Testing Network Manager 0.9 and Plasma Network Manager Applet in Portage/Gentoo based Distributions

As many distributions are slowly starting to adopt Network Manager 0.9 in their recent releases, the new backward-incompatible version of one of the most popular network managers in the GNU/Linux community is still on testings in the Portage official tree. I was finding it hard to cope with the many bugs that were affecting the Plasma Network Manager applet in it’s previous version (designed for NM 0.8.1 while Portage has a stable NM 0.8.4) so I wanted to try out NM 0.9 in my Sabayon laptop.

After much research and with the help of Lamarque Vieira Souza, I found the location of the ebuilds needed to test out this new version of Network Manager in Portage based distributions. The main reason you want to do this all through ebuilds instead of downloading stuff and compiling it all by yourself is the fact that new Network Manger depends on a new version of the wpa_supplicant package configured to use the new D-Bus API, which in turn implies some other configuration settings you really don’t want to be playing around with. So these are the instructions:

  • Currently, the NetworkManager ebuild can be found in several overlays. As the scope of this post is to be able to test the Plasma NM applet, I’ll be focusing on the KDE overlay which includes some versions of the ebuild – in particular it includes the git ebuild which is the one recommended for testings. Gnome users may be interested in the Gnome overlay which has some stable versions of Network Manager and the NM Applet and the Gnome Live overlay which includes git versions as well. For the Network Manager and Plasma Network Manager ebuilds, you then need to add the KDE overlay
    layman -a kde
  • You then need to tell Portage you are going to admit the NM 0.9 packages in its testing versions. You do this by adding the following lines to your portage.keywords file (or add the following contents to a text file named nm09 and put it in a directory named portage.keywords inside /etc/portage):
    net-misc/networkmanager **
    kde-misc/knetworkmanager **
    net-wireless/wpa_supplicant ~x86

    Notice that we need a testing version of the wpa_supplicant ebuild. You should adjust the keyword to your architecture, for example if you use a 64bit OS you’d add the ~amd64 keyword.

  • The Network Manager live ebuild (that is, the one that pulls the git version) is hard-masked by default, so you also need to add the following line to your portage.unmask file (or add the following contents to a text file named nm09 and put in in a directory named portage.unmask inside /etc/portage):
    =net-misc/networkmanager-9999
  • The knetworkmanager ebuild then needs to be set up with the a USE flag to specify that you want to use the NM 0.9 branch of the applet. You do this by adding the following line to your package.use file (or adding the following contents to a text file named knetworkmanager and putting it in a directory named package.use inside /etc/portage):
    kde-misc/knetworkmanager nm09

After these configurations are all in place, all you need to do is

emerge knetworkmanager

For Sabayon Users

Recently, Gnome 3 packages, including NetworkManager 0.9, entered testings in the Limbo Repository. The NM 0.9 version of the Plasma Network Manager widget is also available in limbo. This repository is not intended to be used by regular users, but if you are willing to take your chances, you can add Limbo to your repositoriers following the instructions here and then install NetworkManager by issuing

equo install knetworkmanager

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