KDE NetworkManagement Sprint Day One

I pried my eyes open at 0430 and stumbled to the airport. This all started about a month ago when we had the idea of having a developer sprint to get Network Management into shape in time for KDE 4.3's release. Now I'm sitting in a meeting room in Oslo listening to the progress report of 3 Norwegian students Peder, Sveinung and Anders who are investigating ways to make setting up mobile broadband connections easier. Thanks to the KDE eV's sponsorship, six of us are meeting this weekend. TODOs include cleaning up UI glitches, fixing some exotic VPN types and auth types and deciding how to abstract different backends like wicd and ConnMan.

If you want to help out or just rubberneck, we're in #solid.


That is good to hear that you are working on this:
At the moment my main issues with Network Management in KDE (KDE 4.3 Beta 1 packages from Kubuntu) are:
I have two mobile devices, both of them seem to be recognised by KDE in some way, but none of them shows up in the new network management applet. It works using the gnome one.
The other thing is, I would like to use openvpn with http://www.hotsplots.de/ a free vpn service. They provide config files, which just have to be copied to the openvpn directory. I works, but not with the KDE network management.
Minor issues are:
- if you delete a setting from Network management this does not always work
- there is no way to suspend the network as a whole thing.
- there is no way to priorise connections
- It should be easier to bind a connection to a mac-address of the device I am just connected.
- Current layout is wasting a lot of space on the screen

Wishes for Network Management are:
- It would be cool if the Network Management could make use of the mobile network provider database
- Also it would be very useful if Network Management could provide the possibility to manage the login into Hotspots which require a weblogin like fon.com or t-mobile, may be even be able to detect them and offer login.
- Management of Tor through network management
- VPN/Tor should be possible to be bound to a specific connection and to all connection which match a certain criteria (like all non encrypted wireless connections)
- the same could apply to proxy settings, to have something like foxyproxy for Firefox and have proxy settings depend on either which network you use and/or which webpages you visit.

Thats a lot I know. Most of it already filed as a wish. About the debugging of above bugs, I could be in the #solid channel in the evening and provide logs, debug-messages and test patches.

By markw at Sat, 06/06/2009 - 10:15

I'll answer your comments one by one:
* missing mobile devices
See userbase.kde.org/NetworkManagement for some debugging tips, especially the NetworkManager logs and the debug output when starting the applet (plasmoidviewer networkmanagement) as well as the output of solid-network listdevices and a list of what network devices you think are on the system.
* hotsplots openvpn config files
NM's openvpn plugin requires that the openvpn settings are stored by the applet; they cannot be read directly from openvpn config files. It would be possible to write an importer for these files - this is already planned for Cisco .pcf files
* deleting settings is unreliable
we're overhauling the layer responsible for showing settings in the applet
* no suspend all networking
we didn't find a nice way to get this into the popup - PLucAuclair and others are helping us brainstorm UIs.
* connection priority and sorting
open question...
* binding a connection to a single device is hard
known issue, it should be easy to give a KComboBox that allows selection of devices as seen by solid OR the manual entry of a different MAC, we just need more time
* heavy layout
known issue, we want to have a richer interface than a QPopupMenu allows but we are aware that it needs to still be popup sized. "Fit in 840x600" is in the TODO

* Wish: use mobile broadband config interface
3 students from Bergen University are writing a Qt interface around this right next to me now.
* Wish: do http captive login on hotspots
Would be very nice to have but not right now
* Wish: relate VPN to specific actual connections
High priority new feature for me
* Wish: manage Tor
IMO it's out of scope but I'm not a Tor user. Perhaps later we can add some session based post/pre connect/disconnect hooks and start/stop Tor scripts using those. Or perhaps NM could learn about Tor and start it as another type of VPN connection. Does using Tor usually need root rights?
* Wish: handle proxy settings
Proxies should IMO be part of NM. Connman is said to be considering adding this. Until this becomes handled properly by the lower layers, we could certainly update KDE proxy settings and possibly call 'foxyproxy' using the hooks mentioned earlier.

You're welcome to join us in #solid!

By Will Stephenson at Sat, 06/06/2009 - 11:49

Thanks for your long reply. Sounds very good. I answer while waiting for your answers in #solid.
About Tor, I do not know about its right. The reason ist, that I actually never got it running, even with tork. That's also the reason why I wish it would be more integrated in KDE. I think it is something very useful, if it can be actually easily used. Treating it as another type of vpn-connection could make sense.
The import of vpn-configfiles is something I believe is very important to make it more usable. May be as a temporary solution you could add an option to the gui to pass through settings to openvpn which are not supported by the gui. Or more specific: The support of hotsplots told me the networkmanagement does not support "fragment" and "mssfix" in the config.
About: "Wish: do http captive login on hotspots" -> I guess it would be easier if a freely acessible database for this existed. There are quite a few tools which already manage this for mobile phones. But the data seems to be created by users. So may be it could be a start to provide an option for creating "login in recipies". Users or providers themselves could then upload/download them via knewstuff. Another option would be may be to find sponsoring. The Fon.com-founder seems to be quite a fan of Linux. May be fon could support the creating of such an addition to network management and fon would be the first to profit from.
The rest sounds very exiting. I am looking forward to test and use it!

And here the bug-report as requested: http://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=195509

By markw at Sat, 06/06/2009 - 23:11