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Re: can we (fully) fix/integrate NetworkManager (preferred) or release-goal its decommissioning

On Sunday, August 19, 2012 13:26:46, Christoph Anton Mitterer wrote:

> Hey.


> I hope this won't become too much of a rant, but IMHO we long ago

> crossed the point where something (well actually many things) would have

> needed to be seriously done.

> My grandparents always warned me about UNIX programs written in capital

> letters ;-).



> Seriously... I have nothing against a high level daemon that manages

> underlying network control systems (ifupdown, vpnc, ppp, strongswan,

> openswan, openvpn) but not the way NM does it, especially as it doesn't

> work correctly at all edges and ends.


> Until "recently" all that wasn't a big problem, because one was easily

> able to simply not install NM, but nowadays more and more packages start

> to depend on it (of those I know, most notably gnome-core) or at least

> use it's functionality to determine whether one is online or not.



The first suggestion I have is to look at Wouter Verhelst's 'ipcfg' project [1], which he gave a talk about on the last day of DebConf12 [2], and which is currently a work-in-progress, thus making it a good time for this kind of input. His plan for the project addresses many of the typical complaints about NM, as well as other network managers, and I think he's got some very interesting ideas and thoughts about the problems you've described.


Related note: I likewise repeatedly have confusion over how to deal with testing Network Status from within shell scripts for doing operations that require network access. As a "for instance" a common suggestion for keeping GPG keys up to date is to set a 'gpg --referesh-keys' operation as a cron job, which doesn't make sense to do if the device the script is run on is offline, especially if you want to log the output from the command. The conclusion I've come to is that there needs to be a standard way for programs in Debian to know whether the local environment has network access, but that right now this is something that doesn't currently exist and is also not covered in Debian Policy. :-(


I've likewise repeatedly been frustrated by packages that try to pull in NM as a dependency, and there has been repeated discussion here in [debian-devel] on this topic as well. I've used NM, learned to hate it, and today absolutely refuse to allow it to be installed. Reason: I too tried the "solution" of "just disable it in the startup script" just to have THAT bite me in the ass every time NM gets upgraded. I'd personally like to see the NM package in Debian come with an /etc/default/network-manager file [like wicd has] so that a user has a way of disabling NM in a way that won't get "fixed" upon upgrades. Until then, when it comes to my own systems, it and any package that depends on it looses. [Come to think of it, the right thing for me to do is to open up a Wishlist bug for this -- so I'll be doing that today.]



[1] http://anonscm.debian.org/gitweb/?p=users/wouter/ipcfg.git


[2] http://penta.debconf.org/dc12_schedule/events/953.en.html


-- Chris



Chris Knadle


GPG Key: 4096R/0x1E759A726A9FDD74


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