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Re: Thoughts on network detection and configuration on Debian

On Sat, Dec 08, 2001 at 06:56:30PM +0100, Enrico Zini wrote:
> Hi everybody!

Hello everyone! I've recently been thinking about this also, and have some
thoughts I'd like to share on the subject.  First though, I'd like to say
that I've enjoyed reading peoples emails on the subject, and you guys have
some great ideas.

After some thought, I think that perhaps we need three separate tools for
three separate jobs (but which would, of course, work together).  As I see
it, I have three things that I'd like autoconfiguration tools to be able to

(1) Detect my network environment and configure networking properly.  

(This is reasonably well served by guessnet along with ifupdown, which is
what I'm using at the moment).

(2) Configure my computer based on location, as in everything else.  

In theory this could be done by the same tool as (1), but I think it is
better to be done by a separate utility, so that those who don't need it
won't have to worry about the necesary complexity of such a tool.
Naturally, this should be linked with (1)... this need seems to be served
best by whereami.  For a while I used whereami, but for my purposes at the
moment it is overkill.  Also, preferably tool (2) would be preconfigured to
work seamlessly with tool (1).

(3) Determine when to redetect my environment and reconfigure.

This tool would detect when you plug in and unplug the ethernet cable,
would be activated on suspend/resume events, pcmcia cards (if I had
any...), etc.  I imagine this tool would probably consist primarily of
config scripts in /etc/apm/events.d/ etc., which would then be configured
to call either (1) or (2) as appropriate.

The reason I think these should be separate is that I can see wanting to
use them separately, or in combination.  For example, anyone with very
simple reconfiguration needs (like me at the moment) could just not install
(2).  Then later, when I configure my computer as a client to an nfs
server or something, I would be able to install (2) and configure it while
still using my existing configuration of (1).

Switching subjects briefly...

As far as ideas for improvement to whereami, I was just thinking that
perhaps a nice way to do some of its work would be to have it switch
runlevels.  Since we already have the runlevel mechanism for creating
different configurations (esp for daemons, etc), it might be nice to use
that, although we'd still need a mechanism for changing config files.
Also, that would limit us to three such configurations, which is probably
usually more than enough, but still you hate to build a limitation in to
the software... oh well.  Maybe not such a hot idea...

Anyhow, I guess that's about all my thoughts on the subject.
David Roundy

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