Mint 11 / Ubuntu 11.04 – vpnc+ssh issue

Linux Mint


Yes, I know.. Long time since a post, but I have been waiting ’till I had something interesting to comment on :)

You should all know by now that Ubuntu 11.04 and Mint 11 are now out in the wild, and both are very nice IMHO. I have been a “Minty” guy now for quite sometime but I thought it would behoove me to at least try the new Ubuntu 11.04 and it’s Unity interface, so I stuck it on a netbook to test it out and I can say this: It doesn’t suck at all! In fact, I was pleasantly surprised. Compared to Gnome 3 (more on that later), Unity is quite usable.

That brings me to Mint 11. A beautiful distribution as I have come to expect. Not too much to say about it for those familiar with Mint except it’s a worthy successor in a long line of great releases. If you haven’t yet tried Mint, you are really doing yourself a disservice.

There are of course problems with everything. Mine was with my vpn connection. I use vpnc to connect to my works’ cisco vpn, and I have been doing so successfully now for many years. In fact, vpnc is my preferred method of connecting over any other client including the cisco client itself. It just works. It’s very easy to configure and use and it stays out of my way. That is until recently.

After I installed Mint 11 on my daily carry, I eventually needed to vpn into work and fix something. Well, I immediately noticed that ssh through vpnc would not connect. I could ping, http, rdesktop, whathaveyou, but no ssh. I looked at the routes, I looked at the tunnel, I looked at the verbose messages from vpnc. Nothing worked. If, however, I walked over to my other laptop that is running Mint 10 with the very same vpnc config, I got right through. This was quite perplexing. I eventually tried connecting with the Ubuntu 11.04 install, and I got the exact same results. I was grasping at straws. Maybe all new distributions were broken in this manner? The horror actually forced me to install Fedora 15 (sorry Fedora folks) and test that. To my surprise, F15′s vpnc+ssh worked just fine. This also gave me an opportunity to find out how dysfunctional and horrible an interface Gnome 3 is (KDE and Unity are gonna become big real soon I guarantee it).

As a last ditch effort to narrow things down, I decided to try a different ssh client. I tried both putty and dropbear. THEY WORKED! YAY! This meant I could go back to running the new Mint on my netbook. I fully intend to just try my own compile of ssh sometime in the future, or perhaps the package maintainers will catch wind of this and fix it (I did send some emails to Clem). Until then, I am happy that I can still use my beloved Mint and I can live temporarily with dropbear and / or putty for ssh through my vpn when I need it. I just hope this post gets around a bit so the other guy that uses vpnc+ssh to connect to his cisco vpn doesn’t think he’s going crazy like I did :)

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5 Responses to “Mint 11 / Ubuntu 11.04 – vpnc+ssh issue”

  1. gorkon Says:

    I happen to REALLY like Gnome 3. What’s wrong with it?? Have you tried it since F15 released??

    BOTH Unity and Gnome 3 are using something that the old stuff hasn’t (unless you mapped it) and that’s GOOD keyboard shortcuts. On F15 with Gnome 3, you hit the Super key and it actually DOES something! :-)

    Other than the fact that you have to hit alt to shutdown, I find Gnome 3 to be not so bad!

  2. nitroflow Says:

    Here’s why you’re (probably) wrong about GNOME 3

    http://www.happyassassin.net/2011/05/31/gnome-shell-panel-applets-and-eating-your-cake/

    And here are some extensions:

    http://intgat.tigress.co.uk/rmy/extensions/index.html
    http://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell/Extensions

  3. linc Says:

    Yes, tried Gnome 3 ON F15 (as per the post).. Don’t like it for a lot of reasons. Seems cartooney, no panel applets, can’t get rid of the ones that are there without hacking crap, no desktop icons without hacking configs. Menuing sucks. You will NEVER get new people to get into Gnome 3 because it’s difficult to navigate and find things, not to mention slow, and requiring windows centric people to use the keyboard to get around will never work. I can see and appreciate what they are trying to do for people who are comfortable on the keyboard, but, let’s face it, it’s becoming a pointy-clicky world and any DE that doesn’t cater to that is imminently doomed.

  4. nitroflow Says:

    You can always change the theme and some distro can come along and do a great job customizing the desktop with all the great extensions or even develop their own, just like Ubuntu has done for GNOME 2 and mint has done to Ubuntu. Anyway it’s a .0 release and IMHO the best .0 release of gnome so far, so just give it some time :).

  5. linc Says:

    AHA! I found a legit answer to the ssh issue and found someone else who knows about it. Find info and the fix here: http://serverfault.com/questions/265244/ssh-client-problem-connection-reset-by-peer

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