Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cisco VPN on Ubuntu 8.04

Deadlines approach fast! In times like these, it's oh so helpful to be able to dig a tunnel from your office to your home so that you have access to the tools that you need! Right now you have images of me under the ground with a shovel slowly scooping through layers of packed dirt. I'm not using shovels. I didn't break a sweat, and I didn't have to use a single gallon of gasoline!

I installed Cisco VPN on Ubuntu 8.04. Essentially, I did create a tunnel from my office to my home, expanding the bubble that is our corporate network to surround my makeshift home office. It was both easier than I thought and harder than I thought. It was easier thanks to the wonderful community of Ubuntu users, yet harder because it required kernel patches and Google searches and a little patience and persistence.

I found a link to fix the Cisco VPN Installation Issue with Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron. There are in fact several of them, which helps to confirm that the steps you follow won't cause your refrigerator to start leaking. A poster in the forum also described my exact problem that I was facing. He was using an older version of the VPN Client, as I was. And according to another poster, it wasn't compatible with the new kernel. He supplies the reader with a link to the patch, which can also be found all over the net.

After pulling our friendly IT Specialist from his episode of Babylon 5, I was able to obtain the latest version of the VPN Client. It was in fact the same version listed in the forum that the poster recommended. After applying the patch to the new version, all was good. Well, almost. I couldn't get the VPN to start. It was complaining that the profile couldn't be found. What it should have done was laughed at me, called me an idiot, and told me to put the profile configuration file in the correct directory! Then it should have shook it's head and told me to try reading the usage instructions more carefully and to omit using the .pcf file extension in the command I was using.

After reading further in the forum, I found that the Ubuntu community was nice enough to remind me of this fact, without laughing at me, and without the shake of a head.

Easy enough. I started the VPN Client and am now on the way to meeting my deadline, all without leaving the house! In addition, I can now login on nights and future weekends, workaholic that I am, and be able to get more work done!

I must say I'm pretty impressed with Ubuntu 8.04! I'm glad I tried it out. I haven't boot into Windows XP Pro in over a month now! And so far there hasn't been a need. Of course, I do have VMPlayer installed on here with a Windows XP Home VMImage, and am kind of cheating, but that's another adventure!
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