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UDP and Ubuntu 14/Windows incompatibility
14/9/2017
For the last few weeks I've been mucking around in the background with an application I've called "ClipShare" that basically sits on the network and allows you to copy and paste between different machines. It supports text, images and files at the moment. I'm sure such a thing already exists but I like how it auto-detects all the machines running it on the network via UDP broadcast and supports Windows, Mac and Linux. It's far from production ready, it still crashes a bit and hangs up during file transfers sometimes. But over time I'm sure I'll iron that out.

Things like Samba, VNC and VM's (Vmware/Virtualbox) tend to have support for things like clipboard and file sharing. But in my experience they break very easily and it's 50/50 if they'll work or not. Hence having an alternative for getting the data across.

In testing I had a Ubuntu 14 VM running on a Windows host and for the life of me couldn't get the UDP packets to go from Ubuntu to Windows. I could see the packets arriving in Windows land via Wireshark but the recvfrom wouldn't get the packet. The packet wasn't large, just 40 bytes or so. In researching the issue I found that IP packets have a checksum, so I figured out how to get Wireshark to test the checksum. It confirmed the checksum was good. I could see using 'netstat -s' that there was an increasing count of 'Received Packets Discarded'. So Windows for reasons unknown was discarding the UDP traffic from Ubuntu. I tried turning off the Windows Firewall. No difference.

So then I decided to spin up my Ubuntu 16 VM and test the exact same code there. And sure enough it's working fine. So in conclusion I believe that at the OS level, Ubuntu 14 has some busted networking code. I can't tell what's wrong. Maybe it's a Windows thing. But it's basically meant I'm moving to Ubuntu 16 for all my Linux dev stuff. The main reason I had a Ubuntu 14 environment was that I had a working Raspberry Pi cross compiler install and I hate messing with a working env just for the sake of upgrading. However that broke recently anyway so it seems that the last reason for keeping 14 just disappeared.

Fun times.

Tags: linux ubuntu networking

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