Connman, the network-manager alternative …is unable to connect right!

Most of you have heard about Connman. For those who haven’t, Connman, is a network-manager alternative for Linux OS . This connection manager is being development by Intel, primarily for MeeGo. It looks rather neat when compared to the current network-manger which ships with Ubuntu or any Linux distro.

I installed Connman on my Natty  (updated as on 22nd April) partition to take it for a quick spin.  The installation was pretty straight forward. Add the ppa for the latest builds , update and install.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:indicator-network-developers/daily-ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install connman indicator-network

Mind you, for Natty, you need to install one specific, indicator-network package to make it available in the indicator applets area. Otherwise, it may not show up!  Anyway, after installing the two packages, you may need to restart the system to have Connman perform smoothly in your environment. I had issues while connecting to my wireless network after I logged out and logged back in. Restarting the system helped.

Connecting to wired network was a cakewalk. Ethernet connection was as easy as connecting the wire to the ethernet port. Wireless networks connection was not as straightforward. Initially I had issues connecting to my network. Connman failed to connect to my network even after typing in the password. This continued to happen after I restarted my computer the next morning. After multiple tries the connection was successful. The GUI is not very responsive and also shows wrong information. You can have a quick look at the following screenshot in which you can see the wrong info from sent out from Connman.

Wrong information from Connman

The biggest drawback which I found with Connman was its inability to connect to VPN networks through the GUI. I failed to find any symbol or link which would lead me to a vpn connection setup guide. One might argue what we can use the cli, vpnc or pptp or Shrew Soft vpn connection manager, but,when we have network manager doing everything from one interface with just a few clicks of the mouse, why bother installing extra software? Plus it does real injustice to the beautiful interface by not adding a VPN connect GUI.Shrew Soft fails miserably to get a working vpn with Connman but thats a different story. However, I was able to connect to cisco vpns using vpnc from the terminal.

Connman is still under active and heavy development, so VPN connection GUI may find its way in the future releases. However, at this moment, when it comes to performance and features it falls short of anything respectable. The wireless connection is intermittent and no presence of  a GUI for VPN connection  !

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