Network Manager in Arch Linux

A while back, I did an Arch install in Virtual Box. The install went pretty smooth and specifically, the wired network connection worked out of the box. Great, no having to screw around or waste a bunch of time, it just auto connects on boot up and did what it should. Quote from Arch Wiki: “A DHCP service is already enabled for all available devices“.  Over time, I ended up installing a couple different DE’s / WM’s to check the current state of some alternatives to xfce. Down the road another month or so, I decided I should install network manager. I’ve installed it several times in Arch over the years without issue via referencing the Arch wiki.

This time the difference being systemd. Shouldn’t be a problem I thought. I was sure the wiki would be updated to reflect the changes brought about by the switch to systemd. Well, unfortunately, I found this to not be the case this time. I found myself trying to follow the wiki, but it seemed, the wiki  was steering me in different directions, giving up just enough info in bits and pieces for me to realize I’d have to go off and search or study other subject. The Arch wiki on networkmanager turned out to be quite incomplete and not straight forward compared to other subjects I’ve used in the wiki.

I just wanted to install network manager. I didn’t want to combine it with educating myself on all the details and inner workings of systemd and systemctl, along with all the related commands, systemd terminology,  how to set up or disable service files or whatever, etc, etc.

After struggling for an afternoon to get network manager and my network connection functional, I thought to myself, somethings missing in the wiki, but what? Although not entirely clear to me at the time, why, a last ditch effort to get NM working was to switch the default installed dhcp program to a different one from the regular repos. Viola! Although this got  it working, I came to later learn that it was a workaround solution at best.

If the wiki had included the relevant missing material, something along these lines:

The Section Below Is Shown As An Example And Does Not Contain Proper Commands

1) use systemctl to show a list that may contain the names of services that will conflict and keep network manager from working. here is the command to show the list              #systemctl aaa bbb ccc

2) this is a list of the above mentioned conflicting services:      dddd, eeee, ffff, etc

3) when a conflicting service is found, here are example systemsctl commands to fix things:     # systemctl 111 222 333     # systemctl 444 555 666

End Of Example Section

Something as clear as this was deemed wiki clutter by Arch. The user is evidentially expected to navigate to the systemd wiki section or man pages, then learn the proper systemctl commands to be implement in this use case. As for the list of conflicting services, again, one was expected to gather that important info from some other source!

I believe this is unacceptable! A good source of info such as a wiki for an OS needs to contain detailed, condensed, and  complete information.  I tried to bring this to the attention on the appropriate wiki section, but was shut down. This motivated me to, among other things, to put the appropriate info for my use case below. A more common situation would have found dhcpcd, which will also stop network manager from working.

I was told I should have remembered and was in fact expected to remember upon installing Arch, any network services enabled in systemd! I guess my memory isn’t as sharp as required as I had actually forgotten this insignificant detail from the months between the Arch install and the later installation of networkmanager, MY BAD!



To get network manager running on a systemd Arch xfce install

First, install the following packages:

$ sudo pacman -S networkmanager network-manager-applet xfce4-notifyd

Next, using systemctl, check for any other network related services running:

# systemctl --type=service

You must stop and disable any network services listed so as to not to conflict with networkmanager. For example, my system had “net-auto-wired.service” listed.

I issued the following commands to stop and disable it. You’ll need to modify these according to what you find on your system.

# systemctl disable net-auto-wired.service
# systemctl stop net-auto-wired.service

Now lets enable and start network manager:

# systemctl enable NetworkManager
# systemctl start NetworkManager

This info would be in the networkmanager section of the Arch wiki if Scimmia and Lahwaacz would stop preventing it from being there.




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8 Responses to Network Manager in Arch Linux

  1. Sebastian K. says:

    Hi Jeff!

    tanks alot for sharing this piece of info! Arch is my first attempt of leaving the xUbuntu-Universe and so far I’m quite impressed. Even of the wiki. But just as you, I’ve experienced some incompleteness which is – I guess – the flip side of a rolling release: the wiki has to be changed quickly.
    Anyway, I took the (german) road down with the well written Begginers Guide, installed Arch on my USB Stick with a minimal KDE on top and came now to the NetworkManager, since I wanted to test it on a laptop. Surprisingly the network (in VM) worked withouth the NetworkManager and I lost connection when I enabled the NetworkManager. In my case disabling the dhcpcd.service worked for me! Now I’m curious if this thing works plugged in my laptop :)

    best regards

  2. Hugo Rabson says:

    Well put! There is too much groupthink, too much elitism, and too much swanning about by the self-perceived intellectual jeunesse dorée. It’s the kind of narcissism-masquerading-as-activism that pollutes far too many legitimate ideals and projects in software and in life.

  3. Aaron Caffrey says:

    Yesterday did archlinux installation tutorial for my youtube channel and faced the same issue, the dhcpcd was in conflict with the NM. It took me few seconds to solve it, listed everything in my head what have I done “wrong” and the only thing that could be was the dhcpd service that I’ve enabled. This is kinda having 2 routers with “dhcp” enabled and trying to figure out why they are not letting you to connect to the internet. Luckly I manage a lot of servers and most common issues are really easy for me. I was active member in the archlinux forum, but as you saw there’s too much people that are seeking others to go in a flame war and show how “smart” they are. I don’t get what’s wrong with the developers age, I am 22 y.o python enthusiast and have developed many programs – the most famous one is the Yoimnotpro. On the other hand, the overall contributions have decreased to the kernel and the devs (including Linus) are getting older.

  4. Jeff says:

    Hey Aaron, thanks for the comment. Your point on the age issue was well taken and a good point. I had in mind a bunch of 14 -16 year old kids when I wrote that.

    In reality though, the whole issue of standing up for whats right and not falling into the groupthink mentality is not age related at all. I have seen this behavior working at various places, amoung people of various ages, including my age (51) as well. I have removed the mention of age relating to this in the article.

  5. Thanks! I was stuck trying to get the new NM working in Arch KDE until I read this post! I really agree that this should be put into the Arch Beginner’s Guide!

  6. Jeff says:

    Yes I tried unsuccessfully to have it added to the wiki. The resistance of this addition and similar unreasonable / stubborn behavior is what motivated me to offer the people an option with the introduction of the Evolution Linux Project.

  7. Ben says:

    Terrific post! I just wish I had read this earlier as it would have saved me a lot of time and frustration getting wifi going.

  8. Steve says:

    Namaste’ – Hi Jeff,

    Moments ago, I read the thread on Arch forums where you described your attempt to edit the wiki. It’s ashamed that those who are familiar with Arch as so dismissive of others who may or may not be as well versed in GNU/Linux as [they] are; not that you fit into that category!.!.!. I don’t mean to downplay the sheer genius of some of the articles on the Arch Wiki. Some of them are brilliantly written. The article on backing up with RSYNC, IMO, is one such gem. Much like the networkmanager article though, the ‘beginners’ guide’ is a convoluted mess. To many potatoes and not nearly enough meat! Frankly, it’s as if [they’re] trying to discourage new arch users.

    So, what I’ve done is trawl the web, looking for the meat. I’ve taken bits and pieces along the way; some from your write up (this write up included), some from video demos and some from other articles.

    Anyway, I appreciate your contributions. Good luck in all your endeavors…

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