Disclaimer: I am not a FirePass administrator; only an end-user and have no other relationship with F5. There may be better methods to address this issue; please comment if you know of one.
Preliminaries: Although the F5 FirePass SSL VPN product supports Linux, as best as I can tell, that support is somewhat limited: My understanding is that they officially claim support for 32-bit installs only, and they do not appear to track new distribution releases particularly aggressively. F5 has also been somewhat slow in supporting new browser versions: They announced support for Firefox 3 on October 6, 2008, nearly four months after its release and with only two months to go before Firefox 2 was end-of-lifed. For Firefox 3.6 support, a comment on the post linked above states that you need to request a special hot fix from F5 (which my site has not applied). There is no Google Chrome support that I am aware of.
Further, F5′s automated client installation tools have unfortunately never worked for me on Linux, even when the architecture and browser are in their support matrix. The manual download instruction links are also broken on the FirePass install I connect to.
Solution: Install a dedicated, 32-bit version of Firefox in a supported version; create a single-purpose Firefox profile for VPN use. Add the FirePass client to that browser and the operating system.
For the Firefox install, follow the “Manual Installation” instructions from the Ubuntu Community Documentation site. Install version 3.5 if your site does not have the hotfix mentioned above.
Be sure to create a new Firefox profile in your account for use with the FirePass; however, I recommend modifying the script in the Ubuntu documentation to automatically take you to your FirePass site (https://firepass.example.com/ for the purposes of this post):
#!/bin/bash exec "\$HOME/firefox/firefox" -P mozilla-build https://firepass.example.com/
Next, download the client components from your F5 site; again, assuming firepass.example.com, retrieve and save:
Move np_F5_SSL_VPN.so to the plugins directory of the new Firefox installation – ~/firefox/plugins if following the Ubuntu documentation. Based on file layout, it appears that F5 intended for you to extract SSLVpn.tgz at the root of your file system. Instead of following this bad practice, in scratch space and as root, extract the SSLVpn.tgz tarball and manually move the files into place:
cp SSLVpn.tgz /tmp cd /tmp sudo tar -xvpzf SSLVpn.tgz # inspect extracted files here... cd /usr/local/lib mkdir -p F5Networks/SSLVPN cd /tmp/usr/local/lib/F5Networks/SSLVPN cp -Rp etc svpn var /usr/local/lib/F5Networks/SSLVPN
Using the bash script above, you should now be able to launch your purpose-built FirePass browser installation and have it “just work” for Network Access. Good luck!