- From: Bryan McLellan <
- Subject: [chef] Re: Ohai 0.6.12.rc.1 released
- Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 12:20:47 -0500
On Thu, Feb 9, 2012 at 1:12 PM, Bryan McLellan
> There is also fixed support for Scientific Linux, added support for
> Oracle, and an important iproute2 fix for Arch users.
Caleb Tennis reminded me on twitter this morning that the iproute2
change  actually switches to use the 'ip' command over the
'ifconfig' command to gather network information for all Linux
distributions, not just Arch.a
The net-tools package, which includes ifconfig, has apparently been
abandoned as no release has been made since version 1.60 on April 15,
2001 . Last year Arch Linux, known as a leading edge Linux
distribution, decided to deprecate net-tools  and begin the switch
to using iproute2. It appears that Arch no longer includes net-tools
and ifconfig in a default install now.
Trying to research this history of this is surprisingly difficult. On
the surface most people are claiming it is deprecated because
wikipedia says so  but wikipedia uses the deprecation by Arch Linux
 as its source, hardly enough to support the project itself being
deprecated. Bernd Eckenfels is the last known net-tools maintainer,
but his personal website doesn't mention it any longer. It appears
that he was maintaining the debian package and provide patches in the
packaging for debian bugs. Around 2005 he planned a 1.65 release 
that never happened. From that same thread it looks like he was
getting frustrated with maintaining net-tools in debian. Debian 
and Redhat  were both struggling with maintaining a large number of
patches on top of the last release as of a few years ago. openSuSE
went so far as to add a warning to the ifconfig man page about its
deprecation  although that decision appears to not have been
However the git repository  from the new sourceforge site for the
project  which replaces the berlios.de site  has recent commits
by Bernd Eckenfels. It does seem possible that net-tools is not
abandoned per se. Perhaps the maintainers are disenfranchised with the
distribution communities. I sent Bernd a note to see if he could clear
any of this up.
There are some arch folks who complained on forums about ifconfig
disappearing when it worked perfectly fine for them. As I've always
taken Arch to be for people who wanted cutting edge, this seemed odd
but underscores that change always makes someone unhappy. Ten years
without a net-tools release, while iproute2 has been in active
development and versioning alongside the kernel  and plenty of
activity on the netdev kernel list.
We're going to see increased use of iproute2 simply because it
supports features of the kernel that ifconfig never will. For
instance, you can add a second IP address to an existing interface
with iproute2, but cannot manage it with ifconfig . Many existing
scripts and users will continue using ifconfig, so I expect it to be
around for some time. However, the purpose of Ohai is to provide you
with information, and we're starting to need iproute2 to get that
information, which is what justifies the switch.
This switch includes a provision to fallback and use ifconfig, so it
should be painless and error-free. As we joke at Opscode, "no bugs
will be found in production." Lets give this some testing and make
sure this is true together.
Please forgive my footnotes not being sorted properly.
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