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A Telegram Bot as your personal IoT assistant

Project description


A Telegram Bot as your personal IoT assistant

kaoru can be defined as a Telegram Bot whose roles are much alike to those related to IoT personal assistant.

OK, I think I get the idea, but what is it good for?

kaoru’s purpose in life is to make your life a little bit easier by allowing you remote control of certain things on your host(s), the rationale behind this is that there could be moments in which you would need to perform administrative tasks on either your office or home laptop, things that you maybe forgot to do, or things you could only do by getting in front of them. An IoT-like approach would be ideal on this scenario, namely, talk to your machines and tell them to do stuff for you while you’re walking streets, or having a dinner with your friend, or when you’re just too sleepy/lazy to get up from your couch/bed.

For the moment, kaoru is capable of:

  • Rebooting your host(s)

  • Shutting down your host(s)

  • Locking the screen on your host(s)

  • Send screen shots from your host(s)

Things I feel tempted to implement:

  • Suspend to RAM/disk.

  • Tell your host(s) to send you a file in their file system.

  • Perform a tail on a file and send messages as new content is appended to that file.

Wait, what?, bots are sort-of public domain, you know?

While that’s true, the fact is that having your host running kaoru means that you have control over her, including (but not limited) to control which people she’s going to listen to, as explained in Security.

OK, I get it, how do I use this?, I just wanna get hands-on this “thing” …

Well, the most essential thing you will need is to tell @BotFather to make a new bot for you, as specified in Telegram Bots Documentation

On the other hand, you gotta install kaoru, of course.

# First of all, you need to install
pip3 install kaoru

A Telegram Bot is a just a dummy client with no cell phone attached to it, you need something to control this bot so it can become active, and that’s when kaoru comes into play.

Make sure you have properly set up your brand new Telegram Bot, @BotFather should have given you an API access token (a bunch of characters and numbers), kaoru needs this token in order for her to do her magic.

Moreover, you can edit your configuration file from this point

$ vi /path/to/your/kaoru.conf

NOTE: A configuration file is not mandatory for kaoru to run, she can do it using her defaults, however, you will need at least to set the API token through the environment variable TG_TOKEN

Now you are done setting up kaoru, now is time to run it!

$ kaoru --config /path/to/you/kaoru.conf

kaoru [version] -
--- Reading configuration file at: asd.conf
(!) Strict mode has been enforced!
(!) You will need to register my commands with my @BotFather
(!) Ask him to /setcommands and after you
(!) have mentioned me, you can paste the following:
about - Information for nerds
start - Start me up
hello - See if I "live"
help - Get list of available commands
screenlock - See if I "live"
screenshot - Get a screen shot from your host(s)
dryrun - Toggle "dry run" mode
cancel - Cancel any pending operation(s)
reboot - Reboot your host(s)
poweroff - Shut down your host(s)
--- Waiting for updates ...

NOTE: bear in mind that you have to register kaoru’s commands for your bot with the @BotFather, kaoru will tell you how.

So, I have everything set up. What commands are available on this bot?

Good question indeed!, the following is the current set of commands supported by kaoru, more are planned to come:

  • /hello A simple ping just to see if your bot is alive

  • /help How to use kaoru

  • /screenlock Lock screens on your host(s)

  • /screenshot Get a screen shot from your host(s)

  • /poweroff Tell your host(s) to shut down

  • /reboot Tell your host(s) to reboot

  • /cancel Cancel any pending operations

  • /dryrun don’t do a thing, but pretend

  • /about information, mostly for nerds

Are there any sort of requirements for kaoru in order to work properly?

Yes indeed. For the moment, kaoru is only working under certain conditions. Hosts running kaoru must:

  • Be Linux-based at least (though conceptually speaking, *nix should be supported)

  • Have sudo. Since commands like shutdown need to be run as root.

  • Have either scrot or imagemagick installed (if you want /screenshot command to work)

  • Run kaoru on behalf on an user whose sudo privileges cover at least the execution of shutdown with no password requirement.

Configuration file

kaoru lists all sorts of configuration directives inside a YAML configuration file. These directives range from essentials like a Telegram Bot API token to those related with blablabla. Please refer to the example configuration file for more details on how to configure kaoru.

# Example configuration file

# Telegram Bot API access token

# shutdown the host 2 minutes after a /poweroff command has been received
poweroff_delay: 2

# command to execute when a /screenlock command has been received
screenlock_cmd: xscreensaver

NOTE: Configuration files can be read by kaoru using the --config argument, by default, kaoru will look up for a configuration file on ~/.config/kaoru/kaoru.conf


By default, kaoru runs openly, namely, it will listen to any incoming updates from any user wanting to communicate with her, while this would allow you to quickly see her working, it is inherently and by all means INSECURE!!!!

Once you feel happy with your configuration, it is strongly advised that you enforce strict mode on your configuration file, like so:

# .. other options are behind

# enforce strict mode
strict: true

# The following are the users who can talk
# to kaoru. Requests coming from users outside
# this list are simply IGNORED.
    - <your Telegram user name>
    - betty # your friend betty can also talk to kaoru

Once you’re done, you can proceed to re-execute kaoru. With strict directive set to true, kaoru will only listen and react to commands and messages coming from users set in masters.


kaoru [options]
  • --version show version number and exit

  • -i | --interactive enter CLI mode

  • -c FILE | --config FILE configuration file to use

  • -h | --help show a help message and exit

  • -d | --dry-run don’t actually do anything

  • L NUM | --log-level NUM set logging output level

  • -l FILE | --log-file LOG_FILE set log file


There are many ways in which you can contribute to kaoru. Code patches are just one thing amongst others that you can submit to help the project. We also welcome feedback, bug reports, feature requests, documentation improvements, advertisement and testing.

Feedback contributions

This is by far the easiest way to contribute something. If you’re using kaoru for your own benefit, don’t hesitate sharing. Feel free to submit issues and enhancement requests.

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