By default, XBoard communicates with an Internet Chess Server by opening a TCP socket directly from the machine it is running on to the ICS. If there is a firewall between your machine and the ICS, this won't work. Here are some recipes for getting around common kinds of firewalls using special options to XBoard. Important: See the paragraph in the below about extra echoes, in Limitations.
Suppose that you can't telnet directly to ICS, but you can telnet to a firewall host, log in, and then telnet from there to ICS. Let's say the firewall is called ‘firewall.example.com’. Set command-line options as follows:
xboard -ics -icshost firewall.example.com -icsport 23
Then when you run XBoard in ICS mode, you will be prompted to log in to the firewall host. This works because port 23 is the standard telnet login service. Do so, then telnet to ICS, using a command like ‘telnet chessclub.com 5000’, or whatever command the firewall provides for telnetting to port 5000.
If your firewall lets you telnet (or rlogin) to remote hosts but doesn't let you telnet to port 5000, you may be able to connect to the chess server on port 23 instead, which is the port the telnet program uses by default. Some chess servers support this (including chessclub.com and freechess.org), while some do not.
If your chess server does not allow connections on port 23 and your firewall does not allow you to connect to other ports, you may be able to connect by hopping through another host outside the firewall that you have an account on. For instance, suppose you have a shell account at ‘foo.edu’. Follow the recipe above, but instead of typing ‘telnet chessclub.com 5000’ to the firewall, type ‘telnet foo.edu’ (or ‘rlogin foo.edu’), log in there, and then type ‘telnet chessclub.com 5000’.
Suppose that you can't telnet directly to ICS, but you can use rsh to run programs on a firewall host, and that host can telnet to ICS. Let's say the firewall is called ‘rsh.example.com’. Set command-line options as follows:
xboard -ics -gateway rsh.example.com -icshost chessclub.com
Then when you run XBoard in ICS mode, it will connect to the ICS by using rsh to run the command ‘telnet chessclub.com 5000’ on host ‘rsh.example.com’.
Suppose that you can telnet anywhere you want, but you have to run a special program called ptelnet to do so.
First, we'll consider the easy case, in which ‘ptelnet chessclub.com 5000’ gets you to the chess server. In this case set command line options as follows:
xboard -ics -telnet -telnetProgram ptelnet
Then when you run XBoard in ICS mode, it will issue the command ‘ptelnet chessclub.com 5000’ to connect to the ICS.
Next, suppose that ‘ptelnet chessclub.com 5000’ doesn't work; that is, your ptelnet program doesn't let you connect to alternative ports. As noted above, your chess server may allow you to connect on port 23 instead. In that case, just add the option ‘-icsport ""’ to the above command. But if your chess server doesn't let you connect on port 23, you will have to find some other host outside the firewall and hop through it. For instance, suppose you have a shell account at ‘foo.edu’. Set command line options as follows:
xboard -ics -telnet -telnetProgram ptelnet -icshost foo.edu -icsport ""
Then when you run XBoard in ICS mode, it will issue the command ‘ptelnet foo.edu’ to connect to your account at ‘foo.edu’. Log in there, then type ‘telnet chessclub.com 5000’.
ICC timestamp and FICS timeseal do not work through some firewalls. You can use them only if your firewall gives a clean TCP connection with a full 8-bit wide path. If your firewall allows you to get out only by running a special telnet program, you can't use timestamp or timeseal across it. But if you have access to a computer just outside your firewall, and you have much lower netlag when talking to that computer than to the ICS, it might be worthwhile running timestamp there. Follow the instructions above for hopping through a host outside the firewall (foo.edu in the example), but run timestamp or timeseal on that host instead of telnet.
Suppose that you have a SOCKS firewall that will give you a clean 8-bit wide TCP connection to the chess server, but only after you authenticate yourself via the SOCKS protocol. In that case, you could make a socksified version of XBoard and run that. If you are using timestamp or timeseal, you will to socksify it, not XBoard; this may be difficult seeing that ICC and FICS do not provide source code for these programs. Socksification is beyond the scope of this document, but see the SOCKS Web site at http://www.socks.permeo.com/. If you are missing SOCKS, try http://www.funbureau.com/.