NetworkManager 0.7 feature list

Tux
NetworkManager 0.7 will be available soon and will come along with a lot of features. Among them are static IPs, custom DNS servers and system wide configuration. However, the current development version still has some regressions and lacks support of a lot of encrpytion types.

NetworkManager (NM) is part of most current distros and provides a sane and solid way to configure and simply use different wired and wireless networks. It is especially useful for laptop users who often switch between different encrypted wireless networks.

The current stable version is 0.6.5, the next version, 0.7, is currently under development, but will already be shipped with Fedora 8. Now Dan Williams explained what features we will see with the new version:

  • Faster connections
  • Kill kill kill dhcdbdbddbbdbdbbdbd
  • More reliable wireless connections
  • Doesn’t mash together wireless networks with the same SSID (but different security, bands, or modes)
  • Richer, saner D-Bus API (including introspection)

The second point means that a mean and failure producing dependency is dropped. Also, the last point includes that NM is now talking via D-Bus with wpa_supplicant. This makes using wpa_supplicant hopefully a bit more sane. The other parts are just nice to read – I have to make own experiences before I can comment point one and three. ;)

Also interesting is what Dan Williams expects shortly after Fedora 8 (which is expected for early November):

  • Static IPs (more than one if you like!)
  • Custom DNS servers and search domains
  • Better support for all the wireless security modes
  • Multiple active device support (Internet connection sharing, woohoo!)
  • A solid API and infrastructure to add stuff like Bluetooth DUN, Bluetooth PAN, cellular broadband cards, etc
  • Get connected when the system boots and don’t have to wait for login

Internet connection sharing is still difficult to set up with Linux, and it would be very nice to see this soon. Also, static connections never really worked together with NM and it is nice that they will soon. Last but not least Bluetooth and Cellular support in NM would make sure that NM really becomes a central place for all network connections, not only LAN and WLAN.

However, the current state of NM 0.7 prevents me from updating to Fedora 8 right now:

  • Does not support WEP passphrases
  • Does not support WPA[2] Enterprise, IEEE801.X (Dynamic WEP), or LEAP
  • Does not support hidden networks
  • Does not autoconnect to last wireless network
  • OpenVPN VPN plugin busted
  • SELinux Enforcing mode is rocky

Especially the encryption things are serious – I need to access a WPA2 enterprise encrypted system (and already filled several bugs related to such networks against NM, KNM and wpa_supplicant) and my student work depends on it.

However, these things are as “will be fixed ASAP” and I’m quite sure these regressions will be gone by Fedora 8 release time.

The only bad news for KDE users is that knetworkmanager won’t be ready for Fedora 8 freeze as it looks like. So KDE users will have to use GNOME’s nm-applet (and also GNOME’s password management tool) until the knetworkmanager package is released.
But well, if you use KDE on Fedora you are used to suffer from such things.

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26 thoughts on “NetworkManager 0.7 feature list

  1. Is the problem with KNetworkManager that there are currently none or too few people working on it?

    Kind of weird for an OSV to include a new version of a system service where the user interface is not updated accordingly.

  2. red_alert: it is a rewrite and therefore there are still regressions. That’s ok as far as this is not true for the final release.

    Kevin: well, the user interface is updated – at least the GNOME one. And the KDE interface was always a bit behind, although Helmut Schaa does a tremendous job with it.

  3. > a sane and solid way to configure

    Are you talking about that GUI-centric unextensible tool?

    Really, that’s probably not a bad thing that someone finally wrote a decent graphical interface to configure network interfaces, because having them statically configured by a file just won’t match current needs (roaming, arbitrary wireless access, and so on).

    But that doesn’t mean NM is even remotely good engineering.

  4. “But that doesn’t mean NM is even remotely good engineering.”

    Talk is cheap but doesn’t mean you are allowed to talk BS.

  5. Pierre: First of all: remote configuration will be available with NetworkManager 0.7 since it allows for system wide configuration.
    However, NM is not for servers or other machines which are configured remotely. Such systems usually have static interfaces and static connections and there is hardly any need for a tool like NM in such applications.

  6. I agree that KNetworkManager is tremendously useful, I like it a lot.

    Though it is a pitty that its developers artificially make their lives more complicated by not using the Qt3 D-Bus bindings.

    Especially now that NM has this nice D-Bus introspection files which allow to generate code.

  7. Kevin, I guess Helmut Schaa is always open for help and suggestions. He is also working at refactoring the code at the moment to get a KNM working with NM 0.7, so this might be the best time to make suggestions about the basic design.

  8. “However, NM is not for servers or other machines which are configured remotely. Such systems usually have static interfaces and static connections and there is hardly any need for a tool like NM in such applications.”

    Well, I guess there are many users out there with home servers/router for which that would be very usefull. I for one would use it if it had system wide conf (next release) and dialup(pppoe/ppptp/…)

  9. André: you mean you have a need for a GUI tool for configuring static connections (like system-network-config). That is ok, but that wasn’t the scope of NetworkManager. NM was designed to deal with dynamic, often changing connections.

    However, with the new features and possibilities introduced for NM 0.7 such applications might also find their way into NM. Maybe even the scope of NM will switch to a general network managing tool. But that will take time (= developers working at that specific feature set).

  10. Oh how I wish I had read this before upgrading. This beta has me gnashing my teeth in frustration – no WPA2 Personal support for madwifi atheros cards yet. Buggy as hell WPA and WEP implementation. Maddening!

  11. Hm, for me at least a homegrown WPA works, but I do see problems with WEP as well… but hopefully the future NM versions will solve that bugs.

  12. cannot connect to wireless wep encrypted network using static ips using networkmanager7 in fedora 8..the passphrase will be asked again and again and not getting connected.
    will i have to install any other linux for the sole reason..?
    any solutions….?

  13. suraj: First of all I don’t think that NM already supports fixed IPs. Second it is hard to solve such issues here in the blog. The best is to ask at a Forum.
    The right way to ask there is to provide the log data of the login-attempt because there you might find (with a little help) the information which says what the problem is. The log information can be found in /var/log/messages.

  14. I don’t see any plans to improve the user interface, but there’s a lot of grief reported on the web, tarnishing NM. Do you know if the developers are aware of this?

    (please copy any reply to my email address, thanks)

  15. The only other feature I would want is a clear button to repair/reconnect to a network(I know reclicking of the network name does this, but its not very clear that it does)

  16. does that mean that internet sharing does not currently work? I have been trying to set it up the old way (iptables), but somehow it does not work

  17. kane77, this post is over a year old! In the meantime quite some development happend – especially in the area of NetworkManager. So it should work now.
    But it works with iptables anyway – if it didn’t work for you, you did something wrong.

  18. Whoops, did not notice that, sorry. The thing is I installed new ubuntu (8.10) that now has new NetworkManager, and I had the script I used before that would set the iptables to share internet connection..
    The problem is I don’t know how to set wifi connection to be the default, because each time I create wired connection NM chose it to be default..

  19. kane77, I don’t know your actual setup and scripts so it’s hard to help you. Such a blog post is not the right place to discuss such detailed matters anyway – the ubuntu forums are perfect for that, and there are btw. some excellent people ready to help!

    But one thing you need to keep in mind: either you use NetworkManager – or you use scripts. But not both. NetworkManager migth reconfigure your device/iptables setup at any time and is therefore not appropriate to work together with scripts it actually doesn’t know of!

  20. mimor, this post is over the year old. Things have changed and improved drastically since then – NM 0.7 today supports everything you need ;)

  21. I can’t verify that – the NM works perfectly with the connections I tested it against. So if you run into problems please fill a bug report, this might be an issues which can be resolved.

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