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hotplugging /e/n/i "auto" interfaces

When installing hotplug one may select one of three policies
governing which network interfaces are ifup'ped when they are
created by the kernel.  One of these policies is for hotplug to
ifup all interfaces listed after the "auto" keyword in
/etc/network/interfaces.  Can someone please explain to me what
sense this makes?

So far as I can see, it makes no sense.  Interfaces listed after
the "auto" keyword are brought up by the "ifup -a" command in
/etc/rcS.d/S40networking.  This provides a way of listing those
interfaces to be brought up during the boot sequence -- i.e.,
interfaces which _aren't_ to be left to hotplug or to the admin to
bring up later.  Typically this list includes lo and the names of
interfaces that are known to be present at boot time.

The interfaces brought up by S40networking obviously don't also need
to be brought up by S40hotplug.

It _might_ make sense for hotplug to offer a policy of ifup'ping
those interfaces _not_ listed as "auto" in /etc/network/interfaces.
But I do not see the sense in ifup'ping those interfaces that _are_
listed as "auto".

I contacted the hotplug maintainer about this and he says that he
added this feature because "people wanted it".  My suspicion is
that those who asked for this feature don't understand what "auto"
means in the context of /etc/network/interfaces and that they are
asking for the system to be changed so that it conforms to their
misunderstanding.  If my suspicion is correct then we'll soon see
a bug filed against netbase complaining that "auto" interfaces
shouldn't be brought up in S40networking because they are already
brought up by hotplug, and once this bug is closed we will have to
add a _new_ feature to ifupdown to do what "auto" did before.

Of course I could be wrong about this and I would welcome enlightenment.

If it turns out that my suspicion is true then I will ask the hotplug
maintainer to remove the "hotplug auto interfaces" policy option.
Thomas Hood

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