Fight for the Internet 1!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pidgin GTalk "" Certificate Issue

Here is how I dealt with connection problems this morning using Pidgin. I am writing this in hopes other people with this problem can benefit from my stumbled-upon fix.

This morning my router stopped working around 2am (much to my annoyance because this interrupted other things). But it was only a partial failure. The wireless stopped working. It still presented an active access point, but nothing could connect to the access point, despite everything else looking okay. (I tried to laptops and one cellphone. Nothing worked.)

However wired connections partially worked. Some machines seemed to have decent Internet access but very slow response times. My main desktop worked alright, except that Pidgin seemed to have trouble connecting to GTalk.

To enable Wireless back for other devices, I power-cycled the Router, which seemed to fix the problem. Wireless came back and I proceeded to debug Pidgin with GTalk. Important note: I did NOT reboot my desktop during the network down/up cycle, which I believe lead to problems later.

I began to debug the Pidgin GTalk problem. The details seemed to be this (taken from the console debug output):
proxy: Error connecting to (Connection timed out).
I began investigating, and fiddling with the settings. At one time I managed to get a connection by setting the account connection security to "Use old-style SSL". However then I received this message once a connection was partially (successfully) established, in brief:

Verify certificate for "":
Finger (SHA1):
I became really puzzled at this. While investigating the problem, I was forced to reboot for another reason. Upon reboot, Pidgin worked perfectly again. I restored the setting back to default and now I'm writing this post.

All I can figure is that my Router had a hiccup, probably some corrupt data table and partial crash (the wireless going down), but the power-cycling fixed that. However I needed to reboot my system to clear the DNS and other Network info cache. (You can do this without rebooting, but I don't know the commands off hand, so it was quicker to reboot.)