Using vpnc and Gnome Shell to connect to Cisco VPN

Most of this stuff is easily available on the web and easy to do. But just for fun here it is anyway. Fedora Core 16 (x86_64), Gnome 3 Shell, Cisco IPSEC VPN.



  • Get the required software.
                  sudo yum install vpnc NetworkManager-vpnc
  • Get the .pcf file from your entity that is providing the VPN service.
  • Get the pcf2vpnc perl script from here for example.
  • Run the pcf2vpnc perl script against your .pcf file and put the result into /etc/vpnc/default.conf.
  • Invoke vpnc - for me it's /usr/sbin/vpnc. And vpnc-disconnect does the expected.
  • To integrate this into the Gnome Shell
    • Go to Network Manager from top panel.
    • Very Important - on a new setup until I added an entry via nm-connection-editor there was NO VPN section on top panel Network Manager! Run nm-connection-editor if no VPN entries are showing up in your NM panel.
    • In the VPN section create a menu entry and make sure it's of type "Cisco Compatible VPN (vpnc)" from the offered choices.
    • The fields (in the VPN tab) that need to be filled in come from /etc/vpnc/default.conf
      • Gateway = IPSEC gateway in  /etc/vpnc/default.conf
      • User name = Xauth username in /etc/vpnc/default.conf
      • User password = blank for me - new one required each time
      • Group name = IPSec ID in /etc/vpnc/default.conf
      • Group password = IPSec secret in /etc/vpnc/default.conf
  • Now to connect to the vpn you can click on the desired entry under the Network icon in the Gnome Shell.  And you can click on it again to take the tunnel down.
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