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Working around Rconag6 Gotchas

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Geoffrey Carman

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Updated: 2 Aug 2005
 

Rconag6.nlm is the IP-based replacement for Remote.nlm. However this created a few issues that we found annoying. Here's what we did to make things work better for us.

  • Rconj (the Java based Rconsole replacement) is kind of slow, and the old familiar key command of Alt-F4 to switch backwards one screen closes the window! Argh!
  • Rconag6 allows SSL connections, but sometimes SSL does not work.
  • "Remote encrypt" would write an NCF file called LDREMOTE with an encrypted password string, for autoloading it at server restart. (The encryption is well known and easily defeated, so keep the file protected in the file system). If you try rconag6 encrypt, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Solutions

  • Try Rconip, which reads SLP for a list of advertised Rconag6 servers, or accepts an IP address to connect.

    It is a Win32 binary that looks and acts like the old Rconsole.exe, so the keystrokes are mostly the same (Alt-F1 screen list, Alt-F2 exit, Alt-F3 forward on screen, Alt-F4 back one screen).


  • We used to load Remote as soon as networking loaded, so that we could start working on a server even before it finished booting. Problem is, Rconag6 needs SAS.NLM, NILE.NLM, etc., loaded before it can use SSL. So you have to move it further down the AUTOEXEC.NCF. Also, INETCFG will detect the LOAD RSPX line as a change to networking config, but in NW5.x and up, you can just write RSPX (no LOAD needed) and INETCFG won't notice it.


  • With REMOTE.NLM, you needed to load REMOTE then a new command was registered, REMOTE ENCRYPT. With RCONAG6.NLM, it is a runtime option. I.e. Unload RCONAG6, then "LOAD RCONAG6 ENCRYPT" then the resulting file is ldrconag.ncf (note the lack of a 6!).

If you have any questions you may contact Geoffrey at geoffc@yorku.ca

Other Suggestions

Anonymous

There are two useful tips I could add. First, Alt-F5 within rconip will make the current screen active (invaluable for screens which seemingly don't respond correctly otherwise - such as monitor.nlm submenus).

And if SLP cannot resolve the server list (such as may be the case across an internet connection), using the INS key at the server list screen will allow manual entry of an IP or host name. (Obviously the appropriate protocol must be allowed via VPN, etc.)

Addendum from Geoffrey

Anonymous mentions Alt-F5 to make the current screen always Active, but there is also Alt-F6 which is called Sync mode, which means someone changing screens at the console will change your screens as well. And vice-versa, I think.

You can do an rconip -? to get command line options in help. One of the options is -s (or --ssl) which will start in Secure mode over SSL. This requires the SSL libraries which you can get from the Sourceforge product page.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/rconip
Latest is V2.5.

Also, you can launch it with the --sync to start it in Sync mode (like pressing Alt-F6).

Tim Hansen

Just a comment. Rconag6 doesn't accept punctuation characters in passwords, but Remote does. And if you're changing rconag6's password remotely you may not hear the server beep when you type a punctuation character, so beware!


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