Category Archives: Networking

Slow SSL on Fedora

So, I’ve been using Fedora Core 3 (I really must upgrade to 4) and I’ve noticed that SSL – ie HTTPS – is really slow. Logging into eBay took something like a half hour. I consulted someone who uses FC3 as their primary operating system and his suggestion was to disable the firewall. “but…” I protested. The response was simple: “Stop being such a pussy. You’ve got a firewall in your modem.” And I do.

So I did – Applications | System Settings | Security Level got me to firewall configuration, one option of which was “forgetaboudit”. A reboot of the iptables (iptables is the linux firewall: very sophisticated, very powerful, very fragile, requires a detailed understanding of IP protocols to use correctly) later – either by a command line entry (simple – just enter service iptables restart) or a system reboot (easy to remember, but takes a fair old time – FC boot time is longer than XP’s) and the firewall’s behaviour was changed. Then secure logins went just as fast as straight HTTP, and it was clear that the Red Hat Firewall was the culprit.

Hours of searching the web revealed a suggestion for a change to the configuration file, which I went to implement in a restarted firewall – and it was already there. So, to make Firefox – or any other web browser – do fast SSL when it was going slow – you need to disable, then re-enable the firewall. You can do that by picking Applications | System Settings | Security Level from the menu, disabling the firewall, opening a terminal window and entering service iptables restart, and repeating the process but enabling the firewall this time (ensure you have web turned on).

In FC3 the default firewall install doesn’t like HTTPS. And I thought Windows was freaky. I understand the FC4 doesn’t do this crazy shit.

Using AppleTalk networks

Though I’ve been a Mac user for over ten years now, AppleTalk is one of those protocols that has remained a bit of dark mystery to me. It’s only recently that I’ve been networking computers together at all, and because I have a network comprising Mac and PCs—together with owning a router that wouldn’t know what to do with an AppleTalk event if it was wearing polka-dot pyjamas—I am strictly a TCP/IP man.

However, this article on AppleTalk and AppleTalk zones provides a useful introduction to setting up AppleTalk on a Mac server. As and when I invest in a Mac laptop, or maybe a Mac Mini, I’ll probably dip my toe in the water. Currently, every other bit of communicating hardware I own or manage would greet such Mac language with a stony silence, so for now I’ll stick to more universal languages.