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 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.