General networking stack enhancements

Registered by Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre on 2010-10-12

How can we improve the general networking / getting online experience we give users in Natty?

We should select whether to still use dhcp3 as default or move on to isc-dhcp 4, discuss upgrade to wpasupplicant 0.7, NetworkManager / ConnMan versions, etc.

Blueprint information

Martin Pitt
Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre
Needs approval
Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre
Series goal:
Accepted for natty
Milestone target:
milestone icon ubuntu-11.04-beta-1
Started by
Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre on 2010-11-29
Completed by
Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre on 2011-03-04

Related branches



mathieu-tl: Gobby notes from the session:

= Goal =
defining the requirements to give the best network experience to users in natty.

= Aspects =

 * kernel drivers (e.g. broadcom)
  * more work required
  * the new opensource driver is currently poor quality and requires many man months of effort, this is not likely to be done within the project for natty

 * network device naming
  * primarily on server people are interested in naming being stable
  * people prefer to have fixed names in some cases
  * udev already supplies stable names for them, but they are not necessarily sane ordering
  * can we use the BIOS naming at all?
  * changing the rules is problematic as preseeds may rely on the current rules
  * we could use a new preseed option to select any new naming

 * DHCP (v4?)
  * we need this to handle IPv6, should pull this in

 * ifupdown
  * doesn't seem to be an updated version

 * wpasupplicant (0.7 ?)
  * kvalo & cyphermox

 * IPv6
  * much of this should already be working
  * testing: will need coordinated testing across many different network environments

 * network manager (0.9 ?)
  * this sounds like it is something we do need
  * likely to switch if it is of sufficient quality in time, but this is likely to hit in a few weeks
  * likely to move to system connections by default, but with ACLs
  * user switch leaves a VPN open for all other user sessions, currently no plan to resolve this, primary focus is preventing exposure of the passwords etc not the connection itself

 * indicator for UI (session Thu 5pm)
  * need indicator support in network manager
  * there is support added to network manager to make adding this kind of bells and whistles easier

 * applications attempt to use the hostname to find IP address, this not so clear if the name points to 127.x
 * use of clock for dhcp leases might be problematic (block skew is not handled which can lead to use of expired allocations)

Work items (natty-alpha-3):
[cjwatson] integrate biosdevname ( for stable network device naming in installer: DONE

Work Items:
[cjwatson] sync DHCP v4 from debian, merging Ubuntu-specific changes: DONE
[mathieu-tl] get wpasupplicant 0.7 from debian SVN ready + upload: DONE
[mathieu-tl] enable test runs for network manager during build: DONE
[mathieu-tl] indicator support for network manager: DROPPED
[mathieu-tl] provide a udeb package for wpasupplicant: POSTPONED
[mathieu-tl] add wpasupplicant support for debian-installer: POSTPONED
[mathieu-tl] blog how to help with NM upstream -- writing test cases (for code), other low-hanging fruit: DONE
[mathieu-tl] document setting up a DHCP v6 server: DONE
[mathieu-tl] document configuring a DHCP v6 client: DONE

pitti, 2010-11-04:
 - please add WI to merge our dhcp3 Ubuntu changes to isc-dhcp (like AppArmor profile, etc.)
 - stable interface names was discussed at plumbers, will be done upstream in udev (Matt Domsch/Kay Sievers/Martin Pitt)
 - "wpa-supplicant support for the installer" -> what does that mean? We already run nm-applet in the live session for wlan connection?

mathieu-tl, 2010-11-08:
 - for merging dhcp3 changes into isc-dhcp, it was "included" in the first sync WI, but adjusted -- it's practically done
 - from what I recall, wpa-supplicant support was rather more for d-i, so splitting into further WIs. Otherwise I agree NM pretty much takes care of it, although it could be a little better integrated into ubiquity rather than expecting users to notice a tiny icon at the top of their screen.

ion, 2010-11-19:
Could Teredo be considered? For instance, Windows™ uses an implementation of Teredo by default, resulting in IPv6 connectivity even behind IPv4-only NATs. Miredo seems to be a fire-and-forget-type implementation, one only needs to install the package and it Just Works™.

mathieu-tl, 2011-01-12:
 - indicator support for network manager work item marked dropped because it's already completed and covered in another blueprint: packageselection-desktop-n-nm-indicator
 - added workitems for dhcpv6 documentation

mathieu-tl, 2011-01-28:
 - for Teredo / miredo, we already have miredo in the archive as a universe package, it indeed seems to work fine, and there are alternative ways to enable IPv6 tunnels readily available (and pretty well documented), so I think it's fair to say it's good as it is.
 - WPA support in d-i set to POSTPONE due to issues during testing (I lack necessary hardware), and the fact that Debian is already very active in getting this support in (see;a=shortlog;h=refs/heads/people/womble/wpa for example). We should still be able to get support in through syncs or updates to netcfg/wpasupplicant.

mathieu-tl, 2011-02-15:
 - for DHCP v6 client/server doc. This will need update later when the way to properly handle dual-stack dhcp will be ascertained (pending on Debian).


Work Items