[arch-dev-public] Fwd: Consensus on network scripts

James iphitus at gmail.com
Tue Apr 24 05:42:07 EDT 2007

oops, this one didnt make the ML, my bad.

Anyone got any other comments? If I put these to a poll everyone would
vote for their inclusion? Otherwise.. please say :)

It's unfair otherwise if I don't get a chance to fix problems or
respond to complaints.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: James <iphitus at gmail.com>
Date: Apr 21, 2007 8:32 AM
Subject: Re: [arch-dev-public] Consensus on network scripts
To: David Rosenstrauch <darose at darose.net>

On 4/21/07, David Rosenstrauch <darose at darose.net> wrote:
> James wrote:
> > Yes, laptops are moved between wireless networks, but this does not
> > mean that static configuration is inappropriate. My laptop for
> > example, has long moved between home, and school/uni and a coffee shop
> > I frequent. Three, unchanging networks. Most users of wireless have
> > networks they frequent often like this.
> >
> > Look at my scripts, they're not as complex and error prone as you'd
> > think. Most distros *do* have wep support in their scripts, and I see
> > no reason why wpa shouldn't be afforded that same level of support.
> > Arch is a different distro to "most other distributions".
> >
> > NetworkManager is not a solution. It's gui dependent. To use it, means
> > loading up either KDE or Gnome. This is a ridiculous dependency for
> > network connectivity. Developing a command line based client would
> > be... nice. But, I don't have the experience to develop it, and arch
> > needs better network scripts two years ago.
> Hi James.  Was just reading through your email with interest.
> I also use my laptop for roaming ... and often start up the network from
> the command line, instead of a UI.
> But I'm just wondering:  what do you feel is wrong with arch's current
> wifi network scripts?  I use them (i.e., with /usr/bin/netcfg --menu)
> and they don't seem to give me any problems.

The current scripts:
- Messy codebase, as features have been hacked in over time, without
much plan or thought to the big picture.
- Config syntax is messy and inconsistent.
- All the logic and code is in netcfg, so nothing can be used outside of it.
- As a result of the last, netcfg is *big*. Having everything in one
file, as anyone knows, is nasty.
- Using bash files as a configuration mechanism can be awkward, take a
look through and you'll see lines of mass 'unset's trying to clear out
- Negligible error checking. You get failed connections that uh don't fail?
- Are very difficult to track down why a profile has failed, and what
could cause connection problems.
- netcfg only deals with simple wireless configurations, these scripts
are generic and can tackle any type of connection, given a
lib/netcfg/connection/ script is written for them.

My scripts are based on the current ones, but the above are all fairly
big problems, albeit, many internal, so fixing and improving them,
ended up becoming a rewrite of the scripts. There's other things I
thought might be best to change too, like moving all network scripts
to a separate package, and separating out the initscripts.

> I usually just use knetworkmanager for connectivity.  But on the
> occasions that I need to use it from the command line, netcfg seems
> quite adequate.  I just set up a new profile, and then select it from
> the netcfg menu.
> What do you think needs to be urgently improved about this process?

It's a fine process, I just hope to bring our network scripts to a
higher level of functionality, make them easier to use, more reliable,
and easier to deal with when things go wrong.

iphitus // Arch Developer // kernel26beyond // iphitus.loudas.com

iphitus // Arch Developer // kernel26beyond // iphitus.loudas.com

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