Network Manager on Ubuntu Dapper

In preparation for the talk from Paul Sladen tomorrow, I have upgraded my laptop to Ubuntu Dapper. Dapper is still two weeks from release and Paul is interested in seeing laptops that have problems with suspend and hibernate. I had problems with hibernating on Breezy, but everything seems to work great under Dapper. So it doesn’t look like I’ll have to take my laptop along tomorrow after all!

One of the things I noticed after the upgrade was that wpa_supplicant wasn’t running and its init script had disappeared. A quick check of the updated README and it transpires that wpa_supplicant is now controlled by /etc/network/interfaces and doesn’t need to run as a daemon any more. The alternative method is to use GNOME’s Network Manager, which is designed to provide simple and intelligent wired and wireless network management. Network Manager runs as a background process, with a userspace GUI to control it.

I run WPA-PSK on my home network and configuring it was dead easy. I selected the appropriate WLAN from the drop-down list that appears when you click on the Notification Area icon. It worked out that it was a WPA-PSK network and asked for the passkey. I provided that and after a few seconds for the handshake to take place, I was connected. Very easy really!

The documentation for Network Manager is a bit thin on the ground though. The README discusses the concept of Trusted and Prefered wireless networks, although I’ve yet to work out where to configure networks as Trusted. Trusted networks are connected to whenever one is present, it seems. So your corporate or home network would be Trusted. Preferred networks are ones you configure Network Manager to connect to but don’t properly trust. Examples given are conference or hotel WLANs. Network Manager won’t connect to unknown WLANs. However, I can’t find anything in the documentation that covers how to designate a given WLAN as trusted or preferred. I’ve tried searching the project mailing list archives, but the archives have a very limited search feature and haven’t turned up anything useful. Can anyone enlighten me?

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    One Response to Network Manager on Ubuntu Dapper

    1. moogman says:

      I was searching for this too.

      Open a console window, and type gconf-editor

      Go to the key /system/networking/wireless/networks

      In my case, I wanted to remove some networks, so it wouldn’t auto-connect to them. I go into e.g. /system/networking/wireless/networks/NOTMYNETWORK and unset all of these values. gconf-editor seems a bit buggy, but if you close it and restart it, the parent folder should be deleted.

      Hope this helps 🙂