[CentOS] nm-applet, wirless, and CentOS 6

Thu May 14 19:39:33 UTC 2015
Liam O'Toole <liam.p.otoole at gmail.com>

On 2015-05-13, Robert Heller
<heller at deepsoft.com> wrote:
> I have a strange problem and I know I am doing things way outside of
> the box.
> First of all I don't like Gnome or really any of the mess-windows
> flavored desktop systems and no, I don't like the MacOSX flavored
> desktop systems (like Ubuntu's Unity) either.  The 'desktop' system
> (if you could have called it that) that I learned on was DEC's
> 'DecWindows' system on a VAXStation 2000 (under VMS).  This was
> basically a rebranded Motif system with MWM and used DEC's *simple*
> session manager.  I presently use FVWM in MWM compatibilty mode and a
> home written session manager written in Tcl/Tk.  I use FVWM's icon box
> module to manage the run-time icons for running applications.  I don't
> have *any* desktop icons and don't (won't) use a graphical file
> manager.  The session manager has a simple customizable menu and a
> text area (for note taking and as an output space for launched
> programs).
> I do use a gnome-panel and use nm-applet to manage networking on my
> laptop.  This works just fine on my older laptop (a Thinkpad X31)
> running CentOS 5.  I recently got a newer laptop (a used Thinkpad
> R500) that I installed CentOS 6 on and set up up much the same.  But
> there is a problem with nm-applet: it works for the *wired* network,
> but not for the wireless.  I *know* that the wireless NIC is detected
> and working, since if I fire up the default GNome desktop it works.
> It just does not work with my alternitive setup.  When I click on the
> nm-applet little icon, it does list all of the available wireless
> networks, but when I select one, *nothing* happens.
> I'm guessing I am missing some GNome infrastructure, but I don't know
> what.  I am running the gnome settings daemon and I am using
> dbus-launch to start the dbus system.  But what else am I missing?
> Where should I be looking for possible error messages?  Is there some
> flag I can give nm-applet to get debugging information?  Is there an
> alternitive applet available?

I'd say it's related to policykit. Is the process
/usr/libexec/polkit-gnome-authentication-agent-1 running in your
session? It's launched by gnome-session, i.e., when running the full
GNOME desktop.

An alternative applet is available in the form of wicd, from the EPEL

> If it comes down to it, is it possible to run gnome without the
> graphical file manager and a different window manager?

You can in the case of the window manager, at least. Using gconf-editor,
See the gconf keys under /desktop/gnome/session/required_components. You
can change the windowmanager key to a value of your choice. Also, you
might try leaving the value of the filemanager key blank. I don't know
whether that will result in no file manager being launched, or whether
it will revert to the default. Maybe the value /bin/true will achieve
the desired effect?

As a last resort, you could just tell nautilus not to draw desktop
icons. Once you start gnome-panel, then you've loaded the GNOME
libraries, GTK libraries, GLib, bonobo, etc., etc. Running nautilus in
the background will involve little additional overhead.

> Should I just
> write my own version of nm-applet from scratch?

Hopefully it won't come to that!