Author Topic: C coder needed to add a feature to xfce4-netload  (Read 4982 times)


  • Vectorite
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C coder needed to add a feature to xfce4-netload
« on: March 31, 2011, 06:45:42 pm »
NEEDED:  C Programmer with time and interest to modify the XFCE netload plugin!

Recently, we've added wireless capability to our 40 machines that support a mobile Internet Den at conventions and for emergency shelters.   The machines all have XFCE's 'netload' plug in running so that users can see network traffic activity.  This has worked fine for the days of wired-only operation.  Now, any number of machines (random ones) may use wireless to our main router in situations where running wires to them would be a pain and/or to simplify setup.   

The 'netload' plug-in has a preference setting box to allow specifying which interface to monitor.  However, changing this manually on all the user accounts is a pain because the user's screen plugins and panels are locked using the XFCE kiosk mode.   So it requires root access to unlock the kiosk, and make the change back and forth, then re-lock.  Furthermore, when machines are moved around, it all has to be re-done.   Not fun!

The netload plug-in needs an 'AUTO' interface mode which would let it detect which interface is the default gateway device, and use that in its display.   This (hopefully) would be simply checking /proc or route for the  routing table gateway interface device when 'AUTO' is selected.  Also, a user defined alternate text to display for the interface should be chosen depending on which interface is being monitored (e.g. 'Net' for wired, 'Link' for wireless).  There is one user-defined entry allowed now, so a secondary text entry box would have to be added.   Presumably, netload AUTO mode should switch interfaces whenever the gateway device changes, but I'd be happy just to have it detect upon each user's login, since changes would not happen frequently, and the added CPU necessary to poll continuously could be problematic.

An additional, purely optional, but nice  'feature' would be to add a third bar-graph for wireless signal quality when the wireless interface is in use.

I've raised this in the XFCE developer forum, and so far have had no response.   I *could* kludge up some sort of script that would rewrite the xfce panel plugin list to swap interfaces, but XFCE tends to re-write those itself quite often with logins/logouts, and assigns random ID numbers to new items, so that becomes a mess.  The logical place to deal with it is inside 'netload' itself.

The 'netload' source code can be found at

While version 1.0 is the current one, I've had no luck compiling it on our VL 5.8 system, so I'd need the VL version which is 0.4.0 would need to be at least the initial target.  I would like to see the changes provided to the XFCE plug-in developer, since others have asked to have such a feature.  It would be very handy for laptop users who frequently switch between wired and wireless.  And, of course, it would be a contribution to improving Vector Linux's offerings.  Any code created would be under GPL.

I'm not a C programmer, and not able to accomplish the task myself.  I'd be happy to discuss this with anyone who has the coding skills needed.  I do want to see this enough that I'm willing to pay for it to be done.  This also needs to be a short-term project, and completed in time to be used it at our next upcoming convention in July.

If you've got the requisite skills and time to work on his, please let me know and let's discuss the idea.
=^_^=  Tigerwolf

Running: Vector Linux 5.8 Standard   12-16-2006