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netconf: modern, bottom-up network configuration management

This presentation introduces netconf, a network configuration management
system designed with modern network infrastructures and the needs of roaming
users in mind. The talk outlines the motivation behind and design goals of
netconf, and provides an overview of its design. One of the goals of this talk
is to excite users of all distributions and help make netconf a cross-distro
project before its first official release.

On Linux systems nowadays, network configuration happens in one of two ways:
by way of a distro-specific solution, or using NetworkManager. Neither of
these two approaches are really suitable for today's requirements, which
include roaming laptops and wireless networks, VPNs, LinkLocal networks,
etc.

The distro-specific methods usually employ hooks to configure everything
beyond the simple IP interface, but the solutions are quite brittle in the
event of errors or exceptional situations. And while NetworkManager does
a splendid job with wireless networks, it suffers from a number of
limitations, such as the inability to store more than one static address
configuration. In addition, its GUI-centric approach often leaves advanced
users with a feeling of lack of control, and imposes unneccessary dependencies
for minimal systems.

netconf aims to address these problems. It is a daemon designed from the
bottom up with only minimal functionality. It uses an event-driven model and
well-defined, bidirectional interfaces, which make it possible to integrate
advanced functionality: link and location autodetection; configuration of
printers, smarthosts, proxies, etc. from DHCP data; LinkLocal addressing;
wireless LAN; VPN; firewalling; advanced routing and traffic control,
including bridging, various user interfaces (including the NetworkManager
GUI), and so on.

netconf was developed for Debian systems but its design makes it trivial for
other distributions (even using non-Linux kernels) to deploy it without the
need to adopt Debian's network configuration paradigms — in fact, the
compatibility with Debian's well-established ifupdown is implemented as an
extension to the netconf core. It is currently in alpha state and implemented
in Python, but with a the eventual porting to C in mind.

This presentation assumes experience with Linux network configuration
management. Previous exposure to complex network infrastructures would be
a bonus to the attendant as well as the speaker.

Project: netconf 


Martin Krafft

Martin F. Krafft (or "madduck", as he's commonly known) is a dedicated Debian developer, currently pursuing a Ph.D. on open-source method diffusion at the University of Limerick, Ireland. As a freelance consultant and trainer, he teaches network security and privacy protection to a professional audience. Martin came to Debian in 1997 and has since been helping with user support, public representation, security issues, quality assurance, integration tasks, as well as the maintenance of packages, such as mdadm, hibernate, and logcheck. He is the author of the book _The Debian System_ (http://debiansystem.info/). For his dissertation, he researches how new methods might be deployed in global volunteer projects to increase their efficiency (http://martin-krafft.net/phd/).

Martin Krafft

Martin F. Krafft (or "madduck", as he's commonly known) is a dedicated Debian developer, currently pursuing a Ph.D. on open-source method diffusion at the University of Limerick, Ireland. As a freelance consultant and trainer, he teaches network security and privacy protection to a professional audience. Martin came to Debian in 1997 and has since been helping with user support, public representation, security issues, quality assurance, integration tasks, as well as the maintenance of packages, such as mdadm, hibernate, and logcheck. He is the author of the book _The Debian System_ (http://debiansystem.info/). For his dissertation, he researches how new methods might be deployed in global volunteer projects to increase their efficiency (http://martin-krafft.net/phd/).

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