Strongswan on the Excito Bubba3 Server

Having become a proud owner of a Bubba3 server, I was very pleased to make notice of two facts: Excito, the manufaturer of the B3, has built the system internally on Debian Squeeze and provides (though unsupported) additional information via Wiki pages how to leverage any functionality that is available with this distribution, if supported by the system’s architecture (ARMEL). My special interest has been caught by the wiki page explaining how to install a VPN client/server on the box as in my system setup at home, I need this feature to allow access to the internet. Though the description is very accurate (kudos to you!) and easy to follow, I still had the impression that a normal user should not be forced to recompile the kernel delivered natively by Excito. Furthermore, compiling all kernel modules again on the B3 – though it has a quite powerful CPU compared to its size – can be a very cumbersome and long-lasting task. From an end user perspective you only want to download a certain package and that’s it – at least for installation (configuration still needs to go)!
Out of curiousity for the Debian Package concept and its affiliated repository approach (APT) I followed the descriptions of the “Debian Binary Package Building Howto” and how to “Set[..] up your own APT repository […]” and created a new package available for public download which exactly allows installing the necessary kernel modules. This then makes manual compilation of the kernel superfluous.

If you want to benefit from my work, you can add the Bubba3 Debian repository to your B3 installation by adding the lines

# Nico's debian repository (Bubba3)
deb elvin main

to your /etc/apt/sources.list file. Afterwards you can download and install the kernel modules necessary for Strongswan by typing

apt-get update
apt-get install bubba3-ipsec-modules

on the system’s command console (please note that you need to be root to perform this operation). Please note that there is only a package version available for kernel 2.6.38-1 (the most current version). This means that it might be necessary for you to make sure that your system is on the most current kernel version by typing

apt-get upgrade

to be able to perform the operations mentioned above.
Support for future kernel versions will be made available whenever time permits.

Older kernel version

For those of you who still have the kernel version with which the Bubba3 server often is shipped initially (2.6.35-4) you cannot make use of the Debian repository stated above. However, you may download the Debian package here

  IPSEC modules (Strongswan) for Bubba3 Kernel Version 2.6.35-4 (30.2 KiB, 763 hits)

and install it with

dpkg -i bubba3-ipsec-modules_2.6.35.4-1_armel.deb


The offering of software and packages available via the repository stated above does not provide any guarantee of functionality at all. Furthermore, the provider may not be held responsible for any impact or damage that it may directly or indirectly cause. The information is provided on an AS-IS basis without promise of availablility, support or functionality.

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  1. Update: The newest version bubba3-ipsec-modules_2.6.38-2_armel.deb is also capable to be used with openswan (the dependency information in the package prevented doing so).

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  2. Please note that with (at least) kernel version the IPSEC support is built into the kernel which are being supplied by Excito. Thus, you do not need all these tricks above. Thus, better upgrade!

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