netplan and post-up/pre-down scripts

Mike Pontillo mike.pontillo at
Tue Jan 17 06:02:24 UTC 2017

On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 7:35 AM, Mark Shuttleworth <mark at> wrote:

> Would 'got-link' and 'lost-link' be good names for this?

I'm not certain a new event name is needed for this functionality; it seems
to me that the current definition of 'up' isn't quite correct.[1] (But all
this might be a moot point depending on what is supported in networkd, and
how it behaves.)

I understand there have been several attempts to address this in the past,
such as the 'allow-hotplug' option, ifplugd, ifupdown-extra,
NetworkManager, and now networkd. IMHO, no solution is complete unless it
properly separates adminStatus from operStatus, and holds off on confirming
"link up" until both are "up". For backward compatibility, a boolean flag
(similar to "allow-hotplug") should indicate whether or not the system is
allowed to continue booting if the interface is down.[2]

Another subtle detail is that if an interface is administratively down,
there should be an option to cause the NIC to take its physical link down.
That way, whatever is on the other side of the link doesn't assume its peer
is active. (This is standard behavior on a router or a switch, but may be
atypical for a server... so I think the default behavior should continue be
"leave the physical link up".)


[1]: I would refer to the IF-MIB definitions for administrative and
operational status, which haven't changed in a long time. They can be found
in RFC 2863 sections 3.1.12 and 3.1.13[1]. There is also discussion
(amendments to a previous RFC) about when to send the "linkUp" trap. (To
summarize, only when a link is both operationally and administratively up.)
See the relevant states here:

Contrast this to the default behavior of an auto/static interface: an
interface is considered UP if its operStatus AND adminStatus were "up"
within 5 minutes of boot. After that, you can throw all your assumptions
out the window; the interface will stay DOWN even if its operational status
changes from "down" to "up", and the system will hobble along in a
half-configured state, even if the link status changes.

[2]: I think that should default to to allow boot, to prevent the UX
nightmares that occur during boot when the boot process waits for
interfaces it thinks should be up. If a particular service is finicky
enough to not handle a missing interface gracefully, the admin can manually
configure the flag to /not/ allow boot.

The current behavior is also strange because if an interface becomes
operationally "down" after the five minute timeout, the system takes no
action, pretending nothing happened. (Why did we just wait 5 minutes for an
interface to be up, if we weren't going to care if it later went down?) If
a service /seriously/ depends on an interface being up, and cannot handle
changes in interface status, the admin should configure that service to
start upon receiving a link up event, and stop it upon receiving a link
down event for that interface.
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