A•B•C Delicious

Hmm, some Internets would be good here...
Hmm, some Internets would be good here...

Sometimes You’re on a Train

And you need some internet.  You know, to giggle over the funny lolcats like a vapid schoolgirl or figure out just what Bobby Love is really up to these days or God forbid, get some actual hacking done.  What’s a person to do?  You could pull out your iPhone, but the guy across the table with the Sierra card says AT&T is shite on this part of the corridor.  Besides, you don’t have an iPhone, and the iPhone can’t tether anyway.  Useless.  Or, you could pull out your T-Mobile G1 Googlephone and make rlove proud.  Oh wait, it can’t tether either.  Nice try.

You could get out your cable and hook up a real phone that can tether, like most other phones on the planet besides the iPhone and the G1.  But then again…

Wires Suck

That’s where Bluetooth tethering comes in.  There’s a few reasons Bluetooth support hadn’t yet got into NetworkManager, mostly related to lack of time and good planning of the user experience.  Bastien and I talked over a lot of it last summer in Portland and came up with a strategy, which was spelled out in various places, but nobody really followed it through.  Bluetooth support can’t just be a hack; it shouldn’t be “Type your modem device name here”-style fail; it should be well-integrated into the desktop experience.  And that requires doing the right things in the right places.  The first step towards that goal was ModemManager, which pulls all the modem code out of NetworkManager into a nicely architected daemon that abstracts the hardware differences.  The next step was making NetworkManager talk to Bluez.

But Bluetooth Kicks Ass

Since Bastien apparently had nothing better to do, and since his favorite team was probably losing as hard as only they can and thus pointless to watch, he showed up with a pile of patches adding Bluetooth bits to NetworkManager.  At the end of the week, we’d got core Bluetooth PAN working pretty well on master, while DUN has to wait a bit until some ModemManager issues get sorted out.  Next up is creating the seamless Bluetooth desktop experience from pair to air by adding the necessary bits to the applet and connection editor.  But the heavy lifting on the NetworkManager side is mostly done.  Thanks to Bastien, NetworkManager 0.8 will ship with native Bluetooth support that doesn’t suck.