ScottJamesRemnant: obviously some packages are going to be affected


  • Due to various reasons (mainly support for ALL the features either in the Kernel or drivers) we are limited in what we can do
  • NetworkManager is still the best Wireless Client

  • There are no glaring annoyances we have to fix now. Let us wait for NM0.7 and integrate it
  • Use the forums to see if there are any glaring annoyances in the wireless, and if so fix it now; otherwise offer improvement ideas to the NetworkManager folks. If we find anything that needs urgent attention, we will implement it and fold it back to the NetworkManager.


Wireless is one of those features that normal users use everyday. It is also one of the most difficult ones in terms of UI, capturing information, capability of the underlying hardware and drivers. ScottJamesRemnant: not to mention the utter lack of wireless support in the kernel

Use cases

  • Anne is at a conference, she wants to use the open wireless network available there

ScottJamesRemnant: explain how this use case is not fulfilled in Ubuntu currently (we have wireless configuration in two places in the UI)

  • Michael works at an IT corporation, he wants to be able to use the RADIUS secured network
  • Harry is at a cafe, he wants to check for wireless networks he's able to connect to to send an e-mail

ScottJamesRemnant: this is already available in Ubuntu through NetworkManager

  • Peter roams around a lot, he has 5 different locations where he regularly want to use the diversely configured wireless networks

ScottJamesRemnant: NetworkManager is already in Ubuntu, how does this use case extend that to require work?

  • Kim comes home, plugs in her laptop and would like to use the wired connection

ScottJamesRemnant: and again, NetworkManager is in Ubuntu

  • Sam lives in flats, there are several access points in range and sam's router is not always the strongest signal. A method to mark access points as favourites would let sams laptop pick the right network. It could also remeber the MAC address of router to reduce risk of spoofing.
  • Dave visits two university campuses and runs a proxy at home as well as visiting other open non proxy'd hotspots, he has top continually switch proxy servers in his IM client, Firefox or export the HTTP_PROXY varib to use wget etc. At the moment he has tpo go into each application seperatly and change proxy settings per network, could a profile system cover it all


NetworkManager has come a long way. They are working on NM0.7 with more refined feature set. So our primary work will be to offer improvement ideas. If we find anything that needs urgent attention, we will implement it and fold it back to the NetworkManager ScottJamesRemnant: so this spec is "update NM when the new version comes out?"


These are some ideas to work on at a later time, as needed. For now, we we follow the NetworkManager

  • Abstract best practice wireless interface that users have liked in other OSs
    • We need to understand what we need to improve. List in this spec things that are excellent in other OSs, compared to the wireless panels in NetworkManager

  • Go thru the Network wireless panels and identify what fields are required in each context
    • One annoyance is that the panels display fields that are not relevant in the context. Add the details here. NetworkManager To Do has one item to consolidate UI options

  • Add helpful tooltips and help messages for each field
  • Collect wireless annoyances from forums, user groups et al and document them. We can either fix them or suggest changes to the NetworkManager folks

Note : KDE lacks NetworkManager because of lack of support for dBUS, which will be available in KDE 4.0. (From Fedora wiki)

ScottJamesRemnant: specs with TODO list are not suitable for review/approval ... please continue drafting and have additional discussion sessions



<As Required>

KrishnaSankar and SorenHansen

Data preservation and migration

Outstanding issues

BoF agenda and discussion

  • Wireless usability from usability studies
  • Collect wireless gripes
  • What is good about MAC wireless ?
  • UI Expert to mock up interface
  • Feature set
  • Dev approach
  • Interface points with other projects
  • What do we need immediately ?
  • What are nice to have ?

Discussion Notes (June 19, 16.00)

  • The capability really comes from the hardware/drivers. But this should be recognized displayed - for example "The network card/driver does not support the function xxxxxx"
  • We have all the features in the network manager. They need a little tweaking. (MattZ also mentioned the same in the blackboard discussion)
    • Context driven fields - For example the WPA screen has all the fields, but actually only a few are applicable to that particular context
    • System-wide credentials for Network manager
    • None of the panels contain tool tips or help messages

POA (Plan of Action)

  • We could redesign the Wireless GUI
  • Ellen will contribute to design a usable UI
  • The team to abstract best practice wireless interface that users have liked in other OSs
  • The team to get feedback on time stamped vs. priority based scheme
  • The team will go thru the Network wireless panels and identify what fields are required in each context
  • Add very helpful tooltips and help messages for each field
  • Wireless Annoyances web page ? Also get wireless annoyances from Ubuntu forums -> http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=1162294 (UbuntuDemon)

    • Need to find out what tasks are difficult and why
  • The network manager team is already looking into many things.
    • Sync with them
    • We will fold back any work we do for the wireless interface to them
  • 2.6.17 Kernel has improved Wireless Support - http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS3690656353.html

    • But looks like it will disappear in 2.6.18

Questions after the Summit discussion [June 20,2006 4:00 AM]

  • Ubuntu needs easy and reliable (wireless) network configuration. The NetworkManager fits the bill and does not look like we need a new UI immediately. It is not as if something is drastically wrong with the wireless.

  • In the beginning I thought we could have a readically simple, yet effective and task oriented GUI titled "My Wireless Neighbourhood" or something like that, independent of the Networkmanager. But after the summit discussions and a little deliberation (It is 4:00 AM and I couldn't sleep, still in PST ;o( Couldn't stop thinking how we should proceed) looks like some tweaking of the wireless interfaces of the network manager is all we need.

  • So where does it leave us ? Should we aim for a work item on the Network Manager as a whole than just wireless? (I think this is what Matt has in mind, probably)
  • Should we wait for the network manager than going on our own on ? Their mailing list is hosed, only the last 4 days are visible now. So I couldn't trace any discussions)
  • But the To Do has some relevant plans for their NM0.7 http://live.gnome.org/NetworkManagerToDo

    • Some plans we are interested include wpa supplicant dbus interface (faster and more capable), more wireless auth methods and consolidating UI options.
  • In short may I propose a two folded recommendation ?
    • First use the forums to see if there are any glaring annoyances in the wireless we can fix now. I think the experience is key - possibly tooltips will help more than anything else
    • Second, let us wait for NM0.7. We need to integrate it anyway - may be that is the workitem.
  • Thoughts ?

ScottJamesRemnant: this stuff all needs to go in the real spec


WirelessClient (last edited 2008-08-06 16:40:06 by localhost)