October 9, 2015

VPN Client for Vista using Parallels

A recent client needed me to run some Windows-only software from their network. Since I have my lovely new MacBook with Parallels and Vista installed, I thought this should be no problem.

Famous last words.

Actually it wasn’t so bad. I don’t actively hate Vista, at least not since it is held captive in my MacBook. The problem was that I needed to connect to the client’s LAN using a Cisco VPN client and Vista didn’t like that software one bit. It would simply fail with no explanation or logging every time.

I found a solution, or at least a thread discussing possible solutions at Bill Evjen’s Blog and I crossed my fingers.

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Lighttpd 1.5 prerelease doesn't like Django

Whew. I spent quite a bit more time debugging this problem than it really should have taken. Django just wasn’t playing nice with the latest Lighttpd pre-release.

Long story short

Don’t use the prerelease, use the most recent 1.4.x stable. Save yourself hours of cursing and trace-debugging.


Lighttpd had the following problems:

  • No request PATH_INFO. Django hates that. I hacked my testing version of Django to get past that, but no luck because.
  • Lighttpd just wouldn’t accept the response. I put in trace logs and found that my app was sending a perfect response, but Lighty just wouldn’t listen to it.