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A couple of years ago when I first began using Ubuntu I had issues with Network Manager and so I switched to wicd which works perfectly. (I forget the exact issues, but wicd solved the problems)

I am about to do a fresh install and curious as to whether I should continue with wicd? Or is Network Manager up to the job now?

Thanks.

Addendum I ask because a friend recently switched his laptop over to Ubuntu and had wireless troubles until switching over to wicd. My situation is with a desktop using wireless.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 13 down vote accepted

If you're having a problem with Network Manager it's likely a problem with the driver. Since it's been a few years then you're probably better off with sticking with the default unless you have a problem.

There are two ways to fix wireless problems in Linux. Fixing the driver or working around it.

As Dan Williams (who is one of the main developer's for network-manager) has chronicled in his blog, sometimes it takes a long time; there are many moving parts, the kernel, the applet, and talking to the manufacturer of the hardware (if they even care) and then getting all that shipped to users. This takes longer than working around the issue, but in the end is a more sustainable model and gets everyone better drivers in the end. Network Manager and WICD don't exactly have the same feature set yet. WICD tends to deal well with wireless and basic ethernet connectivity, but doesn't yet support VPNs, DSL, 3G/CDMA and many other features which are becoming more and more popular.

This isn't meant as a slight towards the WICD folks, it does help people get online and that's great, but fixing it all the way down the stack is a better overall for Linux. Bottom line is, you can choose whichever application you happen to prefer, but if NetworkManager works for you, sticking to the default is probably what will get you the best results in the long run, since you will be able to benefit from the other features if you end up needing them. Network Manager, as the default network tool in Ubuntu is also supported by the Ubuntu team.

The linux wireless project maintains a page of wireless cards and chipsets and what features they support, and is a good guide to supporting manufacturers that maintain good drivers.

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NetworkManager and WICD don't exactly have the same feature set yet. WICD tends to deal well with wireless and basic ethernet connectivity, but doesn't yet support VPNs, DSL, 3G/CDMA and many other features which are becoming more and more popular. That's without counting

As far as wireless support is concerned, WICD sometimes gives the user a chance to use their device because it deals with wireless differently than NetworkManager (although both use wpasupplicant). That said, wireless support in NetworkManager keeps getting better, is receiving a lot of attention from the upstream developers and kernel folks to fix driver issues.

Bottom line is, you can choose whichever application you happen to prefer, but if NetworkManager works for you, sticking to the default is probably what will get you the best results in the long run, since you will be able to benefit from the other features if you end up needing them. If not, at least try it and file bugs so that it ends up working for you and others with similar issues.

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Now, NetworkManager works well. I suggest it. nm-applet works fine also whith VPN and wi-fi networks. And it is supported by Canonical.

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I had to move away from network-manager to wicd a year ago. I decided to give network-manager another try on upgrade to 11.04, and so far so good. The specific issue I had that forced me to move has been resolved. But it all depends on your specific configuration.

The details into why I moved to wicd a year ago, for what it's worth:

Why I moved to WICD

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On my Lenovo S12 (Intel) laptop Network Manager did not work in either 11.04 or 11.10. There doesn't seem to be any interest in resolving this glitch. In 11.10 Unity it is not possible to get the Wicd icon to appear in the systray notification tray. These are showstoppers for this laptop with Ubuntu. –  keepitsimpleengineer Jan 16 '12 at 19:09
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