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orbit 09-14-2007 01:51 AM

NetworkManager on Slackware 12
 
Hello to all Slackware Users,

The aim of this topic is an attempt to modernise Linux (wireless) networking in the 21st Century; and (if you want to), move away from the necessity of constantly commandline editing wireless conf's in order to connect to different wireless networks.

As a result of considerable internet reading, I have noticed a common trend in other major Linux Distributions towards the program NetworkManager, and (relevant to Slackware), it's associated Frontend cousin KNetworkManager.

I think that while editing .conf files may work in Slackware, it is definitely not an attractive method for beginner or average users to be able to connect to differing networks, and as such; an automated smart central network manager would be a huge benefit to captivating windows users and beginners to linux.
Being able to have your various wireless and cable networks 'Just Work' would be a beautiful thing in Slackware!
This is the reason I have started this topic, as it is also the primary goal of NetworkManager.

Wouldn't it be beneficial to Slackware to collaborate on this project?
Surely these other Distro's can't all be wrong, and there must be something worthwhile considering in this program?

If I could ask one favor of the community, could we please keep this topic on focus,
specific to NetworkManager and/or KNetworkManager, rather than evolving into yet another forum on " ... use this/that other program (kwlan, kwifimanager, wlassistant,wifi-radar ...etc...)", thanks very much in advance.

Now, I'm aware that NetworkManager is not yet %100 perfected, and like nearly all Linux programs is a constant work in progress; but the core principal idea of the program is extremely attractive, especially when compared to all the alternatives.

My proposal is; with the huge collection of Slacker BrainPower on this forum, surely if we worked on this collectively, we can get this program up to speed and integrated into distributable packages for Slackware? In my opinion, this will be something that will definitely enhance the overall impression of our otherwise beautiful Operating System.

Is anybody interested in this idea at all?

I look forward to responses.

Regards

Orbit

witz 09-14-2007 02:10 AM

Well first of all,
The whole point of slackware is to keep it KISS.
So that means you gotta modify the .configs to your
preference.If you need automation then use ubuntu period.
If you so need a gui networking tool,then install as needed
for yourself.

That's my point of view so don't let it offend you.;)

orbit 09-14-2007 02:30 AM

Hi witz,
That's fine, but I have noticed other slackware users have been unable to compile these programs on Slackware. I have tried to get them to compile and have also been unsuccessful.

My point is, it would be nice to get this Automatic, friendly modern option available for Slackware, so that if you didn't like to have to be always editing .conf files, you had the option of being able to automate your networking with this suite of programs.

Other Linux distributions offer these programs available as an additional package set, whilst even other Linux's distribute with (K)NetworkManager as the standard networking infrastructure.

It would be nice if the same options could be offered in Slackware.

Choices are a good thing :)

Cheers

Orbit

H_TeXMeX_H 09-14-2007 03:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orbit (Post 2891447)
Hi witz,
That's fine, but I have noticed other slackware users have been unable to compile these programs on Slackware. I have tried to get them to compile and have also been unsuccessful.

So, post what errors you are getting and maybe we can help get it compiled and working ... assuming it doesn't need anything obscure.

Also, I seriously doubt it will ever be included in any Slackware release ... Slackware is simply not like that. If you want a distro like that ... try one of the other 1,000 distros out there ...

Quote:

Originally Posted by orbit (Post 2891447)
Choices are a good thing :)

Indeed they are ... but in this case, this argument is not on your side. So many other distros have GUI-based auto-config systems ... and as you say you're hoping to make them all this way ... then we'll all have only one choice, only one way ...

witz 09-14-2007 03:49 AM

Ok ok..
I get your point. Well,I've installed and used those kde
networking tools you mentioned above with no problem,
just make yourself a slackbuild for the tool and build away.
Just make sure you aren't missing any libraries.That can be
a source of problems with some of those kde based tools.

I need to make a clean build environment and maybe sometime
I might make some slackbuilds for the programs you mentioned
for slackbuilds.org that way everyone can be happy when they
want those tools.;)

psychicist 09-14-2007 04:05 AM

I haven't been able to compile KNetworkmanager and couldn't find anything about how to solve this one but I have been able to build libnl and dhcdbd.

Could you tell me what your specific error is? I am trying to get this to work on x86, MIPS and SPARC so it would be nice to solve this in a generic way.

orbit 09-14-2007 06:21 AM

Hi H_TeXMeX_H,
Quote:

From H_TeXMeX_H: So many other distros have GUI-based auto-config systems ... and as you say you're hoping to make them all this way ... then we'll all have only one choice, only one way ...



Umm H_TeXMeX_H, I think you have seriously misread what I have said, I'm all about More options not less;

Quote:

From Orbit: My point is, it would be nice to get this Automatic, friendly modern option available for Slackware, so that if you didn't like to have to be always editing .conf files, you had the option of being able to automate your networking with this suite of programs.

With Regards to:
Quote:

From Orbit: Other Linux distributions offer these programs available as an additional package set, whilst even other Linux's distribute with (K)NetworkManager as the standard networking infrastructure.
So either way you look at it, (K)NetworkManager has points of merit when you consider that the other major distributions either use it as standard or definitely include it's availability for use.

I think it would be a huge improvement to Slackware if it were to jump on this development bandwagon and offer (K)NetworkManager's availability.
This program is developing very quickly across many different major distributions, so it is going to be very smooth, easy and powerful; definitely a worthy addition to any Linux OS.

Whether or not it were ever to be included in Slackware as standard would be purely up to Pat, and realistically it's a moot point, and not what I am talking about here.


So, in summation, I don't see any reason or drawback as to why
Slackware can't offer ease of use, automation, a pretty GUI and friendliness in it's Networking (wireless especially), as an Option for users to install.
Alternatively, If they don't want it, they can always choose to not install the additional set, and remain on the network commandline.

Slackware is stable, true, but surely it doesn't have to perpetually remain unfriendly to beginners? Why can't it have the option to evolve into something that will attract new users away from Windows and onto this wonderful Operating System?

I think the option should be there because Realistically; in this day and age, people want GUI and speed. I'm a Slackware enthusiast and I hate it's commandline networking procedure, so to the average user who is used to GUI windows; they are so busy at work that they don't have either the time or inclination in a business day to learn commandline syntax, and they are too busy/tired at night to care.
So we Slackers constantly lose our following to other Linux Distributions who Are realistic and forward thinking, or back to windows which is easy; long before we have demonstrated the power and benefits of Slackware, and this does no benefit/promotion to Slackware at all.

I hope this clarify's my vision for Slackware, and your understanding of what and why I am trying to develop here.

Cheers

Orbit

orbit 09-14-2007 06:32 AM

Hi psychicist,

I will post my procedure attempts and the resultant make error messages on Monday when I return to my work computer. Then we can start the ball rolling on getting this completed.

Have a good weekend :)

Cheers

Orbit

BCarey 09-14-2007 10:36 AM

Dropline Gnome includes NetworkManager (though I've not had any luck using it). You might check with them to see how they build it and what extra dependencies it has. (Or just install DLG.)

Also, if you are using wpa_supplicant which many of us need to use you shouldn't need to edit and re-edit your .confs. (It's with WPA networks that all the different gui tools I've used seem to fall flat.)

Brian

jong357 09-14-2007 01:04 PM

The release notes for gnome-2.20.0 state support for wpa in networkmanager.... Or maybe that was "Network control panel". Networkmanager is a gnome program so it's probably going to be looking for some gnome libraries at compile time. Not sure what Knetworkmanager depends upon...

And yea, I was going to suggest having a look at DLG as well. I personally wouldn't mind having the option to use it as well but I'm not sure I see it happening. It uses dhcpd or whatever and Slackware is setup to use dhcpcd in it's network scripts. I always assumed you would have to re-write rc.inet1 to use the other dhcp program.

Off hand, it seems like ALOT of work needs to be done to get it to run. I've never truely investigated tho, so I don't know. It does seem rather anti-slackware in general, so I've never bothered to add it to my gnome build.

psychicist 09-14-2007 09:14 PM

Hi Jong357,

I have been a Slackware user for years and I still use it exclusively, but after seeing KNetworkmanager in OpenSUSE and also Kubuntu I have to say it makes networking usable also to those who don't want to have to fiddle with the command line all the time. There are some rough edges too such as its inability to save passwords without repeatedly prompting for Kwallet but I think those things could be solved. Even I have never been able to get WPA encryption to work and I am pretty much a die-hard command line Slacker.

So after having started with SUSE, Mandrake, Red Hat and then the downwards spiral to Fedora, I landed on Slackware which was a total new world for me, where I had to learn pretty much everything from scratch instead of being safe in the comfort of GUI tools as in the other distributions. I figured that Slackware was stable, fast and flexible instead of crash-prone, slow and marred by RPM dependency hell. But I also thought it was very basic lacking many programs to be usable to an end user.

So I started building my own packages, at first totally wrong of course. Then I discovered that Slackware was built using SlackBuilds, so I started from scratch in the right way this time. I have accumulated over 800 of those over the last 2 years, and about 99% are my own creations and the others have some additions from Gentoo ebuilds and the like. Now most of my relatives run my Slackware derivative, but actually most of the software in it I have built myself, probably even more than what's included in Slackware. I have even ported it to MIPS and SPARC over the summer, and of course it already ran on x86.

So you can't accuse me of not doing my job in getting Slackware ready for normal people who are nowadays flocking to the likes of (K)Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS. Still those that have used my operating system prefer it to both SUSE, Ubuntu and Windows because of all of Slackware's strengths. But when I run into a laptop and try to configure wireless it's harder than on the more "user-friendly" distributions and I have to resort to the likes of Kubuntu because of things like KNetworkmanager. So we could either get packages for it ready or ignore the whole issue and lose them to the other distributions.

I know you have been busy building "vanilla" GNOME packages and I applaud you for that and many people must feel they are very useful to them. I have done the same for 2.6.18.3 but this was the first time I actually built GNOME packages since previously I had just grabbed Freerock GNOME and installed it, but this obviously doesn't work for MIPS and SPARC. I agree with you that third party packages should be kept outside of GNOME and be developed in the operating system itself instead of being distributed as a part of a GNOME repository. So this time around I have added all dependencies as part of the OS repository and GNOME is in a repository of itself, so it could be upgraded separately if desired.

Networkmanager is a dependency of some GNOME applets and since I try to maintain a very high level of quality and completeness I have also built packages for it and any dependencies it may have. I may not necessarily agree with the philosophy that is behind the user-friendliness of Networkmanager and the likes, but I wouldn't want to keep a user from using it either. So that's why I build and distribute it with my distribution.

Ultimately the customer/user *is* king and criticism is a good thing, since it leads to improvements that make each release better than the previous one. And I have to say even if I get negative criticism it only motivates me to produce better fixes to negate the current shortcomings. I have always had a very thick skin so hell will freeze over before I decide to quit developing the only distribution that I believe to be really world-class, comparable and in some respects even outclassing the likes of Solaris and the BSDs.

So could we please get over the "I don't want to do this because it's not true to the philosophy of Slackware" and just get the job done even though you may not use it itself. I am not telling you to betray the Slackware philosophy but just add the tools for those who want them. I love free software just as much as any other GNU fan, but I also like Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD and DragonFlyBSD and many others. I have seen maybe too many of all these but it has given me a perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of all of them and I think Slackware brings about the best of all of them.

Don't hesitate to criticise anything wrong I may have said here. It can only serve to broaden my views, but what's hopefully more important, it may lead to a technically better software experience that puts the "proprietary open source" the "enterprise" distributions put out for big bucks these days to shame.

I think this is enough food for thought for now. Nice weekend to everyone and orbit in particular :).

jong357 09-14-2007 10:45 PM

Whoa... I like Networkmanager, I'm just saying it requires more time and tweaking to get working properly than I care to put into it. ;)

I hate nothing more than walking into a coffee shop and using iwlist to find the network and then using a text editor to modify rc.wireless.conf and then restarting rc.inet1.conf. Pain in the butt.

But what I find more of a pain in the butt is to figure out networkmanager... That's all I was saying.

psychicist 09-15-2007 10:56 AM

It was a long day for me yesterday since I witnessed both the ease of and the difficulties with KNetworkmanager and at the time of writing it was 3 am in the morning where I live so maybe that added up to what I wanted to say. I may have confused posts by several people and ascribed them all to you, probably because you were the last person to have posted to this topic before I did :).

Anyhow, what I wanted to say is I have done almost all of this work, including building Networkmanager, the only thing I haven't managed to build is KNetworkmanager because of a build error. So you don't have to do much at all except for testing and improving the build scripts I have already created.

So hopefully that issue has been resolved and we can constructively try to get the last missing piece to build. I may be overly optimistic, obstinate or perseverant in my quest for an easy way to configure wireless, but you will have to live with that ;).

If you have a website or e-mail address I could send my scripts there unless you're really uninterested and couldn't be bothered with this whole graphical networking stuff, in which case I'll sort it out with orbit after this weekend.

jong357 09-15-2007 12:42 PM

Yea, I'm interested. I fiddled around with it some time ago but dhcbd and the python bindings kinda put me out. That and most of the work done to networkmanager seems redhat related. I forget what it was now. Some piece of the puzzle came from redhat upstream and there were redhat specific patches to apply in order to get everything working. Eh.... I forget. I do remember getting greatly annoyed by the whole thing... ;)

So yea.. tarball what you have. jgrosshart at gmail dot com. Stuff like this is best colaborated on... Unless you have a lot of patience..

dracolich 09-15-2007 04:36 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by orbit
other major distributions either use it as standard
Is it a standard or is it just popular among the gui-centric distros?

Quote:

Originally posted by orbit
I think it would be a huge improvement to Slackware if it were to jump on this development bandwagon...I don't see any reason or drawback as to why
Slackware can't offer ease of use, automation, a pretty GUI and friendliness
That would all go against the Slackware philosophy.

Quote:

Originally posted by H_TeXMeX_H
you're hoping to make them all this way ... then we'll all have only one choice, only one way ...
That sounds eerily like what I wanted to avoid by choosing Slackware. ;)

Quote:

Originally posted by jong357
I hate nothing more than walking into a coffee shop and using iwlist to find the network and then using a text editor to modify rc.wireless.conf and then restarting rc.inet1.conf. Pain in the butt.
Do what I do: after you;ve found the information with iwlist, leave rc.wireless.conf alone and make a script to configure the interface - a simple case cluster to tell it where you are and let the script run iwconfig, dhclient or ifconfig. When the script works it's not hard at all to open xterm and type something like "wlan home" or "wlan school".


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