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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 only one network management service is 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 as 1.0.0 version is already doing. 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

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

root #euse -E networkmanager

USE flags

Possible USE flags for NetworkManager:

USE flag (what is that?) Default Recommended Description
bluetooth Yes Enable 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 Yes Use dhclient from net-misc/dhcp for getting ip
dhcpcd No Use net-misc/dhcpcd for getting ip
doc No Add extra documentation (API, Javadoc, etc). It is recommended to enable per package instead of globally
gnutls No Add support for net-libs/gnutls (TLS 1.0 and SSL 3.0 support)
introspection Yes Add support for GObject based introspection
modemmanager No Enable support for mobile broadband devices using net-misc/modemmanager
ncurses No Add ncurses support (console display library)
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
systemd No Enable use of systemd-specific libraries and features like socket activation or session tracking
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
zeroconf No Support for DNS Service Discovery (DNS-SD)

After changing use flags run the following command to update the system so the changes take effect:

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

You can manually install NetworkManager, if not already pulled in automatically from above command:

root #emerge --ask net-misc/networkmanager

NetworkManager live ebuild (future 1.2 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.

The most convenient way is to add the ixit overlay using Layman.

root #layman -a ixit

Then you can install the desired NetworkManager release.

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 KDE GUIs

Kernel configuration

For Wifi devices enable also the following options:

[*] 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


Remove any existing network management services (if 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

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


Start NetworkManager now.

root #systemctl start NetworkManager

Enable NetworkManager to be started at boot time.

root #systemctl enable NetworkManager

With NetworkManager older than 0.9.10 or when you have services that order themselves after network.service instead of network-online.service, you may want to enable the NetworkManager-wait-online.service for Note that it extends the boot time even if you don't have any services that need to wait for network connections.

root #systemctl enable NetworkManager-wait-online.service

When writing your own systemd services, you can easily make them wait for NetworkManager to configure the boot time connections. With NetworkManager 0.9.10 and later it works even without explicitly enabling the network-online.service.

FILE /etc/systemd/system/*.service

Setting a hostname

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

FILE /etc/dhcp/dhclient.conf
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:

FILE ~/.xinitrc
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:

FILE ~/.xinitrc
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:

FILE /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf

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:

FILE /etc/NetworkManager/dnsmasq.d/dnssec
# 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.


Hostname problems

The standard "keyfile" plugin does not forward the hostname in default configuration - to avoid having it changed upon network connection, add the following section to your NetworkManager.conf and enter your hostname accordingly:

FILE /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf

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