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Bug#681834: network-manager, gnome, Recommends vs Depends

On 17.07.2012 22:30, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Michael Biebl <biebl@debian.org> writes:
>> Also, as an alternative if you can't use network-manager for whatever
>> reasons,  you can install gnome-core and disable network-manager. This
>> is as simple as
>> "update-rc.d network-manager disable"
> [...]
>> As for the situation where nm is installed but doesn't manage the
>> network connection: This is actually extremely confusing to users as
>> various bug reports have shown.
> Are these two points consistent?  In other words, *is* it as simple as
> running:
>     update-rc.d network-manager disable
> and installing wicd or something else, or is that configuration "extremely
> confusing" to users? 

I think those points are consistent. Users which deliberatly chose to
install wicd (or use other mechanisms) will most likely know what they
are doing and that this will have effects on how their desktop
environment will behave, e.g. that they will no longer be able to
configure their network via gnome-control-center, the network indicator
in the top panel will be gone, on/offline detection no longer being
available, etc.

As for the point of non-managed devices being confusing to users, I
probably need to say a few words:
In the network-manager package we go to great lengths to be a good
citizen and respect existing configuration. That means, if the
network-manager daemon finds a configuration in /etc/network/interfaces
for a given physical device, it does not manage that device under the
assumption that the user/administrator deliberately set up /e/n/i to
have ifupdown manage this interface.
It is hard to distinguish, which entries were created manually and which
by the debian installer, though.
The d-i installer typically creates a /e/n/i configuration, so users
weren't able to manage this device with network-manager after a
successfull installation, unless they manually removed the configuration
from /e/n/i.
This was extremely confusing for less experienced users and I got
numerous bug reports over the years [1].
We thus tried a compromise, where the network-manager postinst script
automatically comments out dhcp-type connections in /e/n/i (and restores
them, in case the package is removed again,fwiw).
This is admittedly quite ugly, but ifupdown didn't provide a nicer
interface to achieve that at the time.
Andrew has signaled interest in providing a better interface for that in
ifupdown, so hopefully we can solve that in a nicer way. IIRC, the
Ubuntu graphical installer no longer creates any /e/n/i configuration at
all, to avoid this problem completely.

> If there's a clean way to disable network-manager, I think that's a
> reasonable alternative to either creating yet another meta-package or
> arguing about Depends vs. Recommends in gnome-core.  But there seems to be
> a lot of debate over this point.

Disabling network-manager via "update-rc.d network-manager disable" is a
reliable and clean way to stop network-manager from running. It won't be
magically re-enabled on upgrades or restarted, since invoke-rc.d
respects if a sysv service is disabled this way.


P.S: I apologize for the threats to leave in my last email. I know this
is not professional. This whole issue is extremely frustrating though
and I'm currently quite pissed so I reacted more emotionally, then I
should have.

[1] http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=606268
Why is it that all of the instruments seeking intelligent life in the
universe are pointed away from Earth?

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