Default IP Address on All Distributions

Helge Hafting helge.hafting at
Tue Jan 6 12:03:37 CET 2009

Thomas Otterbein wrote:

> Now when it comes to "real users" I believe the discussion about the best fixed 
> IP-Number or a pool of dynamic numbers is far too short-sighted. As a true 
> linux user by hard for many year now I have no problem in running a couple of 
> commands to connect my Freerunner to my machine and configure it's internet 
> connection to get some updates. However on the long run, if I will have to 
> continue doing it like that I consider it a confession of failure.
Sure. The default should "just work". And there should be 
configurability for those with different needs. Such as updating 30 
company phones all connected to the same usb hub...

> M$ and Apple are successful with their devices because users do not have to 
> care at all about IP-Numbers or editing /etc/resolv.conf. Neither do today's 

And they "fail" because you usually can't do anything out of the 
ordinary. Connect just one phone to the PC at a time, please. Connect
two phones to each other with a usb cable? Why would anyone want that?
A networked phone game that doesn't need to call into one of our servers 
- where is the money in that . . .

> Linux-Users as the vast majority is using DHCP on their DSL-(WiFi)-Routers 
> They plug it in or move into a certain location and things just happen as 
> expected.
> Believe me I don't like the side effects that come with all this automatisms, 
> which is why I bought the freerunner so I have the freedom to change it. 
> However as I sit in front of my desktop day by day already strangling with a 
> more or less constant level of "configuration problems" (network gone, faulty 
> acpi, xorg update broke screen resolution, etc.). I would really love to have 
> my phone "just work" sometime in the relatively near future.
I agree that it should "just work" as far as possible. And the expert 
user can always make changes precisely because this is linux.

Still, the way to "just works" is to use existing standards as
much as possible. A fixed IP address is a last resort. Use that only if
we have to. If this phone (or the next one) makes it to mass markets,
then there will be families with several phones. It may be convenient
to charge & update them at the same time from the same PC. Your friend 
with the same phone might visit. You may want to surf the net at the 
same time. It'd be nice if all this "just works" too,
and it won't when all phones share a fixed address.

Running DHCP on the PC's usb interface is one way to make this case 
"just work". Combining link-local addresses with NAT is perhaps another 
way. A fixed address won't do the trick.

Either way, some software has to be set up on the PC. But that is OK,
even windows people are used to installing a "driver CD" in order
to connect their new phone to the computer. If this software then
allows plugging in all your phones at the same time, so much the better!

> For example a user friendly but still linux-like phone could ask me: 
> "Hey, while you already have decided to go on the internet (via usb or wifi or 
> gprs, it's my decision and not limited by design flaws) shouldn't I download 
> the latest updates in the background?"
> or
> "Um, I sense your bluetooth-enabled desktop is nearby. Shall I quickly sync 
> your appointments and contacts with your favourite OpenSync-enabled PIM-Suite 
> (or even with nasty Outlook)?" 
Do this or don't do this. Make it a setup option.
But please - don't pop up questions! Questions
that pop up while I use the phone gets in my way - yuk. Questions
that pop up while the phone is in my pocket just wastes CPU effort
and drains the battery. And it is particularly nasty if I pull the
phone out of my pocket to make a call, and have to wade through
2-3 items that popped up since the last use - items that may even be
irrelevant now that I have moved around.

With SHR I already get one such popup - the one that suggests charging
the nearly empty battery. The warning makes sense, but I usually
put the phone on charging without looking at the screen, and the
popup hang around forever until I need to use the thing. So often 
enough, I see this power complaint combined with a full battery.
Of course this case can be fixed - the phone notices that
power gets plugged in, and could remove the warning.

Helge Hafting

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