Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04 LTS Upgrade Woes: Microsoft VPN Failure, Rhythmbox Segfault and Serendipity Saves the Day

Tuesday, 31. August 2010

A couple weeks ago I needed a newer version of pidgin-sipe so that I could use Pidgin to connect to Microsoft Office Communications Server. I was running Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10 which includes version 1.5.0 of pidgin-sipe and I needed version 1.8.0. When I saw that Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04 LTS includes version 1.8.0 of pidgin-sipe, instead of doing the prudent thing and building pidgin-sipe 1.8.0 from source on Ubuntu 9.10, I decided to upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04.

Except for being greeted by the “Partial Upgrade” dialog in Update Manager the upgrade went as smoothly as can be expected for an in-place upgrade. I had Pidgin talking to Microsoft Office Communications Server within a few minutes of completing the upgrade. Mission accomplished. Then I needed to connect to Microsoft PPTP VPN at a clients’ site and I started to experience Ubuntu upgrade woes. The VPN connection was failing with the following error:

VPNConnectionFailed.png

I spent quite a bit of time trying to fix that problem with no success. I couldn’t find any helpful errors in the system logs. The PPTP client was logging the following when I tried to connect:

pppd[18079]: Plugin /usr/lib/pppd/2.4.5//nm-pptp-pppd-plugin.so loaded.
pppd[18079]: pppd 2.4.5 started by root, uid 0
pppd[18079]: Using interface ppp0
pppd[18079]: Connect: ppp0 < --> /dev/pts/2
pppd[18079]: CHAP authentication succeeded
pppd[18079]: MPPE 40-bit stateless compression enabled
pppd[18079]: local  IP address 172.30.8.180
pppd[18079]: remote IP address 172.30.8.61
pppd[18079]: primary   DNS address 172.30.3.22
pppd[18079]: secondary DNS address 172.30.3.23
pppd[18079]: Terminating on signal 15
pppd[18079]: Connect time 0.7 minutes.
pppd[18079]: Sent 0 bytes, received 0 bytes.
pppd[18079]: Child process /usr/sbin/pptp vpn.********.com --nolaunchpppd --logstring nm-pptp-service-18077 (pid 18081) terminated with signal 15
pppd[18079]: Connection terminated.
pppd[18079]: Exit.

Not much info there. The NetworkManager log offered a little bit more info:

NetworkManager: <info>  Starting VPN service 'org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.pptp'...
NetworkManager: <info>  VPN service 'org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.pptp' started (org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.pptp), PID 15184
NetworkManager: <info>  VPN service 'org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.pptp' just appeared, activating connections
NetworkManager: <info>  VPN plugin state changed: 1
NetworkManager: <info>  VPN plugin state changed: 3
NetworkManager: <info>  VPN connection 'Corporate VPN' (Connect) reply received.
NetworkManager:    SCPlugin-Ifupdown: devices added (path: /sys/devices/virtual/net/ppp0, iface: ppp0)
NetworkManager:    SCPlugin-Ifupdown: device added (path: /sys/devices/virtual/net/ppp0, iface: ppp0): no ifupdown configuration found.
NetworkManager: <info>  VPN connection 'Corporate VPN' (IP Config Get) timeout exceeded.
NetworkManager: <info>  Policy set 'Auto eth0' (eth0) as default for routing and DNS.
NetworkManager:    SCPlugin-Ifupdown: devices removed (path: /sys/devices/virtual/net/ppp0, iface: ppp0)
NetworkManager: <debug> [1283289056.002038] ensure_killed(): waiting for vpn service pid 15184 to exit
NetworkManager: <debug> [1283289056.002152] ensure_killed(): vpn service pid 15184 cleaned up

The VPN connection was timing out. A Google search for that timeout message turned up lots of problems, but few solutions and none that worked for me.

While I searched for a working solution to my problem I launched Rhythmbox to play some “thinking music”. Rhythmbox loaded and then died. I started it again and it died again. More upgrade woes. I looked in the system log and found this message:

rhythmbox[29735]: segfault at 0 ip  013e97e2 sp b43fead8 error 6 in libnss_wins.so.2[13a8000+253000]

Rhythmbox was getting a SIGSEGV and dying shortly after launching every time. A Google search for that message turned up lots of other users experiencing the same problem. A few commenters reported that the issue was related to winbind. Several suggested the problem was the order of the hosts in /etc/nsswitch.conf and that moving the wins entry to the end of the hosts line would fix the problem. I edited /etc/nsswitch.conf and changed this line:

hosts:          files wins mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] dns mdns4

To this:

hosts:          files mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] dns mdns4 wins

Then I launched Rhythmbox and it did not segfault. Problem solved.1

Now that I had music again I returned to working on the VPN problem. I tried connecting the VPN again and … it worked! Sonofa! The change I made to /etc/nsswitch.conf to fix Rhythmbox also fixed my Microsoft VPN problems too. Another win for serendipity!


1Moving wins after dns on the hosts line in /etc/nsswitch.conf effectively disables winbind and this may cause problems with Samba. It didn’t cause any problems for me, but your mileage may vary.

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