Use the instructions below to configure either BU Linux, or other versions, to use the VPN.

BU Linux

Once the vpn package (called vpnc) is installed and properly configured,
using vpn on BU Linux is as simple as entering the command:

% sudo vpnc-connect

Then replying to each prompt:
(This is asking for your local password on your linux system.
If you are off campus, you probably will not have access to your
kerberos password, so using your local password is necessary.)
Enter username for (This needs your BU Username)
Enter password for [username] (This needs your BU Kerberos password)

Once you’ve successfully done this, you are using the vpn server.

To disconnect, use: % sudo vpnc-disconnect

How to install vpnc

However, first let’s make sure that vpnc is installed and properly configured.

To see if it is installed, use the command:

% rpm -q vpnc

that should return something like this:

vpnc-0.3.3-13.el5.centos.bu50.2 (this is the version on Monde, as of Jan 19th, 2010)

If vpnc is not installed yet, simply install it with the command:
% sudo yum install vpnc

If you are using BU Linux 6 and above then vpnc will be installed from an external repo. Entries to set up your own configuration files for BU’s VPN servers can be found in the section below.

Once vpnc is installed, it must be configured.

The configuration files are in the directory: /etc/vpnc/

The vpnc configuration file is named /etc/vpnc/default.conf
but this is really just a link to either: oncampus.conf or offcampus.conf

These files are already pre-configured to the proper settings for the
BU vpn servers BUT you must make sure that default.conf is
linking to the proper file depending on whether your computer
is on or off campus.

First check if your settings are set to oncampus or offcampus:

% cd /etc/vpnc

% ls -Fl
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root   13 Jan 20 13:10 default.conf -> oncampus.conf
-rw-r–r– 1 root root   74 Jan 22  2008 offcampus.conf
-rw-r–r– 1 root root   72 Jan 22  2008 oncampus.conf
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 7343 Jan 22  2008 vpnc-script*
As you can see, default.conf is linked to the oncampus vpn server.
If you are offcampus, you must change this link using
the ln command with the options -fs :

% sudo ln -fs offcampus.conf default.conf

If you check, you will see that now default.conf links to offcampus.conf

% ls -Fl

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root   24 Jan 20 13:16 default.conf -> offcampus.conf
-rw-r–r– 1 root root   74 Jan 22  2008 offcampus.conf
-rw-r–r– 1 root root   72 Jan 22  2008 oncampus.conf
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 7343 Jan 22  2008 vpnc-script*

Once this is properly configured, you are back to where we
started, and you can start vpn by simply issuing the command:

% sudo vpnc-connect

(and continuing as described above)

Finally, when you are finished, you can disconnect with
% sudo vpnc-disconnect

BU Linux 6 or Above & Other Versions of Linux

If you are using BU Linux 6 & above or another type of linux, and would like to know the proper entries for BU’s vpn servers to set up your own configuration files, here they are:

% cat offcampus.conf
IPSec gateway
IPSec ID BostonU
IPSec secret BostonU

% cat oncampus.conf
IPSec gateway
IPSec ID BostonU
IPSec secret BostonU


These are unsupported instructions that are not maintained. However, they were written by a IT Help Center student consultant and should be helpful.

1. Install network-manager, vpnc, and network-manager-vpnc

2. Click the network-manager icon in your notification area, hover over “VPN Connections,” and choose “Configure VPN.”

3. Next, click “Add” and follow the wizard to completion, entering the following when prompted:

Connection Name: vpn oncampus
Group Name: BostonU

4. Click the Options tab, check the “override username” box, and enter your BU login name. Click OK.

5. Once that’s finished, you can select vpn-oncampus when connected to the BU (requires VPN) wireless network.  You’ll be asked for your BU username and Kerberos password as well as the group password, which is “BostonU“.  You can save these settings to your keyring.

6. Repeat these same steps to set up

Troubleshooting tips from other users

— About Firestarter from

If an Ubuntu user has Firestarter installed and they
follow the above instructions, they maybe have trouble using the connection.

One workaround for this is to create / edit the
file /etc/firestarter/user-pre and include the following lines:

iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -s -p esp
iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -s -p udp -m multiport
–sports isakmp,10000
iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -i tun+
iptables -A OUTPUT -j ACCEPT -d -p esp
iptables -A OUTPUT -j ACCEPT -d -p udp -m multiport
–dports isakmp,10000
iptables -A OUTPUT -j ACCEPT -o tun+

This allows the Ubuntu user to still use their firewall without having
to reconfigure when they connect.

— “I installed and set up network-manager-vpnc and configured it as described, but whenever I selected it nothing happened…

My syslog was reporting: nm_vpn_manager_activate_vpn_connection(): nm_vpn_manager_activate_vpn_connection(): no currently active network device, won’t activate VPN.

After Googling a bit I found out that network-manager-vpnc won’t work on a manually configured wireless connection (not too sure why). Once I switched off manual wireless configuration and let it sniff out my wireless network automagically, I tried selecting the VPN again and it worked.”