Convenient VPN App

  • I'm from Volla. We think, that a convenient VPN app for Ubuntu Touch would be a good idea, because the VPN from in the settings is only for experienced users. I think of a simple login in form and a selection of the country.

    We are working with for the Volla Phone, who provides a simple REST API for the available server and OpenVPN scripts. Further more they will publish soon the source code for a Linux WireGuard command line tool.

    Is someone interested to work on this app? We could spend a Volla Phone as a thank you for the effort. Let me know.

  • @marc_aurel Now that sound like a good incentive for someone and a good idea too.

  • Easy Wireguard support would be awesome.

  • I would say, better to work on the system VPN plugin

  • I would appreciate any solution to make VPN more convenient. Sailfish OS provides a simple generic solution. The user can select any VPN script, for example VPN, and start and stop this VPN with a button. At the first time a modal window pops up with a username and password request. That's it.

    The advantage is a very generic approach. The disadvantage is, that the list of servers usually changes and by using an API the currently fastest server could be automatically selected. Some users also my need to switch the countries for different use cases. I hope, that I can publish the repository for the Linux command line tool soon.

    It shouldn't be too difficult to write a UI for this tool.

  • @CiberSheep said in Convenient VPN App:

    I would say, better to work on the system VPN plugin

    Thanks for the initiative @marc_aurel . This community needs more people like you.
    I have to agree with Joan, It will be much more rich and beneficial to the community if the VPN -plugin- that is already implemented in the system is improved. Because it's already working and very well. Maybe a simplified option would be more desirable rather than "reinventing the wheel" again (like it ALWAYS happen with the GNU/Linux community).
    This is just my opinion.
    Keep up the good work

  • @malditobastardo I agree. Thanks. Currently it's not possible just to select a script, isn't it? So we are looking for a convenient solution.

    One challenge is left: changing VPN servers and changing the location or having a kill switch. That could be a reason for a VPN app.

  • Would it not be possible to have things in the store, which basically just add a service to the vpn settings and wifi indicators?

    So lets say, you go into the account settings, you see options for Evernote, Nextcloud, CalDev, owncloud and google, you go to the openstore, and theres a PIA account "app" you install it, and no new app is created, you go to VPN's nothings new, you go to account settings, and then in Add Accounts, PIA is there.

    You login to your PIA account from system settings, wait for it to add all its networks, then you pull down the indicator menu and all the possible vpn connections are there in the indicator menu.

    The indicator menu might have to have a bit of a redesign, or the way its implemented might need to change a bit, because PIA has a lot of different places you can use, and to scroll down to a specific one each time would be a pain, but I was just thinking, that might be a good way to improve the current VPN situation, rather than ending up with different apps for all the different VPN providers.

  • @PhoenixLandPirat
    This looks like a dirty hack IMHO.

    It means an app installed from the store might be able to overwrite the system to replace the current VPN settings.
    This looks a lot like a security issue: an invisible app modifying the rootf.

    I agree with @CiberSheep it's better to improve the system settings.

  • I have doubts, that the system settings could fulfill the requirements for VPN.

    • Dynamic server list
    • Country selection
    • Kill switch
    • App specific VPN settings

    VPN apps needn't be a hack. It’s a standard for Android, iOS, iPadOS or macOS. So UT could learn from this operation systems.

    For sure a VPN app usually asks to related permissions. Afterwards the VPN would occur in the network settings.

    Anyway, the improved system VPN settings could be a short term solution like in Sailfish OS. Is someone interested to work on it? Or does someone know anyone else?

    Does someone know, wether it’s technically possible to develop a VPN app for UT and publish it n the store? We would like to promote it with our partner.

  • @AppLee the “app” shouldn't have that kinda power, ideally the app would just point the system settings direction.

    idk how it would look in code but something like

    name: PIA
    acount type: vpn
    VPN list:
    authenticaion type: username + password

    then system settings/VPN thing should search for the lists and apply all the needed settings, obviously it should point at more things the more complex it is, and have true false statements.

    but the settings should be asking what specific questions to apply the VPN, and applying them through the VPN itself, rather than the VPN “app” messing about in your files.

    the reason I suggest it be an “app” rather than added to system settings by default, is because no one wants to scroll through a list of 20+ VPN solutions to add there nextcloud instance for the calendar sync.

    its also more use friendly than looking through the websites to try and find the right scripts or to try and find out how to set them up correctly.

  • @marc_aurel theres a VPN editor app in the store, so it should be possible to make an application that sets up something in in thebVPN section of system settings.

    I don't know how that works, but Id assume you could make a convenient app with that, if you can make add all them extra features you wish to using that system, I don't know.

  • @PhoenixLandPirat That app is ok but still a bit of a faff. You need to download the configuration file use a text editor to create two files upload those and so on.
    What would be ideal would be a vpn set up from file similar to desktop. Just download file, import and add passwords. Sounds sooo easy when you type it out 🙂

  • Agree with the need for an indicator too
    When the connection drops, there is an on screen notification, but it doesn't persist in the notification tray so it's easy to miss

    Being unaware your vpn connection has dropped could be potentially dangerous to some users

    Also, auto reconnect would be a good feature to have (e.g. when moving between access points)

  • @theare27 the VPN indicator menu is the same as networks, it just needs to have the VPN icon show up in the menu when active, this has been shown in design documents, but I don't think its ever worked in code, there are bug reports about that though!

  • @PhoenixLandPirat I'm talking about an indication on the bar at the top of the screen, either next to the wifi icon or incorporated into it somehow

    Android has the key icon. On UT you have to go digging through the dropdowns to see if it's connected or not.

    Yeah I have commented on some of the open bugs, just saw this thread & thought worth raising here too

  • If you want to make VPN connection easier, then the first thing to do would be to get .ovpn file import support working in System Settings VPN config, so that one can simply import the necessary settings.

    Concentrating on partnership marketing will not bring a better user experience to VPN setup.

  • Sailfish OS offers the approach with a VPN script. The disadvantage is, that it doesn't cover the requirement to change the server or - as mentioned in the discussion - a kill switch. A kill switch might be implemented by the system itself.

    One more thing. We should be aware, that many consumers doesn't know anything about openVPN scripts or similar technology, but they are able to install the app of the VPN provider, they have chosen from an app store.

    Companies would need an MDM solution for UT. But this is another topic.

  • getting ovpn files to import would be massive, that is by far the most painful bit atm lol i could live without an app, if i could quickly import the 200 odd connections i use easily

  • @dobey exactly

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