Intrepid Ibex VPN Connection Fails

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 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.

Subscribe16 Comments on Intrepid Ibex VPN Connection Fails

  1. penkoad said...

    Thanks for sharing this.
    I couldn’t figure out what was going wrong.
    Helped a lot.

  2. tor said...

    I was hopeful you had the answer, but vpn still fails; worked fine in 8.04, not since full install of 8.10.

    Are there other “fixes” that anyone has working?
    I am desperate to have vpn for work.


  3. Rob Wilkerson said...

    Glad it worked for you, penkoad.

    Sorry it didn’t work for you, tor. At the risk of being offensive, are you sure you hit all of the high points? I spent a lot of time looking around and tweaking things and this was the only path I could find that works. It was a frustrating road to travel. Like you, I depend on VPN. Wish I could help more.

  4. Chris King said...

    Hey Rob,

    Works perfectly. Thanks for your help. I was pulling my hair our. It was working for about a month in II and then started failing. The new pptp update appeared to fix it. Your a life saver.

    By the way you are the #2 result on google for “Intrepid Ibex VPN problems”

  5. Dave Eisenbrey said...

    I found that even after following the instructions above I couldn’t add a VPN connection because the option to add one was disabled. Turns out this was due to network-manager-pptp not being installed. For anyone that runs into the same issue as I did a simple install of this package should do the trick.

    sudo apt-get install network-manager-pptp

  6. nausser said...

    The instructions link at the bottom does not seem to work anymore. Does anyone know if it has been updated to another location?

  7. Rob Wilkerson said...

    Looks like the site may be down. Hopefully it won’t stay that way for long. If/when I see it come back up, I’ll try to copy the steps over here.

  8. Nausser said...

    Even though the link for additional instructions was not working, I did find the solution which was to add a refuse eap line to a conf file.

    The problem now is, I had to do a full re-install and here I am again. This time I can’t seem to locate that other how to indicating the file to add the line to and exactly what the refuse eap line was.

    Thought you may know this info more readily since the link was still down.


  9. Rob Wilkerson said...

    Unfortunately, I don’t. Clearly I should have provided a synopsis directly, but I didn’t expect something like to disappear. I’d like to be able to use this again, myself. That sucks.

  10. Nausser said...

    Thank you much for the reply. It’ll get sorted in time I’m sure.

    Happy Holidays!

  11. Rob Wilkerson said...

    @nausser –

    Do you remember anything about the fix? If you remember the file where you changed the refuse eap value, I can post my value and the file.

  12. Rob Wilkerson said...

    As the thread with nausser jogged my memory, I was able to cobble together enough search terms to do something meaningful. This appears to be another good walkthrough of the fix, though I can’t vouch for it personally.

  13. Keith Fisher said...


    The above thread worked first time for me. Many thanks!

  14. Mania said...

    I have a problem with proxy client. Can that problem be closely considered with operating system or any other software which is the reason for malfunctioning?

  15. Dave said...

    There are considerable number of proxy clients on the Net which can be set up properly and work with no fault or failure.

  16. software development in Surrey said...

    Humm… interesting,
    I dont like the idea that there is just so mnay different versions of linux and ubuntu, i wouldnt have a clue about which one to go for,
    Thanks for bringing this up