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Linux Mint

Firestarter configuration to allow VPN

FirestarterYesterday I had installed Firestarter (A Linux Firewall) in my Linux Mint desktop to act as the first line of defense against network based attacks.

Things were fine till today evening which was when I faced an issue with VPN. Although Firestarter allowed me to connect to the VPN, it was blocking me from doing a remote desktop to my work machine or another other machine in the network for that matter. In short Firestarter was blocking the VPN tunnel.

So the quickest way to fix this is:

  • Note down your VPN gateway IP address.
  • Open terminal and issue the command, enter the root password when prompted:
    sudo gedit /etc/firestarter/user-pre
  • Copy and paste the below code:
    # Forward Cisco VPN client traffic
    iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -s xx.xx.xx.xx -p esp
    iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -s xx.xx.xx.xx -p udp -m multiport –sports isakmp,10000
    iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -i tun0
    iptables -A OUTPUT -j ACCEPT -d xx.xx.xx.xx -p esp
    iptables -A OUTPUT -j ACCEPT -d xx.xx.xx.xx -p udp -m multiport –dports isakmp,10000
    iptables -A OUTPUT -j ACCEPT -o tun0

  • Replace xx.xx.xx.xx with the VPN Gateway IP address you noted.
  • Save and close gedit.
  • Restart Firestarter by issuing:
    sudo /etc/init.d/firestarter restart

You should now be able to not only to the VPN but also remote desktop to your machine.

Resolve Mic sound problem in Linux Mint 12

MicrophoneAfter starting the year with a new fresh installation of Linux Mint 12, almost all the things worked out of the box except one thing. The microphone (mic) was not capturing the sound (absolutely no sound) so that meant that I had to keep my old installation of Mint 10 intact so that when required I could switch over to it and use Skype.

After just over a month I finally got into my debugging shoes today to figure out what the problem was.

My first thought was PulseAudio, I remember having removed it from Linux Mint 10 as well and using Alsa. So based on my gut feeling I went ahead and uninstalled PulseAudio using the command:
sudo apt-get autoremove pulseaudio

The next step was to install a mixer to configure Alsa, for which I installed ‘Gnome-ALSA-Mixer’ which provides a front end:
sudo apt-get install gnome-alsamixer

I then restarted my machine and ran gnome-alsamixer using the run option to check all the mixer setting and correct things where required. Then I started Skype and did a test call, Surprise…Surprise… I was able to hear my voice.

Removing PulseAudio helped me use Skype again without having to revert to Mint 10, but there was an added bonus which I had not expected in the form of sound control in ‘TVtime’. For more than a year now I had lost the ability to control the sound levels via TVtime I had to use the volume controls in my speaker to change the volume level which was quite frustrating, but I am really happy now.

Sometimes you get more that you asked for and this was what I experienced when I remove PulseAudio, this also reminded me of the old saying ‘Hitting two birds with a single bullet’.

You may ask why not use Windows, my simplest answer would be doing such things makes you think out of the box for solutions :-)