Archive for the ‘OpenSUSE 12.1’ Category

Plug Computer: Part 2 First Steps

May 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Decision made so lets get started. First thing was to choose a domain. I’m rather pleased with the one I found. I could also be regarded as a very sad choice depending on your perspective. My ISP registered it and set up the DNS record. Originally it pointed solely to their mail server so I had to add an additional MX record that pointed to my currently non existent plug computer. I can modify the records directly online, however I managed to screw it up but thankfully my ISP came to the rescue. I really can’t imagine being able to have this type of support with one of the larger ISP’s out there.

So when I ping my domain now I get the desired results. Result. So onto the mail server. As I mentioned before, I decided to trial it on my laptop which can boot to OpenSUSE 12.1. The idea was to run Postfix.

OpenSUSE have a configuration ‘wizard’ that suggests it can set up Postfix. It doesn’t. I tried it a couple of times and it returned an error after installing a heap of stuff. Unsurprisingly, Postfix wouldn’t start. I am not having a happy time with OpenSUSE 12.1. on my HP Laptop. Things just stop working on it every now and again. However, on my Samsung NC10 it is really good. The build is pretty much the same so it’s hard to see why it should be this way. Anyhow….

I uninstalled Postfix reinstalled it as part of  iRedMail. This open source software includes:

  • Postfix: SMTP service
  • Dovecot: POP3/POP3S, IMAP/IMAPS, Managesieve service
  • Apache: Web server
  • MySQL: Storing application data and/or mail accounts
  • OpenLDAP: Storing mail accounts
  • Policyd: Postfix policy server
  • Amavisd: An interface between Postfix and SpamAssassin, ClamAV. Used for spam and virus scanning.
  • Roundcube: Webmail
  • Awstats: Apache and Postfix log analyzer

It also works on Debian which will probably the distribution I will use on the plug computer itself. Postfix certainly worked this time but I am still struggling with the configuration. It is a long process but I am making progress. I can send emails and emails are now accepted by the server which it was reluctant to do at first. I’m not sure what it does with them however and I haven’t managed to get an email client to work with it yet. Obviously more configuration required. Still I am making progress so I will keep ploughing on. I will start to consider buying the actual plug computer I need over the next few days.


Opensuse 12.1 Fritz!box 7390 and VPN – did it

April 8, 2012 Leave a comment

So the idea was to be able to access my Fritz!box 7390 router from the outside via VPN and to be able to do this on my Samsung NC10 which now runs solely on OpenSUSE 12.1. The Fritz!box comes with an IPSEC installed and AVM provide a bespoke VPN client (in german) for Windows7 to work with it. It isn’t that stable and it is limiting in what you can do with it. When it comes to OpenSUSE they provide nothing and you are on your own. Suggestions in comments indicated the Shrew VPN client would be the way to go. As a straight replacement on Win7 it works fine. You have to manually edit the configuration file. It is pretty simple job to cut and paste the relevent details from the Fritz!box configuration file to the Shrew file. This option only allows you to route to your home network only. Getting it to route through the Fritz!box out to the internet (which I wanted to do) is a bit more problematic. You will need to edit the Fritz!box config file and the and the Shrew file directly to alow this to happen. Anyway, after some experimentation it works.

So on to OpenSUSE 12.1. The theory says you just copy the shrew config file over and just use it in the linux client. Before that there are a couple of things you need to do. Obviously you need to install Shrew from the repository. This should bring in the IPSEC packages too. Before you even start Shrew you need to run IKE. If you want to run it automatically you will need write a script. I couldn’t be bothered so I run it from a terminal. From that point on Shrew behaves like the Windows version….. except that it didn’t. For some reason I couldn’t fathom domain numbers were not resolving to IP numbers. Shrew has the option to automatically find a DNS server and secting that did the trick. So I can now VPN through the Fritz!box to the internet using OpenSUSE. It should have been easier though. Next job might well be to get my Xiaomi MIONE phone to VPN through it.

Categories: AVM, Fritz!box, Linux, OpenSUSE 12.1, VPN

Opensuse 12.1 Fritz!box 7390 and VPN. How do you do it?

January 10, 2012 8 comments

OK here is a challenge for some of you. This is an area (one of many) where I know nothing so bear with me. When running Windows on my laptop I can VPN into my Fritz!box 7390. A Friz!Box Windows app generates a configuration files that you load into the router through the in web interface and into the Fritz!Box VPN client. It sounds a little complicated but the configuration only has to be done once. From then on you just fire up the client when you are in a remote location and it connects. Simples.
So now to my question. How do I do this in OpenSUSE 12.1? I tell you what I have tried so far. I have installed KVPN – the KDE VPN client. This allows you to instal the file – which I have to generate under windows (is there a Opensuse 12.1 equivilent process for this too?). There is even a special profile just for Fritzboxes that allows KVPN to import the file. At this point I demonstrate my ignorance (again). KVPN wont work with just the Fritz!box file. It uses IPSEC (I think) so I have downloaded IPSEC files and the IPSEC tools file. This fixes some “racoon” of the errors but I still get a “bind” error. Since both the Fritz!box and OpenSUSE have strong German influences there is a lot of support in the German forums. But my German is weak and Google Translate has not been a friend to me in this matter. So if there are any kind souls out there who know what I need to be doing then please tell me what I need to do. Answers in German are fine. There is one condition however. If the solution involves excesive command line activity, file editing or log dumping then I probably won’t do it as it would defeat the point I was trying to prove in my earlier post. Point and click solutions will certainly given a try. Failing that I might explore the OpenVPN route so any neat solutions here are also welcome.

Wither Linux? Walking the talk with OpenSUSE 12.1

January 3, 2012 1 comment

Stupid question really if you consider Linux as a whole but it is prompted by my earlier rant over Microsoft’s strategy supporting Windows 7 (or not) to encourage the take up of Windows 8. The problem has always been that there has not been a serious OS competitor. It has been the demise of the desktop and potentially the laptop form factors along with the emergence of new ones such as iPads and smartphones that have posed a bigger threat them. This is not news – although learning that Microsoft makes more money from Android through its patent trolling activities than it does from Windows Phone 7 is news to me. Kudos to Barnes and Noble for having the nerve to stand up to them by the way. But I digress and I am sure some of you would point out that Linux is a serious competitor.

Historically, Linux has never quite lived up to expectations as a desktop/laptop OS. Fifteen or so years ago I gave it a go with a SUSE distro. It was awkward and emotional and you had to get down and dirty with scripts and command lines to make stuff happen. I gave up on it as it was a life choice I wasn’t prepared to make. However as Linux Format points out, the last couple of years  has seen a Linux renaissance but not in the areas necessarily expected. TV’s, phones, satnavs,  routers, servers and more have become fruitful territory for open source and Linux but not the desktop/laptop arena.

So, given my negative feelings towards Microsoft (not the best way to start the year), I thought it would a more positive thing to try see if I can live with Linux this time around. Besides, a new opportunity came at Christmas because a family member  discarded their Samsung NC 10 netbook and I have enough space to dual boot on my HP laptop.

Starting with the Samsung.

We bought this 2 years ago. Officially to separate a family member from my desktop who had a habit of installing software that had issues. If a catastrophe was to occur at least it only effected the person concerned. After 2 years of abuse it has served its purpose and it has been replaced. By and large it has been rock solid although it did suffer from the white screen of death. That was simple but fiddly to fix. But it was slow after all the patches and updates that Windows XP requires were installed. So rather than retire it, I have given it a new role as a sort of emergency replacement or guest notebook. Something that you can quickly turn on, get full internet access and be able to create documents. It also must be usable by someone who has used a Windows computer before so the user interface shouldn’t require a steep learning curve. I also didn’t want to waste my life trying to get the installation to work so I went with the OpenSUSE 12.1 Linux distro and installed it from an external DVD. Installation was sweet and took about 30 minutes and I opted for the KDE interface. OpenSUSE 12.1 boots smoothly and most things worked. Just one exception – the All In One HP WIFI printer a bit of research was required and it was resolved. The Samsung itself is now pretty nippy (compared to its previous experience) and eminently usable. More importantly it was actually used.

My HP laptop was a slightly different story. Firstly I wanted it to be dual boot. Again I used OpenSUSE 12.1 and getting it to dual boot  posed no problem during installation. You have to keep your wits about you when it comes to repartitioning the disks and the default was a bit enthusiastic about how much space it wanted from the NTFS partitions. It was easy to reset however. Graphics were a bit of an issue. ATI Radeon do Linux drivers but they are proprietary and not open source so are not supplied with OpenSUSE. The “Unofficial Guide” points you to the palces where you can find and install proprietary software such as Flash and CODECS. Its a minor pain but still a pain nonetheless. So it took a while to get configured to a state comparable to Windows. As with the Samsung, the printer was refusing but at least I now know what to do.

I will always need Windows for some applications although Android is increasing intruding into this space. There are no Linux equivalents for some of the Chinese applications I occasionally use (there is one for QQ however but its functionality is limited). But it would be nice to do this within Linux. So I set up a virtual machine using Virtual Box and run a Windows image under that. Initially, this had a habit of crashing the laptop but it seems to be stable now. I suspect this was down to the graphics driver before I changed it but I can’t be sure. Interestingly, the printer works under the VirtualBox guest but not the host. So far I haven’t had to enter a command line or edit a file to make this work, it has all been done through the KDE interface.

It was easy to attach the NAS disk attached to my FRITZ!Box router via SAMBA For both the Samsung and the HP and there is very little latency. IPv6 is also working seamlessly.

So point proven. I could live with OpenSUSE and KDE. I didn’t have to use a terminal console or file editor once and I got two fully functional Laptops in return. This blog post was even written under its jurisdiction. So instead of shooting at an open goal and whining about Microsoft as I did why not walk the talk instead.

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