A decade ago seems like a long time in open source. In those days, networking was not easy to configure in Linux systems like Fedora. Networking stacks didn’t play well with each other, and some used frequently today didn’t even exist then. Configuring a laptop for good mobility across networks was difficult, or sometimes impossible.
Then NetworkManager was born around the time of Fedora Core 3 in 2004 — so long ago Fedora had a “Core” in the name! Here’s the original Fedora Core 3 release announcement, which mentions an early version of NetworkManager included in that release.
At its inception, NetworkManager was built to manage laptops that move from one network to another. Over time, it grew a rich set of integrated capabilities to manage complex network profiles across all sorts of systems. Here’s an interview with Dan Williams, one of the principal authors of NetworkManager, during the Fedora 13 cycle in 2010.
He also wrote a blog entry around that time, mentioned in the interview, about the new technologies (at the time) supported in NetworkManager such as 3G modems and Bluetooth networking through your phone. But NetworkManager hasn’t slowed down since, continually adding features and coverage for new types of mobile and secure networks.
NetworkManager recently announced its 1.0 release, which is a big milestone for any software. These days, with easier controls, support for multiple profiles, captive portal detection, tight integration with the GNOME Shell interface, and innumerable other fixes and upgrades, it’s better than ever. In fact, NetworkManager features often equal or exceed those on other operating systems. It’s hard for most mobile Linux users to conceive of a system without it.
Congratulations to the whole NetworkManager team on making the world better and easier for people to connect online!