Last week I wrote a small blog about OpenVPN on OSX Mountain Lion using Tunnelblick. I managed to get things to work using the latest Tunnelblick beta. But after a week working with it, I’m not too happy how it works right now. The two issues I have are:
1. DNS servers do not always get set properly, it feels unstable to me. I’ve seen /etc/resolv.conf with the right content, but still the old DNS servers were used by Mountain Lion. This is annoying: while connected to the vpn, hosts behind it do not resolve because the DNS server advertised by the OpenVPN server is not being used. This happened a few times last week, although most of the time it works ok. What goes wrong more often is the opposite: when disconnecting the connection, the OpenVPN advertised DNS server is still being used; but since we’re disconnected, it doesn’t resolve anymore and so nothing works. I’ve then to manually restore the right DNS servers. No fun, but I accepted it for now. I thought there’d be an update soon enough that’d solve this.
2. Problem two is more annoying: the connection is not stable, it’s slow and when working in a shell it is annoying to wait for the cursor to move. It frustrates me. I’d already blamed the guys in the office for heavy downloading only to discover it was Tunnelblick that was the problem. Sorry guys 😉 Connections to public hosts are fine by the way; I wasn’t really able to pinpoint this issue. It kept me from working effectively. If somebody knows what to do to get this working properly, let me know!
So I thought it’d be wise to look for an alternative, and I came across Viscosity. I just wanted to compare and see if it has the same issues. Don’t get me wrong: I always prefer open source software, but it does have to work. Tunnelblick and Mountain Lion clearly doesn’t work for me. Viscosity is $9 for a license, that sounds ok to me.
Downloading and installing is easy, like any other OSX app you open the dmg and drag the application to the application folder. That’s it. What surprised me was that it has an import feature that imports from Tunnelblick. One click, that’s all..
Now that’s cool. From the upper menu, you can now connect. I just works, a few seconds later I’m connected and.. DNS is handled properly. I tried connecting, disconnecting and all but can’t find any problem. It uses the OpenVPN specified DNS servers while connected, and the DHCP specified DNS servers while disconnected. Just like when I was running Tunnelblick on Lion. Also, I haven’t seen the slow connection issue. It’s a bit early to tell if that is gone for good. Since I have 30 days to try Viscosity, I’ll soon enough know 🙂
For me this is a fast en good solution. I hope Tunnelblick is able to sort out what goes wrong with Mountain Lion. Otherwise Viscosity probably has a lot of new users to welcome in the coming months. Kudos to the Sparklabs team!
Update: I did go back to Tunnelblick a few times but had no lock and didn’t want to spend more time on it. Then I bought Viscosity that just works and has been stable from the start.