xboard: -keepAlive option no longer working at FICS

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sje
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xboard: -keepAlive option no longer working at FICS

Post by sje » Tue Nov 24, 2015 1:08 am

xboard: -keepAlive option no longer working at FICS

Seen twice today: exactly one hour after the conclusion of a game, FICS will terminate a remote xboard connection in spite of the -keepAlive option sending a date command every five minutes.

The option still appears to be working at ICC.

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hgm
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Re: xboard: -keepAlive option no longer working at FICS

Post by hgm » Tue Nov 24, 2015 6:37 am

Wel, the risk always existed that they don't like this kind of client behavior. They did not instate the timeout for no reason.

The -keepAlive option alsways has been a kludge to subvert their timeout rules. I guess a more robust solution would be an -autoReconnect N option, which would automatically logon XBoard again to the same ICS after it would be disconnected for any reason. N could specify the number of games for which it would have to do that, so that you could logon your computer for a tourney of 9 rounds, and be sure it stayed on for the entire tourney even without attention.

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Re: xboard: -keepAlive option no longer working at FICS

Post by mvk » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:19 am

The FICS server hasn't been restarted since Dec 6 2014, almost one full year ago.

When I check on Symbolic(C) using the finger command, I don't see an idle time reported higher than 4 minutes, suggesting that the `date' command is being processed ok.

It would be interesting the see the xboard debug logging, especially starting from 5 minutes prior to the logout message. Be reminded that on server-initiated logout one should always receive a logout screen from the server. If you don't get that, the problem would be elsewhere.

Another strange thing is that, unlike ICC, the FICS server normally doesn't enforce an auto logout after idle time for computer accounts. Just to be sure, I tested this with mscp(C) just now by logging in with telnet and then wait:

Code: Select all

Finger of mscp(C):

On for: 2 hrs, 1 min   Idle: 1 hr, 39 mins
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Re: xboard: -keepAlive option no longer working at FICS

Post by jdart » Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:58 am

I haven't personally seen this happen - my acct was idle for over 3 hours early this morning and it didn't log out.

--Jon

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sje
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Re: xboard: -keepAlive option no longer working at FICS

Post by sje » Wed Nov 25, 2015 9:24 am

The problem seems to have gone away.

It did occur three times at least, as tracked by Symbolic (all times UTC):

Code: Select all

2015-11-23 13&#58;14&#58;41.366 < result * &#123;xboard exit&#125;
2015-11-23 19&#58;21&#58;13.398 < result * &#123;xboard exit&#125;
2015-11-23 22&#58;23&#58;43.084 < result * &#123;xboard exit&#125;
Could it have been some bug in xboard? We may never know.

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sje
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The mysterious 59 minute interval

Post by sje » Wed Nov 25, 2015 9:35 am

In each of the three instances, the next-to-last output from xboard to Symbolic was a ping directive (which was followed by a pong reply), this occurring almost exactly 59 minutes prior to the exit directive sent by xboard.

Code: Select all

2015-11-23 12&#58;15&#58;43.688 > pong 91
2015-11-23 13&#58;14&#58;41.366 < result * &#123;xboard exit&#125;

2015-11-23 18&#58;22&#58;59.812 > pong 21
2015-11-23 19&#58;21&#58;13.398 < result * &#123;xboard exit&#125;

2015-11-23 21&#58;24&#58;57.192 > pong 3
2015-11-23 22&#58;23&#58;43.084 < result * &#123;xboard exit&#125;

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Re: xboard: -keepAlive option no longer working at FICS

Post by matthewlai » Wed Nov 25, 2015 9:20 pm

sje wrote:The problem seems to have gone away.

It did occur three times at least, as tracked by Symbolic (all times UTC):

Code: Select all

2015-11-23 13&#58;14&#58;41.366 < result * &#123;xboard exit&#125;
2015-11-23 19&#58;21&#58;13.398 < result * &#123;xboard exit&#125;
2015-11-23 22&#58;23&#58;43.084 < result * &#123;xboard exit&#125;
Could it have been some bug in xboard? We may never know.
xboard log would be much more useful than Symbolic log.

It seems highly unlikely that xboard would have a bug that logs you out at exactly 1 hour.

I have been running giraffe with xboard for months (and Brainless for years before that), and never had this problem.
Disclosure: I work for DeepMind on the AlphaZero project, but everything I say here is personal opinion and does not reflect the views of DeepMind / Alphabet.

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sje
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Re: xboard: -keepAlive option no longer working at FICS

Post by sje » Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:32 am

Looking at the terminal window in each case where the disconnection occurred, there was no warning issued by FICS; actually, no unusual output at all.

I had never seen this behavior before on either FICS or ICC, and Symbolic has been running on one or the other for many years.

What do you think caused the problem? It can't have been Symbolic, as it is wholly passive when it's not playing a game.

I doubt that there's some system or network problem on the iMac in use, as the connection to ICC via xboard was active on the same machine at the same time.

One of my cats could have gotten on the keyboard and knocked out the FICS xboard, but not three times in one day, all with a 59 minute interval.

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Re: xboard: -keepAlive option no longer working at FICS

Post by matthewlai » Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:39 am

sje wrote:Looking at the terminal window in each case where the disconnection occurred, there was no warning issued by FICS; actually, no unusual output at all.

I had never seen this behavior before on either FICS or ICC, and Symbolic has been running on one or the other for many years.

What do you think caused the problem? It can't have been Symbolic, as it is wholly passive when it's not playing a game.

I doubt that there's some system or network problem on the iMac in use, as the connection to ICC via xboard was active on the same machine at the same time.

One of my cats could have gotten on the keyboard and knocked out the FICS xboard, but not three times in one day, all with a 59 minute interval.
It could be a firewall or router along your connection that is killing idle TCP connections. I know some routers do this to avoid running out of memory with bittorrent clients (they open thousands of connections and sometimes don't close them).

If there's no FICS exit screen the disconnects probably weren't initiated by FICS.
Disclosure: I work for DeepMind on the AlphaZero project, but everything I say here is personal opinion and does not reflect the views of DeepMind / Alphabet.

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sje
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Re: xboard: -keepAlive option no longer working at FICS

Post by sje » Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:05 am

matthewlai wrote:It could be a firewall or router along your connection that is killing idle TCP connections. I know some routers do this to avoid running out of memory with bittorrent clients (they open thousands of connections and sometimes don't close them).
Unlikely here, as the ICC connection was unaffected and there was no unusual loading of the LAN or router.

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