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On network management and documenting nmcli

From: Pierre Neidhardt
Subject: On network management and documenting nmcli
Date: Fri, 11 May 2018 12:02:49 +0200
User-agent: mu4e 1.0; emacs 26.1

During my first encounter with GuixSD, I could not connect to the
Internet for reasons that puzzled me, and I could not find any mention
of it in the manual either.

At first I assumed I had done something wrong with the setup.

I had tried to run wpa_supplicant manually, like I often do on other
distributions.  It's only later that I understood why wpa_supplicant
failed: it was because it was already running! (It's stupid but
wpa_supplicant's error messages are extremely misleading.)

The manual is extremely scarse about network configuration.  Sure
enough, if nm-applet is running it's rather straightforward.  But for a
desktop-environment-less setup and during the install, the default tool
is nmcli only (unless another manager is used, but then the user
probably knows what they are doing).

I don't think any of this is mentioned at all in the manual: I believe
something so essential should be very explicitly documented.

I suggest we add some examples to the Installation info page, for instance:

> nmcli device wifi
> sudo nmcli d w connect "foo SSID" password "foo password"

Mention that tab-completion can be use to complete SSIDs, which is
useful in the event they contain special or invisible characters
(trailing spaces are common).

We should also hint at the (7)nmcli-examples man page.

Unrelated question: why do I need to "sudo" to add a connection?
If I recall correctly, nm-applet does not ask for extra privileges
(could be wrong though).


Pierre Neidhardt

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