Typical IRC services usually allow you to register with nickserv and link a number of nicks to a personal account. It's quite common to have nick, nick_ and nick__ as many IRC clients auto-append underscores if the primary nickname is already in use when connecting. Obviously you can set these alternate nicknames to almost anything you like in a decent client.
Some folks also group a "vanity" nickname or two for whatever reason. To keep these active, people do the "nick shuffle" (/nick newnick, /nick oldnick) all the time:
People who forget the occasional nick shuffle may end up losing a grouped nick because it became inactive. While freenode staff try to contact people before dropping linked nicks, there are occasional prunes of "old data" from the services database. And then nobody can really ask upfront.
So before the next big purge comes up, I wrote a small bash script that logs into a nickserv account and cycles through the linked nicks. A few friends and me have used it successfully for many months now.
Grab a copy of keepnick (2.4kB) and drop it into /usr/local/bin.
Keepnick expects to have an accountname, the corresponding password and then a sequence of linked nicks given on its command line.
For regular use, you need to set up a cron job to call keepnick e.g. every week. So put something like the following script into
/etc/cron.weekly/keepnicks_irc or create a corresponding crontab entry for
keepnicks_irc if you do not have the convenient cron.* directories set up:
# run keepnick for user(s) irc account(s)
# intended to be run from cron, e.g. through /etc/cron.weekly
# better safe than sorry
$KEEPNICK accountname1 passw0rd1 linked_nick1 linked_nick1_ linked_nick1__
$KEEPNICK accountname2 passw0rd2 linked_nick1 linked_nick2_ linked_nick2__
You should see keepnick in action now every week like this:
What happens here is that the IRC services package tells you, keepnick has just authenticated to your account and will now shuffle through all nicks you asked it to. The big advantage is that is does this outside of channels, so not annoying any users. The cron job should make sure you don't forget the nick shuffle anymore.
Making sure your bash supports network connections
Stock bash will support network connections but on Debian and old (=pre-karmic) Ubuntu that capability was disabled at compile time.
If you need to check whether your bash is compiled with network support, type
cat < /dev/tcp/time.nist.gov/13 into a bash terminal.
In case that gives you a RFC-867 time string, you're all fine.
If not, re-compile your bash with
Now for something more advanced (but entirely optional):