LogMeIn VPN; PullMeHairOut on Ubuntu



You would think a stereotypical Linux user would not mind getting his hands dirty in the command-line trying to make a program work.  Well, either this user is not typical or that’s not true.  The LogMeIn Hamagi VPN solution seems to have some cool features, but the Linux client was painful to figure out.  Some documentation or instructions would be nice, but I think a nice basic user interface would also be helpful.  Command-line is cool, but I just need to get connected, and I don’t want to learn yet another networking tool to get where I need to go.

If you are attempting Hamachi, this blog post is your lifesaver:

Eric Lefevre-Ardant on Java & Agile: How to use LogMeIn under Linux

Next task is finding the Linux client.  They don’t have a production one, but they do have a beta version available.  Check out their beta page: LogMeIn Labs & Betas.  This part is awesome once you find it — choose your flavor, deb or rpm, they have it.  The Deb worked great for me on Ubuntu x64 10.04.

After installing, it was like nothing happened.  No new menu items show up in the menu.  Well, don’t worry, it installs a service and a command line program.  Here are the files shown in the package:

Files in the package

When the package installs, it starts the service.  You can see it running here:

Service Running

Now, you have it installed.  You need to use the command-line program to connect.  First, you simply need to connect to the LogMeIn server (everything goes through there server).  Note that you don’t need a user name or any credentials for this part (that will come later).  Here’s the command plain and simple:

sudo hamachi login

Now, if you have an account on LogMeIn, you need to “attach” to it.  If you are connecting to someone else’s network, you can skip this step.

sudo hamachi attach <email_address>

As far as I can tell, the next command just sets a name for your client.  This is the name that will appear in the administration pages online for LogMeIn Hamachi.

sudo hamachi   set-nick <name>

In my case, I set my nickname to “stephen”:

My Nickname Setup

Then, online it will show this name:

Nickname Used

Now, the final step is to connect to the network.  This is where it got really confusing for me.  It was not the command or how to do anything, but the problem was just determining what network ID to use.  So, let me walk you through how to figure out the ID.

The person with the account on LogMeIn who setup the network, will need to login and view the “My Networks” page.  Then, click on the edit link next to the network:

Viewing the Network Settings
Then, here’s where you see the network ID to use in the join command.

Finding the Network ID for the Join command

Once you know this ID, you can simply run the command:

sudo hamachi do-join "<network ID>"

It may ask you the password for the network.  The LogMeIn account holder can optionally setup the password.  If no password was setup, just hit enter, and it will proceed.  Here’s what the configuration looks like when you setup a network:

Network Password Setup

Now, you should be connected.  You should have a new network interface in your network settings:

ham0 network interface

If you need to connect to other machines in the Hamachi network by IP address, you will need the LogMeIn account holder to give you those IP addresses.  You talk to other machines via the IP address for the Hamachi network not the local network.

All in all, once you get it setup, it seems to work well.  I don’t like the fact that you have to run the program as administrator.  For my other VPNs, I don’t need super user access to configure or connect.  I also don’t like having an extra service running in the background.  Why can’t it just use the Network Manager Applet like the other VPNs?

Now, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the GUI.  I found a Community Thread that points to a front-end called Haiguichi.  It has a Deb package that you can install, and that part worked fine.  It gives you a new menu item under Applications > Internet > Haiguichi.  I couldn’t get it to configure though, and I finally figured out the command-line, so I left it alone.

2 Comments

  1. Eugene says:

    Try this Ammyy Admin http://www.ammyy.com
    The software doesn’t require installation and registration. You can connect to any PC which is behind NAT.

    • digitaleagle says:

      Eugene,

      I think you missed the point here! This is a Linux blog, and products that require Windows don’t help me out. Question #14 on your FAQ states: “Ammyy Admin works only with Windows yet.”

      Could I encourage you to change your product to support us Linux users?

      Thanks,

      Stephen

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