NetworkManager: A User's Review

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What I do for wireless networking is a kludge of the first water.

I use "service network restart" for my home network. It is set up with
WEP using 64 bit (10 hex digit) keys and does not broadcast its
SSID. I cannot access my home network with NetworkManager (hereafter
NM). However, I can use NM to get on a local open network. So I find
myself toggling between those two tools.

NM's documentation is pathetic. Such documentation as exists is on the
NM web site, making it rather useless if you're trying to access the
net somewhere. (When else would the ordinary user care to see NM

The prompts are useless to those who are not wireless network
gurus. To give a trivial example, when entering a WEP key as a hex
value, do I enter a leading 0x or not? Kwifimanager, by the way,
qualifies WEP keys as you enter them, one keystroke at a time, so that
it is obvious when you have entered a valid key and when you have not.

If the target user for NM is the wireless illiterate, the implementers
should design the prompts for the wireless illiterate, not for
themselves. The way to do this is get several wireless illiterates to
attempt to make multiple connections. Encourage the testers to ask
questions. The answer to each and every question the testers asks
should be put -- in simple language -- into the GUI where the user can
find it.

NM makes no effort to preserve attempted logon data across tries. If
your attempt fails, and you want to try different things, you have to
stop the daemon, restart it, then retype everything, not just the
changes. This is the sort of inane user-hostile stupidity one expects
of a Vogon.

Because of these idiocies, I've given up trying to use NM on my home
network. NM is very nice when it works. You fire it up (you shouldn't
even have to do that; you should be able to leave it running), and it
connects, even to a network it's never seen before. But when human
intervention is required (such as entering a WEP key), it is user
hostile to the point of uselessness.


Charles Curley                  /"\    ASCII Ribbon Campaign
Looking for fine software       \ /    Respect for open standards
and/or writing?                  X     No HTML/RTF in email    / \    No M$ Word docs in email

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