Network Device Naming


One Line Summary

Which of my NICs is eth0?


On systems with more than one ethernet port, it is anyone’s guess which will be called eth0 and which will be called eth1. This makes it difficult for system administrators to reliably configure networking. Dell has been working with the Linux kernel community, DMTF, and PCI standards bodies to make device naming deterministic and easy to understand. The most recent proposal to solve this stays out of the kernel, and stays out of udev, but requires all userspace network tools that take a network device name to be modified.

With any luck, the minimal kernel changes to expose SMBIOS and PCI device labels will be in mainline well before LPC. What will remain is modifying the userspace network tools and getting those changes upstream and into the distributions.

Audience should be BIOS authors, kernel developers, network management tool authors, and system administrators who will each see what role they will play in bringing about the complete solution.


  • Biography

    Matt is a Technology Strategist in Dell’s Office of the CTO, focusing on operating systems and virtualization. He has been an active Linux developer since 1999, and lead Dell’s Linux Engineering teams for over a decade. Dell develops and sells Linux on a wide range of Server, Workstation, Desktop, Notebook, Netbook, phone, and Mobile Internet Device products.

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