Monday, 22 November 2010

Supplicants of the 802.1x kind

last week I recounted my near total success getting crunchbang and ubuntu 10.10 to not only live happily to but to connect to our campus network.

The executive summary is that Ubuntu works with our secure network and Crunchbang doesn't, because the Crunchbang supplicant, the software that mediates the connection doesnt't support GTC.

So the logical thing would be to upgrade the supplicant on Crunchbang. Well there's an alternative, Xsupplicant, that appears to work. It doesn't - it turns out that the configuration tool is broken under Cruchbang, and possibly other configurations and doesn't let you browse for a certificate.

Now one could get all geeky at this stage and go and edit the raw configuration files to fix it. This is of course stupid as a solution as you've then got to explain to users how to use an editor, edit system configuration files to which they may not have access etc etc.

Not sustainable.

Earlier versions of xsupplicant appear to have the same requirements of virtuoso editing of configuration files under Crunchbang, so are equally unsustainable.

The other solution I guess would be to add the appropriate repository from the Ubuntu 10.10 distribution and force an upgrade and hope one didn't break any dependencies. This at least would have the merit of being scriptable, and would mean users would still be using the network manager tool they know and love to set things up after running the magic script ...

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