SCC Supports OpenVPN

After having had lots and lots of troubles with the proprietary Juniper VPN client (On some GNU/Linux versions including the distro used by the computational chemistry group it refused working at all!) formerly exclusively recommended by our university’s IT management, the Steinbuch Centre for Computing (SCC), I was very happy to see that now (since when?) they also support OpenVPN.

On my Ubuntu 10.04 + GNOME 2 system, running

sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn-gnome
sudo -r shutdown now

(yes, it needs to reboot…) was sufficient to allow me importing the configuration file provided by the SCC into the GNOME NetworkManager. (VPN Connections → Configure VPN… → Import Then enter your user name and password and confirm.) The configuration file along with some additional information is available from the SCC’s website.

It should be installed by default but if not, first install OpenVPN via

sudo apt-get install openvpn

I hope many students and employees will now use OpenVPN so they switch from trial to regular operation. Kicking out the Juniper client was an important step for me towards a fully free desktop.

One Comment

  1. Posted 2012-03-12 at 18:50 | Permalink | Reply

    Great progress. The university of Salzburg also uses this awkward Juniper VPN solution. There is a Java applet that sets up a vpn connection but, obviously, needs to run with root privileges. It is an understatement that this is a suboptimal solution.
    Since only recently, they also block port 22 (ssh) — well, basically any port — to computers within the university network. So I possess a public IPv4 address for my computer in my office without being able to benefit from it. Instead, they provide a ssh host to which everyone (!) is forced to connect in order to get through the firewall. And everyone can determine who logs in at which time. Not exactly elegant. In order to circumvent this “security measure” one needs to do a reverse ssh (ssh -R) from the office computer to some remote host (a publically available virtual server outside the university’s network) in order to provide a tunnel to the office computer’s ssh port.

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