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?

Techbase Updates

Motivated by the efforts of the Chinese and French translations of the
KDE 4 build instructions, I started on a german one. The French translation was finished in less than a week. Let’s show that we can do it, too ­čÖé

In unrelated Techbase news, Michael Manke of the public administration Berlin Steglitz-Zehlendorf donated 44 pages (!) worth of KIOSK documentation. Although it focuses on (open)SUSE, SLED and SLES, it’s still amazing and very useful. I want to move it to Techbase ASAP, but the Documentation is an ODT file with pictures inbetween. I am currently investigating on how to best migrate those docs into Techbase. Hints welcome.


Ich bin eigentlich seit langen Jahren ein mehr oder weniger ├╝berzeugter S.u.S.E SuSE SUSE Nutzer. Das hat sich gestern zumindest ein wenig ge├Ąndert. Nachdem sich SUSE 10.0 strikt weigerte, mit ACPI zu booten und mit die 10.1 Alpha-Versionen schlicht zu buggy sind, habe ich beschlossen, auf Kubuntu zu wechseln. Da ich eine ziemlich neue Grafikkarte habe (Intel GMA 900), hab ich direkt mal Dapper Drake Flight 3 ausprobiert und mich von dort hoch aktualisiert.

Ich muss sagen, dass ich sehr zufrieden bin, zumal der X.org Treiber so ist, wie man das will: OpenGL- und Composite-f├Ąhig, und trotzdem ein GPL-Treiber, der von Intel zur Verf├╝gung gestellt wurde.Was mich auch positiv ├╝berrascht hat, ist das Kaffeine nach einspielen einiger pakete aus dem multiverse und der w32codecs von meiner Workstation alle Formate beherrscht, die ich so t├Ąglich brauche. Zus├Ątzlich bietet Kubuntu ein sehr aufger├Ąumtes KDE, w├Ąhrend es bei SUSE irgendwie immer ├╝berf├╝llt wirkt.Das best├Ątigt ├╝brigens meine Meinung, dass das Gef├╝hl, KDE sei “bloatet”, sehr Distributionsabh├Ąngig ist. Jedenfalls startet KDE hier innerhalb von 7 Sekunden, mit warmen Caches sind es sogar nur 3-4. Damit ist es genau so schnell wie GNOME.

Ansonsten hakte es mit meinem neuen Dell Inspirion 630m an einigen anderen Stellen:

  • WPA-Support ist ziemlich umst├Ąndlich unter Ubuntu, von Profilen gar nicht zu reden. Sowohl bei (K)Ubuntu als auch bei SUSE soll eine magische software namens networkmanager alles gut machen… irgendwann… Windows hat das schon heute sehr viel einfacher realisiert.
  • Wer den Laptop zuklappt, darf danach neustarten. Nachdem ich im passenden ACPI-Script das DPMS-blanking abgeschaltet hab, gings dann, aber ich glaube schon, dass ich das eigentlich haben will.
  • Die Multimedia-Tasten gehen nat├╝rlich nicht, auch da muss man nachhelfen
  • Der Card-Reader geht nicht. Wieso kann es nicht *einen* Laptop geben, wo der eingebaute Card-Reader unterst├╝tzt wird?!
  • WLAN und Bluetooth tuen, aber ans suspend to disk und suspend to ram hab ich mich noch nicht rangetraut, kommt jetzt.
  • Um die Aufl├Âsung des Displays korrekt zu unterst├╝tzen, bedarf es einem patch im BIOS, der beim Start jedes Mal laufen muss. Warum Intel nicht direkt einen 1280×800-Modus anbieten konnte, ist mir ein R├Ątsel.

PS: Braucht jemand einen HP NX 5000 mit kaputtem Elko, ansonsten aber noch voll einsatzbereit?

Best release party ever!

This friday I went to the meeting of SUSE beta testers to the SUSE headquarters in Nuremberg. The travel went pretty smooth and so I soon checked in and arrived in a meeting room with all the other testers. We got a nice introduction to the openSUSE project, covering the past, the status quo as well as future plans. Greg from Novell as well as Adrian, Sonja and Andreas from SUSE gave me a good feeling about the project’s future.

I bet there will be updates and details about our discussions in blogs and on opensuse.org, soon. At this point, there are just ideas that will be tested for feasibility and then discussed on opensuse.org, such as ideas about a future open build server.

In the evening after a lot of fruitful discussions, we joined SUSE people on their release party. It was really nice. Lots of food and free drinks. I bet only very few people stayed sober and even met some people that I didn’t know yet, such as Duncan. The brave SUSE trainees ran the bar. Thanks guys!

Around midnight, a cuban guy with a bongo drum stepped by and someone dragged him into the party location. Soon, our very own Duncan took over the instrument. He’s is a natural talent playing on the bongo drum. His performance was amazing even though he claimed he only played it once before. Being from latin America works wonders when it comes to rythm

As a nice surprise, Jan from openusability.org and his gf Jutta stepped by. It was easy for them since they were staying in Erlangen, which is basically around the corner, even if Coolo doesn’t seem share this opinion Smiling.

At around 2am in the morning, a couple of developers and beta testers decided to switch locations. We ended up in the “downtown”-bar, a really small location that is in fact located in downtown Nuremberg. We enjoyed the great atmosphere until we noticed we ended up at a “bad taste party”. It was nevertheless really cool (What does that tell about us?…). The music was a rather wild but interesting mix of all styles. The bartender girl was pretty hot though and tried her best to prove that. After a lot of partying and a couple of drinks they kicked us out at around 5am since they wanted to close.

I ended up in bed at around 6am, and for that reason I was unable to attend the sightseeing tour organized by the SUSE folks. It’s a real pity, but Tackat got me an express version when we went for the train station this evening. Today, we seized the rest of the day to hack on Globepedia. I finished the windows port and the Installer. Now I am sitting in the ICE back to Bonn, trying to create SUSE rpms. When you read this, that probably means I arrived at home.

One thing is for sure: SUSE guys don’t only know how to make a cool distribution, they also know how to party!