Giganews VPN on Ubuntu
This article briefly describes how you can setup the Giganews VPN (PPTP) on Ubuntu. I'm gonna assume
10.04 (that's what I tested with) and the gnome desktop.
Does this sound familiar: The VPN connection 'xxxxx' failed because there were no valid VPN secrets.
If so then I'm hoping this article will help you.
What is a VPN for?
The use-case for a VPN — and this is for basically any VPN (not just Giganews' service) — is security. For example, for online banking when you use public WIFI at airports, train stations or your favorite coffee place.
Unless the VPN service itself is blocked, a VPN also provides real and unfiltered Internet access. No bogus blocks or censorships because your goverment thought they need to protect you.
From a development perspective using different VPNs also allow me to easily test location-based services. And it doesn't stop there — for example since I work for people in the U.S. we often run into issues with services which we use which do things different to me because of my location. A VPN in the U.S. fixes that for me.
And there are more and more use-cases once you think about it.
You may have to install PPTP support for the
The easiest is to use a terminal, and this is how:
sudo aptitude install network-manager-pptp
In case the VPN related things were missing, installing PPTP support gets everything setup for you.
Giganews currently supports the following VPN endpoints:
hk1.vpn.giganews.com(Hong Kong, China)
Here is how you configure the VPN connection:
- Go to Connections > VPN Connections > Configure VPN
- Click "Add", then select "PPTP" from the dropdown and hit "Create".
- Put in anything for the name: Since I setup various different VPN connections, I used something like "giganews-us2".
- In the gateway field I put
- Username is my Giganews username.
- Password is my Giganews password.
- Then click "Advanced", check "Use Point-to-Point encryption" and click "OK".
- Finally, click "Apply".
Here's a small gotcha — for whatever reason this doesn't work yet.
So you have to restart the network-manager:
sudo restart network-manager
The final step: Then go to Connections > VPN Connections > giganews-us2 and it should connect you.
Let's not argue about PPTP vs. OpenVPN vs. L2TP/IPSec — this VPN service is basically included in my usenet subscription and I wanted to take advantage of it.
I realize that PPTP isn't the most awesome (read most secure) out there, but for some weird reason Giganews currently only offers PPTP or L2TP/IPsec — with the latter being a complete b*tch to setup on Ubuntu or Linux in general. I have no idea why OpenVPN is not offered.
That's all. I had to blog it and hope this is helpful to someone out there.
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