And, after 3 rounds, the winner is…

Posted in Linux by AST on Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

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…You!

No, really…

In the ongoing battle with the Irish Revenue’s Revenue OnLine System (ROS) and Linux, we finally have a winner. That’s right, dear readers, the winner is John Q. Public, because you can finally natively access ROS using Linux and Firefox!.

[much rejoicing ensues]

Once you’ve dealt with migrating your certificate to the new format[1], you can place this anywhere you like on your amd64 or x86 Linux installation (but the default is $HOME/ROS/) and everything finally just works. What you need to do is (amd64 systems only):

  1. Remove any existing Java plug-in you may have installed.

    Unfortunately, this may be more complicated than it should be, but there are several resources covering how to do this for particular distributions accessible via Google.

  2. Download the appropriate version of the pre-release Java Plug-in for 64-bit Linux from here: https://jdk6.dev.java.net/6uNea.html.

    Once downloaded, you need to install the libnpjp2.so library in the plugins directory of your choice by creating a symbolic link.

    NOTE: If you’re a heavy WebEx user, this is going to break WebEx, so you may want to stick to 32-bit Java.

  3. Access the ROS login page and begin using the new version of ROS.

I do have to hand it to the ROS team. They’ve finally got a relatively flexible solution for dealing with the certificates. Ok, so the rest of the app is still pretty clunky, but they seem to have replaced the old kcrypto.jar with Bouncy Castle’s Java APIs, and you don’t have to do any more fiddling around with paths.

You can even change the default location of your certificates interactively through a separate applet. Hooray!

[1] If you seem to have trouble accessing your older certificate with the new application for the first time, there’s apparently a problem that some of the certificates are not automatically converted.

In this case, you can do the conversion yourself and save at least 20 min on the phone with the ROS Helpdesk. The link you need is https://www.ros.ie/certConvert.html. Just follow the directions, and everything should be working fine.

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