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I had difficulties installing Cisco5.0 VPN on my Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. I asked for assistance in this question: link to previous question. The answer is that this Cisco program will run on only older versions of the kernel.

I would like to use the VPN to connect through my university's network so that I can view academic journals under their subscription. One option could be to downgrade the kernel; how can this be done and what consequences would this have? The second question is whether I can install an alternative VPN client to connect? I have a ".pcf" file from the university to use with the Cisco client. Would this be compatible information to allow another client to connect? Is the connection independent of the software used?

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Can you use SSH instead of the VPN? If you can, it'll be simpler to tunnel some web traffic through SSH to your university's proxy. – Gilles Dec 23 '11 at 23:41
@Giles, I am not sure whether I can use SSH instead. It is the holidays and the support staff are not available. But would SSH actually allow me to browse journals? Do you have in mind that I find the link to the pdf that I desire and then I use a command on the terminal prompt to download it? Because I remember SSH as being restricted to a terminal. – Vass Dec 24 '11 at 8:49
Assuming ssh does get through, you can either forward a local port to your university's proxy with ssh -L or create a SOCKS proxy with ssh -D. – Gilles Dec 24 '11 at 15:21
I would suggest that you use a Live CD of a Distro with Supported Kernel, then install the VPN Client. Since downgrade Kernel isn't a short & sweet process. – Hanan N. Dec 24 '11 at 18:53
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I installed VPNC instead through the synaptic package manager. It was able to import the .pcf file for the cisco VPN. It was then able to connect properly.

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You can also use racoon, if cert is used for authentication.

Configuration /etc/racoon/racoon.conf

# Racoon IKE daemon configuration file.
# See 'man racoon.conf' for a description of the format and entries.
path include "/etc/racoon";
path pre_shared_key "/etc/racoon/psk.txt";
path certificate "/etc/racoon/certs";
path script "/etc/racoon/scripts";
sainfo anonymous
        lifetime time 1 hour ;
        encryption_algorithm 3des;     
        authentication_algorithm hmac_md5;
        compression_algorithm deflate ;
remote ???.???.???.???
        exchange_mode main;
        my_identifier asn1dn;
        certificate_type x509 "client.crt" "client.key";
        ca_type x509 "ca.crt";
        mode_cfg on;
        script "p1_up_down" phase1_up;
        script "p1_up_down" phase1_down;
                encryption_algorithm 3des;
                hash_algorithm md5;
                authentication_method xauth_rsa_client;
                dh_group modp1024;
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