KOVpn: A helpful little tool returns

Disclaimer: No KDE 4.1 hype here. This is for the real retro folks (aka KDE 3.x users).

KOVpn is a simple, yet helpful tool to connect to private networks using the OpenVPN software. It was nice, but needed some more improvements (indicated by its version number). Unfortunately, the last maintainer vanished along with the project page and the download files. However, I was able to get hold of the latest stable release via our University sysadmin (and KDE veteran!) Chris Neerfeld. Since OpenVPN is used in my uni to gain WiFi access, I moved the tool into a trac environment at our labs project hosting service.

With the help of another lab member, Jochen Wierum, I also managed to get out packages for OpenSUSE, Debian and Kubuntu via the (excellent!) OpenSUSE Build Service. Also, thanks to a fix Jochen contributed, the latest release also works on 64 bit distros.

So what now? This is a KDE 3 app, so its days are clearly counted. Yet it will hopefully help, since KDE 3.5 will probably be around for quite some time. Currently I am considering a Qt 4 port, if my time permits. But actually, it is really NetworkManager who should become smart enough to handle all kinds of OpenVPN setup, instead of the rather limited options it offers nowadays. Let’s see what the future brings. In the meanwhile, enjoy KOVpn!

PS: Be warned The setup currently involves manual setup of OpenVPN, but using it afterwards is a real joy, compared to using the commandline or weired custom scripts

PPS: Dear Lazyweb: Do you know how work on NetworkManager is progressing wrt OpenVPN integration?

Exploring Berlin Mitte

So yesterday was the first evening/night for me to look at some things in Berlin. Even though I’ve been here for a couple of times I never really took the time to explore Mitte, so Sven Guckes was kind enough to give me and a guest from Denmark, a tour through the city.

While I usually take the S-Bahn or the Underground, we were using the DB call-a-bike service, as I don’t have a bike on my own here yet. It’s really cool if you need a bike just occasionally, and the bikes had surprisingly good quality. Sven took us through the city, brought us to a good and cheap pizza place and ultimately we ended up iat Dussmann, a big book/cd/cultural stuff store in the famous Friedrichsstra├če.

Also, Sven was kind enough to introduce me to the location where our new collegues from Nokia Gate 5 reside:

Photo © 2008 by Sven Guckes

PS: If you happen to get weird crashes with Amarok or any KDE 4 application where the app don’t actually crash, but seem to properly shut down unexpectedly, then don’t use the distributors Qt 4.4.0 packages. I lost almost an entire hour on that, because I was too lazy to compile my own Qt version at home ­čÖü .