Default IP Address on All Distributions

Joel Newkirk freerunner at
Tue Jan 6 08:30:34 CET 2009

On Mon, 05 Jan 2009 17:36:55 +0100, Helge Hafting <helge.hafting at>
> flamma at wrote:
>>> Sure. And if we go that way, why not use the proper way of setting a
>>> link-local address?
>>> * Pick a random address
>>> * check that it is free (arp, ping,...)
>>> * take it.
>>> That has a good chance of working, even for those who
>>> routinely connect two phones to the same pc at the same time.
>>> Helge Hafting
>> I'm not sure to have fully understood you, but I like having the phone
>> always on the same address.
> There was a suggestion of using link-local addresses.
> If we do that, then we had better do it properly, because you
> aren't supposed to grab the same link-local address every time. If that
> is a problem, the solution is to not use link-local addresses.
> As long as you have one phone, a fixed IP address works well. If you
> have two or more, it is better if they are different or resolves the
> colission automatically. And then we might as well use existing
> standards. But perhaps there aren't that many people
> managing several phones from one pc.
> Helge Hafting

Certainly there will be far less, proportionally, with Openmoko success. 
If Openmoko succeeds - which I presume we all want - then we, the linux
hackers, will be the minority of users.  The community as it exists right
now cannot be considered the long-term target userbase.  The more things
deviate from 'just works' the more Joe Smartphone-user will consider broken
when he can't figure it out.  I'm not saying "dumb it down", just
reiterating my mantra of "simple working defaults".

I think we need to set a default IP pair in a /30 subnet or at least
designate a subnet NOT commonly used, and UI network controls can allow to
alter them at need.  (or for those who perversely eschew UIs on a
touchscreen phone, you can edit the config :)  For 'backward-compatibility'
(read: our convenience ;) I suggest on the FR, .201 on
host - machines with .200 can still communicate on this subnet.  But my gut
tells me we need a clean break and a clean subnet, like or ;)

Something that works for a linux hacker works for us, something that works
for the average smartphone user works for Openmoko.  But by virtue of who
and where we are, we can influence this and hopefully end up with something
that just works.


Joel Newkirk      (blog) (FR stuff)

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