Re: design decissions in nm ?

On Wed, 2006-01-18 at 10:47 +0100, Soeren Sonnenburg wrote:
> Hi list,
> I (for the first time) tried out nm and well it partly works nice.
> Now comes the unavoidable but:
> For me it is completely unclear how I can have customized network
> settings, i.e. custom ip address/netmask/gateway/dns's and also I'd like
> to use different MAC addresses depending on where I am and might even
> want to run additional scripts to start applications etc...

As was mentioned, NetworkManagerDispatcher can do that for you.  Or,
anything that's dbus-aware can quite easily figure out the state of the
network or be aware of network changes.

> >From what I understand from the website is that nm is a standalone
> application that tries to du everything. Well I don't understand why it
> is not done the unix way, i.e. I can do all of the above and more using
> standard ifupdown w/ ifplugd, waproamd, ifupdownroaming, resolvconf,
> guessnet, wpasupplicant. I can even have vpn stuff... and that all is
> around for years... So all that GUI users are missing is a a GUI :)

Because the "Unix way" sucks for the people we were designing for.  The
Unix way is to edit 50 config files, one for each of the daemons you
list there (of which there are about 5 or so).  And none of the programs
give you reliable status information about what the heck they are doing,
and they all require terminal access at some time.  When you increase
the number of interactions/daemons, you increase (a) the complexity, and
(b) the changes for errors to fall through the cracks between daemons.

NetworkManager was initially designed for the following type of person:

a) Laptop as the primary computer
b) Is mostly corporate user, where security is (arguably) more important
c) May have a company system administrator (who can setup up GConf
defaults for the corporate network, etc)
d) Moves frequently between access points at work, home, in hotels, in
airports, coffee shops, etc
e) Doesn't necessarily know how to "configure" the whole networking
situation, wants stuff to "Just Work"

I'd argue we hit that general goal pretty well, even if there were
corner cases that simply didn't work at all (static IP, starting NM the
first time, etc).  This person is still a central design target for NM,
but by no longer the _only_ one.  The important thing is to start with a
small, nail the original goal convincingly, then evaluate what to do
next.  Don't bit off more than you can chew, and don't try to please
everyone right from the start.  That's a recipe for failure, or at least
an unworkable program for the people you should try to target in the
first place.

NM has moved on in some fundamental ways, but the central goal is always
"Just Works."  Profiles suck, which is why we don't make them a central
part of NetworkManager like other tools try to do.  NM _should_ support
more advanced features, but only in ways that don't take away from the
"Just Works" aspects.  ie, if it does support "profiles" at all, you, as
the user who wants them, will have to accept that quite a few things
won't be as automatic and painless as they were before you made a
profile.  Maybe that's a fair tradeoff, maybe that makes people mad, I
don't know.


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