Learn How To Setup Quassel on Debian 9

September 6, 2019

Table of Contents

    IRC is popular among developers and users of open source software. One of the disadvantages of IRC is when you’re not on-line, you may miss important conversations or mentions of your nickname. With Quassel and a small VPS, you can have IRC persistence, complete with a web based UI and a searchable backlog.

    I’m going to assume you already know how to create a VPS in the IT Web Services control panel.

    First, you’ll need to login to your IT Web Services control panel and create yourself a brand new VPS. In this example, I have set-up a Debian 9, $2.50/month VPS. You can choose any size, but the aim for this is to be as low cost as possible. You’ll need to give it a name, such as quassel.example.net and make sure you have a DNS A record configured.

    Since these instructions are focused around Debian, you will have to modify them slightly if you plan to use a different Linux distribution such as Ubuntu or CentOS.

    Once your VPS is running, you’ll want to install a few packages to get the basics going.

    You will need to install Quassel-Core, PostgreSQL, Apache and PHP, along with a couple more libraries to talk to the SQL server.

    apt-get install quassel-core postgresql libqt5sql5-psql apache2 php php-pgsql

    You’re also going to need Node.js. The web portion of your personal IRC cloud server requires Node. Complete instructions to install can be found here, but these are the only two lines you’ll need:

    # curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_8.x | bash -
    # apt-get install -y nodejs

    Next, you will need to create a database for the Quassel core. Switch to the Postgres user and run psql.

    # su - postgres
    $ psql

    Once you’re at the PostgreSQL prompt, you’ll need to create a user for Quassel and it’s database:

    CREATE USER quassel ENCRYPTED PASSWORD 'somepassword';

    Now that the basics are configured, you can now launch the Quassel client and connect to your core.

    When you start the Quassel client on your local machine, you will be presented with a connection dialog. Enter the IP address or host name of your VPS and the port number (default: 4242) and select SSL. If you have a proxy server, you can enter the proxy details in the dialog.

    During the first connection, you will be guided though another wizard to configure the core. Enter your first Quasselcore username and password. The first user will be the administrator. Next, select the PostgreSQL database backend and provide the Quassel database username and password as defined in the previous step.

    Once you have configured the basics of your core, you can now set-up the web portion. This allows you to connect to your core from any web browser. We’re going to use Quassel-Webserver.

    Create a user for the web service:

    # useradd -d /opt/quassel-webserver -M -r quassel-webserver

    Now pull down the Quassel webserver and change the ownership to the previously created user:

    # git clone https://github.com/magne4000/quassel-webserver.git /opt/quassel-webserver
    # chown -R quassel-webserver:quasselweb-server /opt/quassel-webserver

    You then need to “install” the Node.js application:

    # su - quassel-webserver
    $ npm install --production

    Copy the settings.js to settings-user.js and change the host, forcedefault and prefixpath values:

    host: 'localhost',
    forcedefault: 'true',
    prefixpath: '/app'

    While in the /opt/quassel-webserver path as root, you can install the service file for Systemd.

    # cp scripts/quassel-webserver.service /lib/systemd/system/quassel-webserver.service

    You will need to edit /lib/systemd/system/quassel-webserver.service and change the ExecStart line:

    ExecStart=/usr/bin/node /opt/quassel-webserver/app.js -l -m http

    You can now enable and start the Quassel webserver:

    systemctl enable quassel-webserver.service
    systemctl start quassel-webserver.service

    You can check that the quassel-webserver is running by executing systemctl status quassel-webserver.service. If you see Active: active (running), you’re all set!

    Next, we’re going to configure Apache.

    You’ll need to enable a few modules to begin, such as proxy_http, proxy_wstunnel and rewrite.

    # a2enmod proxy_http proxy_wstunnel rewrite

    Create a new configuration file for Quassel:

    # nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/quassel.conf
    <VirtualHost *:80>
            ServerName quassel.example.net
            ServerAdmin quassel@example.net
            DocumentRoot /var/www/html
            ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
            CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined
            # Enable Rewrite
            RewriteEngine on
            # Redirect to /app by default
            RedirectMatch ^/$ /app
            # Quassel Webserver
            RewriteRule /app/p/socket(.*) ws://$1 [P,L]
            ProxyPass /app

    And enable your site:

    a2ensite quassel

    Restart Apache to apply the changes:

    systemctl restart apache2

    If all has gone well, you can now browse to your quassel-webserver instance at http://quassel.example.net.

    Next, we’re going to set-up a backlog search. This will require modifications to the quassel-core database. First, let’s begin with cloning the source code:

    # git clone https://github.com/justjanne/quassel-rest-search.git /opt/quassel-rest-search

    Once cloned, rename the file qrs_config.default.php to qrs_config.php and edit the file. You will need to define your database db_name, db_user, db_path and path_prefix. It should end up looking something like this:

    define('db_host', 'localhost');
    define('db_port', 5432);
    define('db_name', 'quassel');
    //Only change this if you know what you are doing
    define('db_connector', null);
    define('db_user', 'quassel');
    define('db_pass', 'somepassword');
    define('backend', 'pgsql-smart');
    define('path_prefix', '/search');

    Next, we modify the database to be used by quassel-rest-search:

    Switch to the postgres user and run psql:

    # su - postgres
    $ psql quassel

    First, add a new column to the backlog table:

    ALTER TABLE backlog ADD COLUMN tsv tsvector;

    Second, add the two new indices:

    CREATE INDEX backlog_tsv_idx
      ON backlog
      USING gin(tsv);
    CREATE INDEX backlog_tsv_filtered_idx
      ON backlog
      USING gin(tsv)
      WHERE (type & 23559) > 0;

    Third, set up a trigger to populate the tsv column:

    CREATE TRIGGER tsvectorupdate
      ON backlog
      EXECUTE PROCEDURE tsvector_update_trigger('tsv', 'pg_catalog.english', 'message');

    Fourth, populate the “tsv” column:

    UPDATE backlog SET messageid = messageid;

    Now you can update the Apache configuration that we created earlier and add:

    # Quassel Search
    Alias /search /opt/quassel-rest-search
    <Directory /opt/quassel-rest-search>
            Require all granted

    Restart Apache:

    systemctl restart apache2

    If all went well, you can navigate to http://quassel.example.net/search and you will see a log-in screen.

    https://www.itweb.services/tutorials/linux-guides/search/?query=let%27s+encrypt”>IT Web Services docs.

    https://www.itweb.services/tutorials/linux-guides/setup-swap-file-on-linux”>Linux swap tutorial.

    Need help?

    Do you need help setting up this on your own service?
    Please contact us and we’ll provide you the best possible quote!