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Old 13th May 2013
thirdm thirdm is offline
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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:
Quote:
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:

Quote:
nick[name]
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
it.
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:

https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...1-conf-800035/

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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Old 14th May 2013
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IdOp IdOp is offline
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I'm a long-time Slackware user (since 1997), but probably not well versed in the culture as I've mostly just bumbled along on my own.

About the harmless wireless nick error, I get it too for that iwconfig command. Although, I don't configure my wireless device in rc.wireless.conf so have probably never had the error noted while booting. Linux wireless tools seem to have gone through a few generations of "how things are done", and some of these tools have commands that are not supported by all drivers or devices.

I don't know of a place to look up bug reports (though that doesn't mean there isn't one!). Emails sent to Pat and his team are probably not made public. But looking at the ChangeLog.txt files, there are references to suggestions being picked up from LinuxQuestions.org. So that is probably a good place to look, as you've been doing. It could also be a good place to get comments or gauge interest on your proposed change, should you wish to.

Quote:
Also, is there anything under /etc that you're better off keeping your hands off of?
Well, I'd say anything where you're not sure what you're doing ... unless of course you're willing to fix what you broke.

By way of example, I'll show some files I've changed on my main box. When I change a file, I save a copy of the source (original) version with _SRC appended to the name. So there's:

Code:
/etc/exports_SRC
/etc/login.defs_SRC
/etc/profile_SRC
/etc/hosts_SRC
/etc/fstab_SRC
/etc/nail.rc_SRC
/etc/ppp/pap-secrets_SRC
/etc/ppp/chap-secrets_SRC
/etc/ppp/options_SRC
/etc/mtools.conf_SRC
/etc/sysctl.conf_SRC
/etc/resolv.conf_SRC
/etc/named.conf_SRC
/etc/crypttab_SRC
/etc/services_SRC
/etc/HOSTNAME_SRC
/etc/mail/Makefile_SRC
/etc/mail/local-host-names_SRC
/etc/mail/sendmail.cf_SRC
/etc/mail/aliases_SRC
/etc/mail/submit.cf_SRC
/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf_SRC
/etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf_SRC
/etc/rc.d/rc.firewall_SRC
/etc/rc.d/rc.local_SRC
/etc/rc.d/rc.6_SRC
/etc/rc.d/rc.S_SRC
/etc/smartd.conf_SRC
/etc/issue_SRC
/etc/ssh/sshd_config_SRC
Most of these are obvious to change. I got adventurous with rc.S and rc.6, making substantial changes to the handling of encrypted drives.

There are also some "local" files you can edit:

Code:
/etc/rc.d/rc.local
/etc/rc.d/rc.local_shutdown
I use the first extensively, and the second not at all.

It's also worth mentioning

Code:
/etc/rc.d/rc.modules.local
/etc/rc.d/rc.modules-$FULL_KERNEL_VERSION
/etc/rc.d/rc.modules
See the comments in rc.S where one of these is selected for use.

You might find it useful to subscribe to the slackware-security mailing list (it's not very busy) to get prompted about updates to packages.
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Old 17th May 2013
thirdm thirdm is offline
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Thanks. Sounds like I can do more or less what I want without fearing my changes will get clobbered. I think I'll go through one upgrade cycle before going bananas (assuming I can't get OpenBSD going on this machine by then). Then I'll do whatever. I'm really liking Slackware so far.
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Old 17th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdm View Post
Thanks. Sounds like I can do more or less what I want without fearing my changes will get clobbered.
What happens to config files when upgrading a package is something like this. If the new file differs from the existing one, it will be saved in the directory with an extension .new . Such files are something to look out for, because they need to be dealt with.

If you never modified the existing file, and there is a .new version, you can just move it over because that's got changes from the upgrade. (You could, of course, review the differences to be sure you're OK with them.)

If you did modify the existing file, then you'll probably want to merge your changes into the .new file and use the result to replace the original file. Unless the .new file is the same as the _SRC file, where you can just delete the .new file.

Last edited by IdOp; 17th May 2013 at 08:40 PM.
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