Re: Network Manager, Firefox and more on FC10

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On Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 2:19 PM, Timothy Murphy <[email protected]> wrote:
> The reason people are confused by NM is because
> it is almost completely undocumented.
> If something does not work it is doubly annoying
> to be told that "it just works".

What exactly are you looking for in terms of documentation?  Or let me
ask it another way.

Is there any application that you can point to that uses GConf that
you feel is well documented? NM uses GConf for configuration settings.
is there any application that you can point to that uses gnome-keyring
that's well documented? NM stores network credentials in
Is there any service or application that uses D-Bus that you find is
sufficiently documented?

I do not think your confusion over NM is strictly a NM problem. I
think its a paradigm shift problem around D-Bus as a critical system
service. I think D-Bus is a paradigm shift in development that is
happening much faster than sysadmins are really equipped to deal with
adequately. I think all of the D-Bus related technologies which are
superceding  more traditional shell scripted approaches are breaking a
lot of sysadmins muscle memory.  Hal and gnome-mount, PolicyKit and
ConsoleKit, and NetworkManager.  I think all of these D-Bus utilizing
technologies are confusing people, and I don't think the D-Bus centric
paradigm has been adequately explained to sysadmins who are going to
have to adapt and relearn to make sense of it.  I think its something
we should all muse over. D-Bus isn't going away and we need to find a
way to help sysadmins find the benefit of these technologies over
existing approaches.

Have any of the D-Bus technologies started showing up in RHEL-centric
certification training yet? That's going to be a watershed moment for
sysadmin re-education. Once certs start requiring admins to know how
to deal with NM or PolicyKit...etc.. then we'll gain some real
traction on the sysadmin oriented documentation.

> Has the classic network service improved recently?

I've no idea. Doubtful.

> I thought NM was introduced precisely because the old service
> did not work properly.

Work properly? the legacy tools wasn't designed for mobile roaming
usage patterns as a target.  You can get it to do what you want, but
is it proper? What is proper anyways?  Proper is relative to
expectation. Expectations for servers and mobile devices are going to
be different.

4 years ago I didn't have a computer that connected to 30 different
wireless or wired networks over the course of a month.  Now I do. And
I'm not even an aggressive business traveller. NM aims to be a better
solution for these sort of usage patterns as a primary function. Right
now for me, and my usage patterns, since I do not run any services on
my personal desktops and laptops, NM post-login network activity works
perfectly fine for me and my commandline tools.

My Centos 5.2 servers on the other hand are stilling using the older
network service because they need network access at boot they
are servers.  NM has a development roadmap, it includes pre-login
system boot up. It takes time to implement that so the legacy network
service will continue to be included in Fedora.

We have come to a middle point in the evolution of the networking
technology in linux where we have to support two different ways to do
things, depending on the situation.  We can only choose one of those
ways as a default. NM is that default, because it best fits usage
cases where the admin is going to be less comfortable doing
reconfiguration.  For situations where the legacy network service
needs to be used still, the expectation is the admin will be able to
figure out how to start the legacy network service if its not running
by default.

> I certainly found it infuriating.
> I'm very grateful for NM, but don't really like to rely on magic.

You'll have to pardon me, if I'm not particular empathetic to intense
emotional feelings over the state of any software development. I
reserve feeling intense rage for when sentient beings do something
overtly key my car when its in a parking lot.


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