Gnome Network Manager VPN Tab Disabled ( Greyed out )

Posted on in Categories , last updated September 8, 2016

I‘ve the NetworkManager service is installed and started under Linux desktop. The applet is running. The NetworkManager can display available network hardware and wireless networks. But, I’m unable to add VPN support as the Add tab is greyed out. I need to use both PPTP and Cisco vpn clients. How do I fix this problem under Debian or Ubuntu Linux?

The Gnome NetworkManager has pluggable support for VPN software, including Cisco compatible VPNs (using vpnc), openvpn, and Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). You need to simply install the NetworkManager VPN plugin and configure the user’s machines with the VPN’s settings. The first time they connect, the user will be asked for their passwords.

Gnome Network Manager Cisco PPTP VPN Connections
Fig.01: Gnome Network Manager Cisco PPTP VPN Connections

The Add tab is greyed out when required plugins are not installed for Gnome NetworkManager. The following plugins should be installed under Debian / Ubuntu Linux:

 

  1. network-manager-openvpn and network-manager-openvpn-gnome – network management framework OpenVPN plugin GNOME GUI
  2. network-manager-pptp and network-manager-pptp-gnome – network management framework PPTP plugin GNOME GUI
  3. network-manager-strongswan – network management framework strongSwan ipsec vpn plugin
  4. network-manager-vpnc and network-manager-vpnc-gnome – network management framework (VPNC plugin GNOME GUI)

To install all of the above plugins use the apt-get command as follows:
$ sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn network-manager-pptp network-manager-vpnc
The following plugins should be installed under RHEL / Fedora / CentOS / Scientific Linux / Red Hat Enterprise Linux desktop systems:

  1. NetworkManager-openvpn : NetworkManager VPN plugin for OpenVPN
  2. NetworkManager-pptp : NetworkManager VPN plugin for pptp
  3. NetworkManager-vpnc : NetworkManager VPN plugin for vpnc

To install all of the above plugins use the yum command as follows:
# yum install NetworkManager-vpnc NetworkManager-pptp NetworkManager-openvpn
Now, you can add vpn connection to your system using NetworkManager itself. You may need to restart the NetworkManager as follows:
# /etc/init.d/network-manager restart

Fig.02: Linux Gnome Desktop Cisco PPTP VPN Client Support Added
Fig.02: Linux Gnome Desktop Cisco PPTP VPN Client Support Added

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

23 comment

  1. The full command line for Debian / Ubuntu should actually be:

    $ sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn network-manager-pptp network-manager-pptp-gnome network-manager-vpnc

    The Gnome PPTP GUI plugin was missing ;-)

  2. I’ve installed ever package on this site, including sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn-gnome and I still can’t get my VPN to turn on in Debian Wheezy. I can set everything up. But it won’t click on.

    1. Aactually with
      $ sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn network-manager-pptp network-manager-pptp-gnome network-manager-vpnc

      it worked on wheezy after a restart:
      $ /etc/init.d/network-manager restart

  3. I got working on wheezy after a restart too!

    aptitude install network-manager-openvpn network-manager-pptp network-manager-pptp-gnome network-manager-vpnc-gnome

    AND

    /etc/init.d/network-manager restart

  4. My sysadmin told me not to use the Network Manager, as it creates more troubles than it solves. If I wanted to connect to a VPN, I would try to find how to use the underlying tools.

    1. NetworkManager will rewrite all network-configuration files if you will enable it.

      If your using OpenVPN for access, then you could ask your sysadmin to supply a config-file, like a *.ovpn file. Thus you can setup your VPN via command-line.
      Like for example: # sudo openvpn –config client.ovp.

      You can also download and install a third-party tool.

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