The Unhelpfulness of NetworkManager

At work the techs told me their new ASIX based USB-to-Ethernet adapter didn’t work.

They handed me the mini CD. I found the README and was stunned to find the document discussing compiling the asix driver.

Oh, wait, further into the document readers are instructed to use modprobe.

I searched the laptop for any files with the asix string. Yup there already was a kernel module. So much for meaningful documentation.

Upon connecting, the adapter was recognized immediately. The device was listed in lsusb and ifconfig showed a new eth1. Yet there was no IP address.

I had other issues to attend and returned to the dilemma the next day. After some time using my favorite four letter words, I discovered the problem.

NetworkManager refused to do a damned thing because the MAC address in the config files was for the old adapter. Not a single simple helpful message or dialog.

Stopping the NetworkManager service, ripping the old MAC address out of the config files, and starting NetworkManager resolved the problem.

Why the Hell is the MAC address a show stopper? Why is the MAC address needed? Why isn’t the network interface name sufficient?

This always has been my experience with NetworkManager. Everything usually works but when the tool breaks there are no helpful clues provided to the user.

I notice this article file name is numbered 666. How fitting.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General

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