Re: nm-applet: prototype with priorities, feedback welcome

Some further thoughts:

On 16/08/14 12:24 AM, dwk wrote:
- I was going to add a "auto-connect to this network" checkbox when you
  connect to a network for the first time. And, maybe show networks
  differently in the pull-down menu if they're configured to
  automatically connect.
I've been debating how to incorporate auto-connection into the GUI. I
think it's important enough to have more visibility than a checkbox in
the "Edit" dialog. But how should connections with auto-connect disabled
be shown in the connection settings dialog? Because they're not actually 
part of the auto-connection order. I think that as long as there is an
indication that the network won't auto-connect, leaving the list in the
same order is fine, because the user might want to toggle it to
auto-connect again. (Yes, checkboxes would be better than "yes"/"no"

- I already added a "Scan for WiFi networks..." menu item, since I
  actually find myself manually running iwlist to get the applet to
  update. Maybe I'm just more impatient than the average user. This can
  be done without backend modifications (there is already a RequestScan
  dbus call), but to be done properly there should be a GetScanStatus
  call so that the applet can show "Scan in progress".
At some point, I found NM documentation that claimed that a scan would
be initiated if you clicked on the icon. This does not seem to be the
case. If I wait for a period of quiescence, click on my "scan" button,
then run iwlist, iwlist says the card is busy (i.e. NM is scanning). If
I simply click on the icon instead, iwlist can initiate a scan (implying
that NM didn't in the background).

You might ask why automatic scanning isn't sufficient. First, there have
been bugs with it in the past:
I'm also not sure I want my network card always performing scans; if
nothing else that's going to be a big drain on battery power. I think
there should be an option to do auto-scanning more conservatively (at
least while connected), and allow the user to click on a special "Scan"
menu item. If nothing else it gives them something to click on when a
network isn't showing up.

For related reading, lots of people have expressed a desire for
priorities in NM:

David Williams-King

You'll see a common theme here that some people think a checkbox for
"preferred" networks is enough of a priority mechanism. Personally I
think it's a compromise and why not support full ordering if we can, but
it's something to consider.

It has also occurred to me that users may be interested in setting
priorities between different types of connections (e.g. wired and
wireless), which would be difficult unless priority numbers were exposed
directly. I know NM is supposed to do the right thing when there are
multiple interfaces, but I just had it connect to (and maintain
connections with) a wired interface and a wireless one at the same time,
which seems pretty redundant, so I don't know how well that bit works.

P.S. I realize these all seem like fairly large-scale changes, requiring
modifications beyond what I have considered (e.g. in nmtui); but I think
network-manager needs some of these changes to stay relevant and useful,
and I'm willing to write code to help make that happen.

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