Option to NOT save PPTP VPN Password (Ubuntu 11.10)

If you are running Ubuntu 11.10 and are using Network Manager to connect to a PPTP VPN, you may notice that once you enter a password, it is auto-saved for future use. Mysteriously, there isn’t a check box to NOT save the password. If you are connecting to the VPN with a 2-factor authentication system (such as OATH which generates a unique pin-code with each login), you have to manually re-edit the configuration file each time. That’s a huge pain.

Anyway, here is the quick fix. Simply open the VPN configuration script:

nano -w /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/[your_vpn_name]

and change “password-flags=0″ to “password-flags=2″.

That’s it! I googled for several days (literally) until I found this bug report covering the issue. Either I’m a bad Googler (fact), or lots of information isn’t readily available on this topic. I hope this helps someone in need.

Cloud Foundry CLI (VMC) Setup on Debian Squeeze

For the those of you who, like me, are new to Cloud Foundry and Ruby development, deploying your first Cloud Foundry Ruby application via VMC can be unnecessarily frustrating. The trouble stems mostly from sparse information scattered across the Internet and *especially* from incomplete and partially incorrect documentation provided by VMware when you sign up for a Cloud Foundry Beta account.

In this post, we aim accomplish the following things:

  1. Get your system ready with the pre-requisites for the Cloud Foundry CLI
  2. Install VMC (the CLI)
  3. Create and deploy a simple Ruby app
  4. Test and verify

Continue reading Cloud Foundry CLI (VMC) Setup on Debian Squeeze

Debian Router/Gateway in 15 Minutes

A multitude of reasons exist as to why one would want to build a custom router vs. suffer with the performance, reliability issues, and limitations of an off-the-shelf solution. In the spirit of keeping this post short, I won’t launch into a long diatribe on the pros and cons of each here, but I have plenty of thoughts on this, so if you are interested, just ask.

What we are about to do is configure an incredibly fast and stable router/gateway solution for your home/office in about 15 minutes. (Note: This post assumes you already have your machine loaded up with a fresh copy of Debian 5.0 Lenny and you have the two needed NICs installed.

First, let’s make three initial assumptions:

  • eth0 is the public interface (the Cable/DSL modem is attached to this NIC)
  • eth1 is the private interface (your switch is connected to this NIC)
  • All of the client computers, servers, WAPs, etc. are connected to the switch

Continue reading Debian Router/Gateway in 15 Minutes

VirtualBox on a Headless Debian Server

I’ve got too many computers.  It’s become increasingly difficult to convince people “I’m not *that* nerdy” when I have servers and wires laying around everywhere.  A consolidation project is in order.

For this exercise, our goal is to combine a Linux file server and a Windows workstation elegantly into one machine.  “Windows?!?!” you gasp in horror?  No need to be alarmed; I use Linux/BSD exclusively on servers and Mac OS X on my desktops.  I have only one very specific need for a standalone Windows machine, so let’s leave it at that for now.

The Linux file server is headless and of course doesn’t run X-Windows or any other GUI.  I need to have a full Windows environment available which I can RDP into at any time.  I first experimented with Xen which is a solid enterprise solution but overkill for this project.  Next, I spent a significant amount of time with KVM which is easy to set up but has a bit of quirky management in my opinion.  Finally, I settled upon Oracle VirtualBox; it’s free, fast, and can be elegantly controlled at the command line.

Continue reading VirtualBox on a Headless Debian Server

Debian Kernels and Tigon TG3 Firmware

If you are updating the kernel on your Debian 5.0 (Lenny) or Debian 6.0 (Squeeze) installation and have a Tigon Gigabit ethernet controller, such as the one on the Dell Poweredge T110, you may receive the following warning messages:

W: Possible missing firmware /lib/firmware/tigon/tg3_tso5.bin for module tg3
W: Possible missing firmware /lib/firmware/tigon/tg3_tso.bin for module tg3
W: Possible missing firmware /lib/firmware/tigon/tg3.bin for module tg3

While harmless, these messages may be a bit disconcerting.  Luckily, an easy, however not widely-documented fix, is present to solve this.  Simply follow the two steps below:

1.) Add the “non-free” repository to the sources.lst file. (Here we are using Debian Squeeze. Replace “squeeze” with “lenny” if you are using Debian 5.0 Stable.)

nano -w /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main contrib non-free
deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main contrib non-free

2.) Update apt-get and install the “firmware-linux-nonfree” package.

apt-get update
apt-get install firmware-linux-nonfree

Now, you should be all set and you can attempt the kernel installation once more.  According to this Debian bug report, the Tigon TG3 firmware is not listed in the package description even though it is present in the package itself and perhaps why some confusion arose.