At the end of last week, I performed an upgrade from Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) to 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex). Although it’s not really part of this story, I should specify that I tried to perform an upgrade. The upgrade was so catastrophically botched somehow, that it ended up being a complete repartitioning of my work laptop. Nonetheless, over the weekend I got back to a reasonable level of stability and productivity except that I was completely unable to connect to my office VPN.
Evidently this is a pretty well-reported bug affecting a number of folks. My attempts to connect to VPN “out of the box” were greeted with a complaint that “no valid VPN secrets were found.” A number of folks reported success if they simply removed their password from the configuration dialog, but that didn’t work for me. After doing so, I got a spectacularly unhelpful message that my “Connection to [my network] failed.” Super. Thanks for playing.
I spent hours searching and trying various “solutions” before finally stumbling on a clearly articulated set of instructions that worked. They did, however, require updated network-manager packages. In case I ever have to do this again, I don’t want to spend those same hours, so I’m going to try to document the steps I took so I can reflect on them later. Maybe they’ll help someone else too.
To get those add the following source to /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/network-manager/ubuntu intrepid main
Once done, update:
$ sudo apt-get update
Once updated, system updates should be reported and they should include network-manager and network-manager-pptp. Those need to be installed. Once everything is installed, these instructions should finish the job and provide a working VPN connection.
Ubuntu is pretty solid, but not everything “just works”. Quite.