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NetworkManager is a network management software for Ethernet, Wifi, DSL, dialup, VPN, WiMAX and mobile broadband network connections.

NetworkManager and other network management services typically don't work together. That includes a standalone instance of dhcpcd. Make sure you have only one network management service running.


NetworkManager requires an implementation of udev and D-Bus. On laptops and desktops, it is typically built with polkit to enable local users to configure it. It also optionally integrates with systemd, upower, consolekit and others.

It's a good idea to use dhclient from net-misc/dhcp instead of net-misc/dhcpcd. While dhcpcd in standalone mode provides some interesting features over dhclient, those will not be used by NetworkManager. Most upstream developers and most users of other distributions do use dhclient and it's therefore much better tested, works correctly with IPv6 and is generally a better DHCP client to be used with NetworkManager.

root # euse -p net-misc/networkmanager -D dhcpcd && euse -p net-misc/networkmanager -E dhclient

NetworkManager 0.9.8

NetworkManager branch 0.9.8 is the stable version of NetworkManager in Gentoo.

root # emerge --ask networkmanager

NetworkManager 0.9.10

NetworkManager branch 0.9.10 isn't in portage. It would be a good addition though as it provides large part of features that are getting to the upcoming 1.0 release.

NetworkManager live ebuild (future 1.0 release)

NetworkManager is changing substantially and its feature set is slowly moving from a laptop oriented tool to a universal network management service configured using all sorts of tools from nmcli through nmtui to GUI tools like nm-applet, nm-connection-editor, Gnome Shell's network indicator, Gnome 3 control center, KDE plasma-nm and more.

Make sure you have installed Layman. Now you can add the ixit overlay which includes a live ebuild for net-misc/networkmanager and much more.

root # layman -a ixit

Now you can install the live ebuild.

root # emerge --ask --autounmask-write =net-misc/networkmanager-9999

If anything goes wrong, contact User:Pavlix. Those are live ebuilds and therefore they can occasionally need updating. I'm also considering starting a separate overlay just for networking related tools, let me know if that would help you.

NetworkManager VPN plugins

NetworkManager split DNS and DNSSEC support using unbound and dnssec-trigger

This doesn't yet work well with upstream releases nor in portage. But you can use Layman to add the [ixit overlay and install net-misc/networkmanager, net-dns/dnssec-trigger and net-dns/unbound live ebuilds from there.

root # layman -a ixit

Now you can install the live ebuilds.

root # emerge --ask --autounmask-write =net-misc/networkmanager-9999 =net-dns/dnssec-trigger-9999 =net-dns/unbound-9999

The main difference from simple DNSSEC support like in the dnsmasq plugin is that dnssec-trigger does its best to ensure that you get a working DNSSEC configuration even on your laptop roaming among third party networks with different capabilities as well as to allow you to still access local resources and that you can choose to work without DNSSEC when it cannot provide a working setup.

NetworkManager CLI and TUI

Those are included in the current versions of net-misc/networkmanager.

NetworkManager GUI bits in GTK

The systray applet is in gnome-extra/nm-applet and works in classic Xembed based systrays. If you don't have one in your desktop environment, you can use a standalone systray like stalonetray. The connection editor GUI in the same package as the applet. Note that this package serves all sorts of desktop environments and panels with systrays but it's no longer used by Gnome which has its own implementations in Gnome Shell and [[Gnome Control Center]].

root # emerge --ask nm-applet

Also note that the current upstream version doesn't support the appindicator API and thus doesn't work in some systray implemenatation like that in current versions of KDE and Unity or the development versions of Enlightenment.

=== NetworkManager manager KDE GUIs

Kernel configuration

For Wifi devices enable also the following options:

Kernel configuration

[*] Networking support  --->
        Networking options  --->
        <*> Packet socket
    [*] Wireless  --->
        <*>   cfg80211 - wireless configuration API
        [*]     cfg80211 wireless extensions compatibility

Look at the udev page for kernel configuration needed for this NetworkManager dependency.


On Gentoo, NetworkManager uses the plugdev group, so add your user to plugdev.

root # gpasswd -a $USER plugdev

Starting and enabling the service


You can now start NetworkManager:

root # /etc/init.d/NetworkManager start

To start NetworkManager at boot time, add it your default runlevel:

root # rc-update add NetworkManager default

Note that NetworkManager will not connect if other services are also managing connections. So you need to remove them, if you have them installed.

root # for service in $(rc-update show default | grep 'net\.' | awk '{ print $1 }'); do rc-update del $service default; done
root # rc-update del dhcpcd default


On a systemd-based install, you can start NetworkManager like soː

root # systemctl start NetworkManager

To start it at boot timeː

root # systemctl enable NetworkManager


Portage knows the global USE flag networkmanager for enabling support for NetworkManager in other packages. Enabling this USE flag will pull in net-misc/networkmanager automatically:

root # euse -E networkmanager

The USE flags of networkmanager are:

→ Information about USE flags
USE flag Default Recommended Description
avahi No Add avahi/Zeroconf support
bluetooth Yes Enables Bluetooth Support
connection-sharing No Use net-dns/dnsmasq and net-firewall/iptables for connection sharing
consolekit Yes Use sys-auth/consolekit for session tracking
dhclient No Use dhclient from net-misc/dhcp for getting ip
dhcpcd Yes Use net-misc/dhcpcd for getting ip
doc No Adds extra documentation (API, Javadoc, etc). It is recommended to enable per package instead of globally
gnutls No Adds support for net-libs/gnutls (TLS 1.0 and SSL 3.0 support)
introspection Yes Adds support for GObject based introspection
modemmanager No Enable support for mobile broadband devices using net-misc/modemmanager
nss Yes Use dev-libs/nss for cryptography
ppp Yes Enable support for mobile broadband and PPPoE connections using net-dialup/ppp
resolvconf No Use net-dns/openresolv for managing DNS information
vala No Enable bindings for dev-lang/vala
wext Yes Enable support for the deprecated Wext (Wireless Extensions) API; needed for some older drivers (e.g. ipw2200, ndiswrapper)
wimax No Enable support for WiMAX connections using net-wireless/wimax

After setting this you want to update your system so the changes take effect:

root # emerge --ask --changed-use --deep @world

Setting a hostname

If you built NetworkManager with USE=dhclient, you can set a hostname like this:


send host-name "yourhostname";

nm-applet and X session startup

To be able to get nm-applet started when starting your light X session or light desktop environment, just put the following line in your ~/.xinitrc file:


dbus-launch nm-applet &

For gnome-base/gnome-keyring support, add the following lines before the previous line. This will ease password management for GnuPG, ssh and Wifi:


eval $(gnome-keyring-daemon --components=pkcs11,secrets,ssh,gpg)


NetworkManager can be set up to use Dnsmasq as a local DNS server that passes the DNS queries on to your provider's DNS server. /etc/resolv.conf will be set to point to, where dnsmasq runs and processes the queries. This can be useful for example if an application chroots for security reasons and before doing so copies /etc/resolv.conf. Then it would never be informed about changes to the DNS servers as your laptop moves from Wifi to Wifi.

Setup of dnsmasq is simple:



Then restart NetworkManager.


Dnsmasq can optionally validate DNSSEC data while passing through queries (must be compiled with the dnssec use flag). This can be accomplished by adding these lines to the NetworkManager dnsmasq config file:


# DNSSEC setup

The trusted anchor can be found here. After this change dnsmasq will return SERVFAIL and no DNS data if the validation fails. If the validation succeeds it sets the ad flag. In case the domain does not support DNSSEC dnsmasq behaves as before.

If your ISP's DNS server does not forward DNSSEC data then this will fail. In that case you can uncomment the last line, but it will defy the purpose of DNSSEC. Google's server provise DNSSEC data.