Tuesday 21 January 2014

Call for testing: urfkill / Getting flight mode to rock on Ubuntu and Ubuntu Touch

Last month, I blogged about urfkill, and what it's meant to be used for.

The truth is, flight mode and proper killswitch (read: disabling radios on devices) handling is something that needs to happen on any device that deems itself "mobile". As such, it's one thing we need to look into for Ubuntu Touch.

I spent the last month or so working on improving urfkill. I've implemented better logging, a way to get debugging logs, flight mode (with patches from my friend Tony Espy), persistence, ...

At this point, urfkill seems to be in the proper state to make it, with the latest changes from the upstream git repository, into the distro. There is no formal release yet, but this is likely to happen very soon. So, I uploaded a git snapshot from the urfkill upstream repository into Trusty. It's now time to ask people to try it out, see how well it works on their systems, and just generally get to know how solid it is, and whether it's time to enable it on the desktop.

In time, it would be nice to replace the current implementation we have of killswitch persistence (saving and restoring the state of the "soft" killswitches) currently in two upstart jobs — rfkill-store and rfkill-restore — with urfkill as a first step, for the 14.04 release (and to handle flight mode on Touch, of course). In the end, my goal would be to achieve convergence on this particular aspect of the operating system sooner than later, since it's a relatively small part of the overall communications/networking picture.

So I call on everyone running Trusty to try to install the urfkill package, and file bugs or otherwise get me feedback on the software. :)


Unknown said...

How are we supposed to enable flight mode once we've installed the package?

Matt Trudel said...

There is no UI at the moment to allow you to toggle FlightMode. However, it can be done via a dbus call:

dbus-send --print-reply --system --dest=org.freedesktop.URfkill /org/freedesktop/URfkill org.freedesktop.URfkill.FlightMode boolean:true #enable flight mode


dbus-send --print-reply --system --dest=org.freedesktop.URfkill /org/freedesktop/URfkill org.freedesktop.URfkill.FlightMode boolean:false #disable flight mode

That said, I'm especially interested even in people just installing it, removing the two jobs /etc/init/rfkill-store.conf and /etc/init/rfkill-restore.conf, and seeing if killswitch states (ie. disabling wifi via the "rfkill block wifi" command) will stick after a reboot.

Unknown said...

Isn't consolekit deprecated? Why don't you use logind?

Matt Trudel said...

Indeed, seems I forgot to remove it from the packaging.

Despite it pull in consolekit (which is a bug I'll fix today), it really does use logind for session tracking :)