For the benefit of all Linux users in China … 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — As I posted earlier, I’ve been online here using Windows for the past week, but the Linux side of my laptop was out in the cold. Today I found the solution, and this Ubuntu user is back in the saddle again.

Other Linux users in China have had the same problem, so I’m posting my solution here for their benefit. If you don’t really care, I won’t be offended if you go read something else.

Universities in China restrict access to their networks using Ruijie‘s ruijie supplicant protocol, a variant of the standard IEEE 802.1x protocol, with (it seems) a unique implementation of MD5 encryption. In other words, if you don’t have the connection program, you have no Internet access. (Ruijie is a big IT firm here, like Cisco is in the States.)

The Windows application, Ruijie Supplicant, works fine. After you input your static IP address, netmask, gateway, DNS settings, username and password, you’re home free.

But the Linux client I was given, xrgsu, was not working. It would find the gateway, but authentication would fail. So, no joy.

The university IT staff was swamped with service calls from the returning students, so I had to bide my time. So, I decided to do a little research.

Other Linux users have had the same problem: xrgsu does not work. So I was not alone. The big question was could I find the solution.

It seems only China and Czech Republic use the ruijie protocol, so that reduced the number of useful websites. Those that were apparently helpful were, of course, in Chinese, which as yet I cannot read.

Thanks to Google’s translation application and a lot (!) of googling the Internet with a variety of search terms, I managed to find a few promising ruijie clients for Linux. All failed but one.

I downloaded a newer version of xrgsu than the one I had. No go. I got the Linux_Supplicant directly from Ruijie.cn’s website. Same result. Ditto myxrgsu. A client called mystar looked promising, but it also failed on authentication. Then I tried xmuruijie, available on googlecode.

It worked! You do need python on your system, but most Linux distros install python by default.

Here’s the nitty gritty details. Download the archive, and expand it. With a text editor, modify xmuruijie.conf to suit your situation (username, password, gateway server) and save it to /etc. Part of the archive is 8021x.exe. That also has to be in /etc. I left all the other files in a folder in my home folder, but if you want, running “sh install.sh” will install the necessary files in the right places. Then you can invoke xmuruijie (as root) without needing to navigate to your home folder first.

Either way, open a terminal window, and type “sudo xmuruijie.py” and wait for the joy.

The key to xmuruijie’s success, as near as I can tell, is the inclusion of the Windows app, 8021x.exe. Starting Ruijie Supplicant in Windows automatically starts 8021x as a background process; it generates the necessary encryption code needed for authentication. With Linux, 8021x.exe does not appear to be running — I don’t see it or wine in my process list. I think it’s there just to keep the supplicant happy.

If you have any questions, email me at eljefe at computernewbie dot info.

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