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Date:      Fri, 22 Jul 2011 06:58:26 -0600
From:      Chad Perrin <>
To:        FreeBSD <>
Subject:   Re: Lennart Poettering: BSD Isn't Relevant Anymore
Message-ID:  <20110722125826.GA73065@guilt.hydra>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <> <> <> <> <> <20110718162245.0d426239@scorpio> <20110719032131.GA29635@guilt.hydra> <20110719085529.1671ec7f@scorpio> <>

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On Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 10:56:42AM +0200, Polytropon wrote:
> Want it like this? :-)   --->

That's exactly what I don't want.  That is (an exaggeration of) what
NetworkManager is trying to do and, predictably, it fails sometimes, just
as MS Windows' automated network configuration stuff fails sometimes.  By
"fails" I don't mean something like "it won't connect if there isn't a
network".  I mean that its primary purpose is to try to guess what the
user wants based on the developers' mental model of what users want, then
tries to make it happen -- and, too often, the developers' mental model
of what users want does not match up with the reality.  Users, and their
circumstances, are not always the same.

In fact, these damned automated wireless management tools are so focused
on trying to provide what the developers expect people to do that they
often interfere with one's ability to tell them "No, I don't want you to
do that, do something else."  Work-arounds for some cases do exist, but
they are often ludicrously wrong in principle (like blacklisting a
particular network) so that they create too much fiddly overhead in
practice, or inconsistently effective, or otherwise problematic.

Automation is great when it takes a back seat to serving the individual's
needs/desires, allowing itself to be overridden in simple, obvious ways.
When it does not, it sucks.  To do the former, all the developers of
automated network management tools on Linux-based systems had to do is
ensure there was a manually configured, manually operated command line
toolset for network management and build automation around that.
Instead, these idiots built automated toolsets from the ground up, then
tried to add manual override capabilities into these toolsets after the
fact as exceptions to the rule.  In short, they followed the MS Windows
approach, and what they ended up with was tools that not only emulate the
"pick a network, any network" default behavior of MS Windows network
management, but also emulate its apparently non-deterministic behavior,
doing different things at different times for the same evident inputs,
and fighting the user's actual needs and desires at times.

In fact, the NetworkManager set of network management tools has in some
ways outdone the stupidities of MS Windows network management.  "Hey,
this is stupid, but it's not stupid enough.  We can do 'better'."

This is the kind of crap I do *not* want to see make its way into FreeBSD
from the Linux world, and it's why I said I'm okay with tools like
NetworkManager being released under restrictive licensing that makes it
less likely to be harvested for ideas by OS projects like FreeBSD.  The
day some asinine automated network selection line of crap like
NetworkManager makes its way into the FreeBSD base system is probably the
day I stop using it.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: ]

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