Often times Linux users find themselves wanting more from the network manager, especially laptop users on the move find it difficult to manage all the different networks they have access to. WiCD is one of the best tools for people wanting more. It’s gtk based network configuration tool, especially meant for wireless networks written in python. Apart from being dependent on gtk, it does not require any of gnome components to work. Rejoice all the openbox and fluxbox users.
Here’s what WiCD can do (taken from the official documentation),
Compatible with standard *nix networking commands (iwconfig, ifconfig, etc)
Once configured, will connect even if the X display does not start
Can be managed and configured via the command line using wicd-curses
Support for wired networks, as well as named profiles to save multiple wired configurations.
Supports configuring static IP addresses and DHCP on a per network basis
Store different static IPs, gateways, subnet masks, DNS server addresses per network
Automatically connect at boot – no user intervention required, even for encrypted networks
Keeps network keys in root accesible only (600) files (unencrypted, however)
Encryption (template based)
Automatically connects at resume from suspend
Displays information about the network
Ability to run scripts before/after connecting/disconnecting
All this and it’s really easy to use. Let’s start by installing WiCD, if you are an Ubuntu user, you can install WiCD very easily. All you need to do is open a terminal and issue following command,
sudo apt-get install wicd
This will install both WiCD with all the required dependencies. It will then ask you for the users you want to configure WiCD for. WiCD also comes with a tray icon. You can add it by right clicking a panel and choosing add to panel option then choose custom application launcher. Give it any name you want and in the command box type,
and you will have a tray icon now. Open WiCD and you will be greeted with a screen showing all the wireless networks in the range. You can then chose to connect to any network you want. If the network is protected by any security then you would have to chose the method of security in place and enter the correct key to connect to the network.
You, of course, also get the option to chose whether to use DHCP or static IPs, which DNS you want to use, which secondary DNS you want to use. gateways, subnet masks. You can also use it to manage wired networks.
And there’s more…
I for one have never had any problems with WiCD., although there are people who report certain incidents, it’s free from most major bugs and is a very solid program. One of my favourite distributions, Zenwalk, comes with WiCD pre-installed. Rest assured, this is a great tool to manage all your moving connection needs.