Friday, April 30, 2010

HOWTO: Use Gnome Network Manager in other DE

As of 10.04 beta I have begun using the KDE desktop environment. I really like many of the things KDE has to offer, however KDE's network manager applet (knetworkmanager) still is lacking compared to Gnome's applet. After installing the network-manager-gnome and manually launching it under KDE it worked great! The only issue I had was that when I rebooted I had to manually relaunch it and then even after I had added it to my startup programs it still failed to store my passwords (even though I had the gnome-keyring installed).

The following are the steps I have taken to have the Gnome nm-applet auto load at KDE's startup and have it work with the gnome-keyring.

#1 Firstly install the nm-applet and the keyring and remove KDE's default net work manager. On Ubuntu/Debian based distros you can do this with the following command in terminal: sudo apt-get install network-manager-gnome gnome-keyring && sudo apt-get remove knetworkmanager

#2 Add the command nm-applet to your desktop environment's startup applications.

#3 This is the trick to making the gnome keyring work under another environment, either launch the following three commands in order at startup or put them in a script and run it at startup:

eval "`gnome-keyring-daemon`"

Log out and log back into your desktop environment and the gnome network manager should now be auto loading and saving your encryption keys!

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. Nice tip. A suggestion, try wicd. Its a very nice independant GUI for network management. I use it no matter what DE i use.

  2. why not use Wicd?

  3. WICD gives me issues connecting to my school wifi where many repeaters are present. Also it does not have an easy setup for 3g modems/tethering like nm-applet does.

  4. I'm using the Fedora 13 Beta and KDE and it too uses knetworkmanager as the default. I too prefer nm-applet over knetworkmanager at least in knetworkmanager's current stage development... that might change over time.

    Anyway, here's how I do it:

    System Settings -> Advanced -> Autostart -> Add Program... -> /usr/bin/nm-applet [Ok]

    Then I log out and back in and knetworkmanager will notice that there is another nm applet and ask if you want to disable knetworkmanager from autostarting. Just say yes and then it's all good. I didn't have to do any of the other stuff you mentioned.

  5. @dowdle Under Ubuntu based distros you have to run the other commands I mention in order for nm-applet to properly store keys using the gnome keyring in other DEs (otherwise you have to re-enter wifi keys everytime you log out and log back in)

  6. Hello Jeff, I'm new to Linux. I'm currently using Kubuntu 10.04. Thanks for the tips, but could you elaborate more on what is really missing in knetworkmanager compared to gnome's. I'd like to know in which situation(s) do i have to use gnome's nm instead of kde's. Thank you..

  7. @Last poster - mostly for the same reasons I listed above for not using WICD. I've found that thus far nm-applet is the only network manager that can keep a stable connection when there are lots of repeaters on a network (namely my school campus) and setting up 3G modems is still MUCH easier under nm-applet still.

  8. thx for this. knetworkmanager fails to even complete a connection with my school campus.

    the team really should focus on these problems.