Skip to content
Go to file

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time


                           INTRODUCTION TO ICB

ICB (International CB) is a teleconferencing system that allows Internet
users to participate in realtime online discussions. This package builds a
client program (called, strangely enough, "icb") that is used to access

ICB is based on Sean Casey's ForumNet ("forum" or "fn") 0.10, with his
permission.  The new name was devised by Mark Giaquinto and John Atwood
DeVries.  The actual code here is based on release 5.0.9 of the Tcl C-Icb
client.  It has been severely modified by a loose knit group of users who
can't seem to part with the traditional client code.


The parts of the code that are left over from ForumNet are Copyright (c)
1990 by Carrick Sean Casey.

The parts of the code that are left over from icb 5.0.9 is Copyright (c)
1993 by Mark J. Reed.

That said, cicb 5.1 is nearly a complete rewrite of the original code by
the cicb-workers committee, which includes, but is not limited to: Erik
Fichtner, Phil Stracchino, Michel Hoche-Mong, and Felix Lee.

This code has been placed under the GNU Public License with Mark Reed's
blessing.  Please see the file "LICENSE" for further information.

                           SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

ICB runs on Internet Unix systems with Berkeley compatable TCP/IP and
select(). It has been successfully compiled and run on several systems,
including FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, Irix, OSX 10.4 and 10.5,
and several popular distributions of Linux. ICB requires a POSIX system
with an ANSI C compiler, a relatively recent version of TCL, and the GNU
readline library.


cicb now uses the gnu configure utility to try to figure out the correct
settings for your system. See the file "INSTALL" for details on building
the executable.

                           CHANGES SINCE 5.1.1

    The 5.2.0 release is currently in long-term development. A bunch
of code cleanup has been started, including de-K&Ring most of the code.
The intent is to isolate the TCL engine from the main handling and make
it so that alternate (modern) scripting languages may be substituted.

    Sourceforge has become untenable, so the code has been moved to github.


    Fix bug in /w messages where overly-long idle times would cause a buffer
    overrun. patch contributed by tris, modified by hoche.

                           CHANGES SINCE 5.1.0


	The 5.1.1 release uses a changed initialization procedure using a
shared system.icbrc file to enable providing all users with a sane,
working startup environment containing the minimum set of predefined
macros needed to make sure common command primitives work as expected.  
To facilitate this new startup procedure, the default .rc file for cicb
has been changed.  Additionally, since cicb-5.1.0 and later use the system
Tcl libraries instead of the old embedded Tcl-3.6 interpreter, cicb will
no longer read .tclrc or .fnrc files, which can be expected to contain
outdated Tcl code that no longer works with Tcl7.6 and Tcl8.x as installed
on most systems.  The .cicbrc file is also ignored, as it is now obsolete 
since colors are set using the /color command.

	The new startup procedure is as follows:*

    1.	The client reads /usr/local/share/icb/system.icbrc to set up a
	sane environment with working default commands.
    2.	The client checks to see whether $HOME/.icb/icbrc exists.  If it
	exists, it is loaded and executed.  $HOME/.icb/icbrc may 
	source any additional files desired.
    3.  Existing $HOME/.icbrc, $HOME/.cicbrc, $HOME/.tclrc and $HOME/.fnrc 
	files are ignored.

*  This description assumes cicb is configured with --prefix=/usr/local

SIGWINCH handling:

	Open and personal message wrapping now adjusts the wrap point 
properly in response to changes in the size of the icb window when running 
in an Xterm or other terminal window.


	TCP keepalives are enabled by default now. In addition, a high-level
keepalive functionality has been added that sends ICB "ping" messages to
the server at a user defined interval. This is set and cleared by "/oset

SSL support:

	SSL support has been added to the client to maintain an encrypted
connection to the server. Unfortunately, no known server currently supports

OSX support:

	The readline that ships with OSX is broken. This will not compile
with that version, nor is there any plan to make it work. Instead, it is
recommended that you get a *real* version of readline and install that.
If you use fink, it will likely try to install it in /sw, and that is OK.
configure will search there before looking in /usr for it.

                          NEW FEATURES IN 5.1.0


	When the client receives messages from the server, it can now feed
that event into the tcl interpreter by calling a "trigger function", if
that function has been defined in your ".icbrc" file.  With this
functionality and minimal exposure to the TCL scripting language, you can
craft an autopilot for your client or whatever strikes your fancy.  Read
the file "TRIGGERS" for an introduction to the trigger API.

Global Variables:

	The cicb client now provides four global Tcl variables for your 
use in scripts, to allow you to customize cicb's behavior depending on 
which server you're connected to, what nick you're using, or even which 
group you're in.
	The first two variables will remain constant throughout your icb 

	myServer	Contains the icbserverdb name of the server
			you're connected to.  Even if you didn't specify a
			server, this SHOULD never be NULL.
	myHost		Contains the fully quialified domain name of the
			server you're connected to.

	The second two will update dynamically as you change your nick and 

	myNick		Contains your current nick
	myGroup		Contains the name of the group you're in.

	Trivial examples of using these variables may be found in the 
system.icbrc file.

Asynchronous I/O:

	The client can now display messages to you while you're in the
middle of typing the current line.  Just "/oset asyncread true" to enable
this behavior.  Also, whether you're displaying async or not, the client
can now be busy doing things in the background while you're typing.


	You can now adjust the colorization of the client's messages on
the fly.  See the file "README.COLOR" for documentation of the new color

Message Highlighting:

	For important people in your busy ICB lifestyle, the client offers
personal (/m) message highlighting.  This is provided through a TCL
string; "personalhilite" containing the nicknames of those people you wish
to highlight, and it has its own color code values.  This is stored as a
TCL variable to allow ease of modification of the highlight list from
built-in trigger functions.


	The client is now able to optionally timestamp its output, which
can be handy for those that can't watch their client at all times.  To use
this, just "/oset timestamp true".  It too has its own color code.

ICB Servers:

	Most of the icb servers out there have been listed for some time
now under the domain name.  More recently, home of the
west coast primary server ( or changed its
name to for reasons involving large amounts of folding green
stuff.  The west coast default server is now, aka  To allow for future changes, is also aliased
as  The address will continue to work for
now, but Jon Luini, owner of evolve -- er, of wishes everyone to
switch from to or  So, this
is the new default host, and the icbserverdb file has been updated to
reflect the new DNS domain.

                         MODIFYING THE PROGRAM

Guidelines and tips for messing with the source code are in the file
"Modifying". I'm always interested in getting patches from people that
have extended icb's functionality.

In addition, see the file "README.autoconf" for information on modifying
the configuration process.

                               KNOWN BUGS

	When using readline 2.x, SIGWINCH is not handled properly.  If you 
run into screen redraw problems when changing window sizes, try using 
readline 4.x instead.

	NetBSD and OpenBSD both ship with a native readline library that is
based on ancient history, and we do not support it.

	OSX ships with a native readline library that is crippled, and
we do not support it.

	TCL 8.1.x has caused us some problems with the client.

	Under certain contitions, if both Tcl8.0 and Tcl8.3 are installed,
the client may hang at startup when attempting to source the .icb/icbrc 
file.  Replacing -ltcl8.3 with -ltcl8.0 in icb/Makefile seems to be an 
effective workaround for now.

	When using asynchronous I/O mode and [=More=] pagebreaks, logging
to the replay log does not happen. 

	The "personalhilite" string is a case-insensitive substring match
and can cause unexpected things at times.


Thanks to Sean Casey for starting this whole thing, and to Mark
Giaquinto and John Atwood DeVries for making sure it continued past
ForumNet's untimely end.

Thanks to Mark J. Reed for the original 5.0 client and all the effort

Kudos for ideas, bugfixes and previous effort go to Aashi Deacon, 
Rich Dellaripa, Thomas Krueger, Bill Fenner, Bill Wisner, Brian Kendig, 
Dan Chaney, David Herron, Eric Lechner, Eric Scott, Eric Zamost, 
George Herbert, Glenn Stone, Jessica Koeppel, Jim Griffith, Jim Lai, 
Joel Abbott, John deVries, Kris Cox, Lisa Hamilton, Mark Hopkins, 
Paul Callahan, Stephen Chappell, Thomas Kunselman, Thomas Krueger, 
Katrina Werpetinski, Keith Graham, Rich Dellaripa, Greg Williams, 
and others too numerous to mention.


ICB chat client. See




No releases published


No packages published
You can’t perform that action at this time.