
  2. Type './autobotchk <Eggdrop config file>'.

This will hopefully crontab your bot using the default setup. If you want a list of autobotchk options, type './autobotchk'. An example with options would be:

./autobotchk eggdrop.conf -noemail -5

This would setup crontab to run the botchk every 5 minutes and also to not send you e-mail saying that it restarted your bot.

8. Boring legal stuff

The Eggdrop bot is Copyright © by Robey Pointer. As of January, 1997, Eggdrop is distributed according to the GNU General Public License. There should be a copy of this license in the file 'COPYING'. If not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

As of Eggdrop 1.3.28, all changes made by the Eggheads Development Team to the Eggdrop source code and any related files are Copyright © by Eggheads Development Team. The source code will still be distributed according to the GNU General Public License as Robey Pointer did in the past.

Releases previous to 1.0m were made using a different licensing scheme. You may, at your option, use the GNU General Public License on those versions (instead of the license packaged with them) with my blessing. For any versions bearing a copyright date of 1997 or later, you have no choice -- you must use the GNU General Public License.

The files "match.c", "net.c", and "blowfish.c" are exempt from the above restrictions. "match.c" is original code by Chris Fuller (email: and has been placed by him into the public domain. "net.c" is by me, and I [Robey Pointer] also choose to place it in the public domain. "blowfish.c" is by various sources and is in the public domain as well. All 3 files contain useful functions that could easily be ported to other applications.

Tcl is by John Ousterhout and is in no way affiliated with Eggdrop. It likely has its own set of copyrights and whatnots.

There is no warranty, implied or whatever. You use this software at your own risk, no matter what purpose you put it to.

9. Mailing list

There are currently a couple of mailing lists about Eggdrop. is the one relevant for posts about Eggdrop 1.4 and up (and bug fixes, and suggestions, etc).

To subscribe to the eggheads mailing list, send e-mail to In the body of the message, put "subscribe eggheads". You can also go to the following url:


Robey is no longer developing the Eggdrop code, so don't bother e-mailing him. If you have a serious problem, email the eggheads mailing list and it will get to the coders.

Please, before posting to this list, see what things are like. When you do post, read over your post for readability, spelling, and grammar mistakes. Obviously, we're all human (or are we?) and we all make mistakes (heck, look at this document! ;).

Open discussion and debate is integral to change and progress. Don't flame others over mere form (grammar and spelling), or even substantive issues for that matter. Please read and follow the mailing list rules.

The mailing list is not dedicated to those all too common questions we have all seen on other lists... For example:

Technical questions, your thoughts or suggestions on new features being added to Eggdrop, things that should be removed or fixed, amazing problems that even stump the guru's, etc. are what we want to see here.

Bug reports should be sent to Please read and fill out the BUG-REPORT file in the doc directory.


10. Documentation

We're trying to keep the documentation up to date. If you feel that anything is missing here or that anything should be added, etc, please e-mail about it. Thank you.

11. Obtaining help

You can obtain help with Eggdrop in the following IRC channels:

If you plan to ask questions in any of the above channels, you should be familiar with and follow IRC etiquette.

Some important things to remember:

If you break these rules, you may find yourself ignored, or even kicked and/or banned from the channel.

If there are any other serious Eggdrop related channels that should be added to the above list, please let us know.

Copyright © 1997 Robey Pointer
Copyright © 1999 - 2010 Eggheads Development Team Eggheads Development Team