Last post about Network Manager for a little while, I swear…
The current state of Network Manager doesn’t allow you to easily manage the wireless access points that you connect to and how it connects to them. NM also doesn’t allow you to easily stop it from auto-switching from wireless to wired networks when you connect a wired cable. We explicitly avoided a “manager” style interface for the smother and simpler auto connection interactions we currently have. However we haven’t been allowing people to control NM in certain normal cases where the auto connection system breaks.
The use case we’re failing at right now in regards to managing your wireless networks is what I like to call Window Shopping or “Just looking”. At a conference or a coffee shop it’s very normal to attempt to connect to a number of networks, often to see if they are working and fast or free! After connecting, or not connecting, to these networks it doesn’t take long to realize that you’ve connected to something that isn’t going to work. However Network Manager doesn’t have the same realization as you, it remembers that network and will try to connect to it again next time if there isn’t a MRU network in range.
Since this case presents mostly an “inline” mistake to the way NM is choosing networks it seems to make the most sense to employ an inline interaction to handle those mistakes. Inline, in this sense, meaning that you don’t want to require people to manage the networks outside of when NM makes a mistake and chooses the wrong one; like only having a right click menu to open the network preferences dialog. Here’s some mockups to explain more.
Most people will see this when they connect to a wired network.
People who turned off auto-wired connecting would see this notification.
People who turned off auto-connect on a particular wireless, like rh-wireless, would see this notification.
Most people would see this notification as they auto connect to their particular wireless network. The buttons look really bad! Please leave comments for ideas on better ways to handle this.
Update: Just to note that the default behavior of Network Manager isn’t changing with these notifications, it is still going to behave in the same automatic way. However the new notifications add support for changing it’s automatic behavior.
This is supposed to open up a network preferences dialog. Most likely one tab for wired and one tab for wireless, the wireless tab allowing you to edit networks you use and possibly properties of the wireless behavior. Dan asked for a wired tab, I’m not sure what the properties will be on that dialog… they are likely to be scary enough to make me puke.
Don’t auto-connect again / Always auto-connect
So this isn’t a great way to phrase things. There are two scenarios, you’ve auto-connected to a wireless network you connected to once but didn’t mean to OR you’ve connected to a wireless network manually that you told NM never to auto-connect to. Essentially what I wanted to say for scenario one was: “Don’t automatically connect to this network again” – but that’s a large button. And for scenario two I wanted to say: “Despite how I changed this wireless to manual mode I want you to always auto-connect to it from now on”.
I should mention the wired is a slightly different case from the wireless. It’s more like saying, “Don’t auto-switch me to wired from wireless when I connect the cable”.