wicd is good stuff

The other thing I wanted to mention about my brief interlude with Arch a day ago, was my surprise at using wicd. Ordinarily I wouldn’t bother messing with utilities or daemons that manage network connections. I rarely see the need when I can hand-edit the rc.conf file more quickly and easily than working my way through a GUI.

On the other hand, I have family members whose frustrations with Windows 7 and its precursors occasionally warrants teasing 😈 , and something like this is just the ticket.

Knowing that at some point they might ask for a system built to look like Windows XP Classic means I have to prepare for the least common denominator, and that means the things I take for granted — like reconnecting to a different network interface, or automounting USB stuff, or point-and-click wallpaper management — need to be a little easier to handle.

Enter wicd. To put it simply, this program completely usurps the need for Arch’s default net daemon in your system. I have !net set in my rc.conf, wicd added, and the wicd-gtk interface set to run with the .xinitrc file. And without prompting and without coaxing, it quite easily finds the open interface, connects, and sits back and relaxes.

It’s clean, it’s fast, it’s magical. I was amazed, to be honest. I have come to imagine most of these utilities as requiring more work than they save, but wicd is almost too easy. It can jump between connections at the drop of a hat, will spit up a very simple transmission/receive meter, has a dead simple configuration panel, and after that, it doesn’t do anything but what it’s supposed to.

I’ve tried to confuse it by swapping hardware, and it doesn’t skip a beat. It doesn’t care if you’re using wireless or wired connections. About the only complaint I could make is, I would like to be able to customize the tray icon. I know: How shallow is that? 😐

But really, when you start up a program for the first time, and it does exactly what it’s supposed to, and it’s frighteningly easy to manage, and you can’t seem to confuse it … well, what else is there to say? A gold smilie for the wicd people: Nice work. πŸ˜€

13 thoughts on “wicd is good stuff

    1. steve

      yeah wicd-curses is great too.

      Nice review and pretty much my experience of wicd, which came about when network-manager-gnome wasn’t that great.

  1. Bryan

    You can change the tray icon, just not through the GUI. The icons reside /usr/share/pixmaps/wicd on my system (and all other Arch systems, I presume). You can simply simlink the network-monitor icons from your preferred theme to those (though I believe the two tools have different numbers of icons so their icons don’t have a 1:1 ratio)

    I’ve done this 4 or 5 times on different systems. There are a few icon packs out there but, honestly, renaming the nm-applet ones isn’t terribly difficult.

    And yes – the ncurses interface rocks. I’ve used it on my netbook for a while now (since dwm doesn’t support a system tray)

  2. x33a

    It doesn’t support pppoe, and that’s a major feature lack. Though otherwise it is pretty good. But i use pppoe-start/stop now on arch.

  3. mulenmar

    Too bad that the default tray icons for wicd are too nice to fit in with XP’s interface! πŸ˜†

    I’ve been using wicd for months now, it’s Grade-A awesome. And the ncurses interface is MUCH faster than the GTK+ interface. (Surprise.)

  4. JoshMiller

    I’ll have to look into this program. I’ve been extremely irritated with Gnome’s manager, most specifically, it keeps trying to connect to the previous network and asking for a key etc when I move for example, from work to home.

    Look, just scan and say “hey, I’m at home now I should connect here instead”.

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