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Old 13th May 2013
thirdm thirdm is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
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Default harmless iwconfig error and slackware culture

After that great interview with Patrick Volkerding, I installed Slackware this weekend on a laptop. Seems nice enough so far, but I was curious about something. The wireless set up script (rc.wireless) tries to set something called the nickname on the wireless interface and gives this error, which is harmless as far as getting a connection goes:
Error for wireless request "Set Nickname" (8B1C) :
SET failed on device wlan0 ; Operation not supported.
Searching on that string, this appears to be something everyone just puts up with and ignores. Is that a fair assessment? In most hits it's part of a report with a later, second message caused by a real problem and nothing is said about this first message. The iwconfig man page isn't very informative about what a nickname even is, btw:

Set the nickname, or the station name. Some 802.11 products do
define it, but this is not used as far as the protocols (MAC,
IP, TCP) are concerned and completely useless as far as
configuration goes. Only some wireless diagnostic tools may use
Example :
iwconfig eth0 nickname "My Linux Node"
I opted to patch rc.wireless so it won't try to set the nick if you set a NICKNAME variable in /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf to a certain value (NICKNAME_UNSUPPORTED), so the user could avoid the message in a natural way. I was all set to look for a place to submit this as a "bug fix" until I looked and saw this message is everywhere and probably very well known. Then I saw this answer to a question on it:


So the culture of Slackware is your machine is your own and the scripts provided under /etc/ are nothing more than helpful suggestions? Do what you want? I kind of like that, but then where is the line between customizing your own scripts for your own purposes and sharing improvements you think you have with other users via the project? Probably it would be silly and vain for me to share this one. Is there a place to look for what's been submitted from users in terms of bug reports, so I could get a feel for what's a good report and what's just vanity? From what I've found so far, reports go directly to Pat Volkerding by email.

Also, is there anything under /etc that you're better off keeping your hands off of? i.e. anything like in OpenBSD where they tell you don't touch rc.conf but use rc.conf.local and really don't mess with rc itself?

I'm expecting a culture shift adjustment, but I wonder how far it goes.
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