Now one of my biggest problems with having any GNU/Linux-based operating system is that, for work purposes, I need to connect to a Windows-based VPN (Windows Server 2003). About a year and a half of on again and off again searching lead me to many dead ends. That is until I found Happy Linux Thoughts and the post about using network-manager-pptp called connecting to a Windows VPN server with Debian-based distros a few weeks ago. I was going to reiterate the steps, but I doubt I’d do a good of job as the author.

One problem I ran into is that, after adding the new VPN connection, it did not appear as a connection once I was done (at least with Ubuntu 7.10). I tried to add and delete it multiple times, however it was as far as I could tell impossible to connect to. So in my frustration I shut down my laptop. As the fates would have it, my desktop system would crash a day later, causing me to have to use my laptop until my desktop was up and running. I decided that I might as well play with the connections again and see if I can get it working. Luckily for me the connection was just there. I was able to connect to my work VPN and RDC to my computer at work. It is pretty amazing.

The only other problem encountered (though not a problem, but more of an annoyance) is that once connected to the VPN, the internet on the local machine dies out. I bet that it is because of security (modeled after Cisco’s VPN client) rather than stupidity (modeled after Windows’ “Use gateway on remote machine” checkbox) that this choice was made.. I am not sure if it is just the internet or all networking as I didn’t test connecting to another computer on my home network, but I guess that will force me to work when I should be working. As of this writing I haven’t played around with the VPN connection anymore other than the initial 20 or so minutes trying to get local internet up and running again.