Disabling NetworkManager on Servers and Workstations

Why not using NetworkManager in some cases

NetworkManager is a great tool for managing connectivity on Notebooks and other mobile devices, On server or desktop machines with a complex network setup such as a combination of bonding, bridging and VLAN its probably not the best choice, at least I was not able to configure it that way. This was some time ago (approx 1y), meanwhile it may have changed.

Removing NetworkManager

Unfortunately on a desktop system its impossible to get rid of NetworkManager, there are too many really weird dependencies. On servers without a GUI it is very easy to uninstall it, IIRC no drawbacks so far.

To remove NetworkManager run

system:~# yum remove NetworkManager

Be careful, there can a a lot of dependencies getting uninstalled as well. Handle with care.

Solution w/o removing NetworkManager

Disabling the NetworkManager itself is easy,

system:~# systemctl stop NetworkManager
system:~# systemctl disable NetworkManager
system:~# systemctl mask NetworkManager

Unfortunately the NetworkManager-wait-online.service Systemd unit file can not be disabled, its enabled even when systemctl status says its disabled. At the end this means that the boot process will take 30 seconds longer than needed, that is the timeout defined for /usr/bin/nm-online.

You can check the boot process which step is to blame for the long boot time with systemd-analyze blame.

system:~# systemd-analyze blame|grep NetworkManager
          30.060s NetworkManager-wait-online.service

Changing the Systemd unit file

Never ever edit a systemd unit file in /usr/lib/systemd/system/ as they get overwritten with the next software update (in this case NetworkManager).

You can simply copy the unit file to the systemd local config directory /etc/systemd/system.

system:~# cp NetworkManager-wait-online.service /etc/systemd/system

You now replace the /usr/bin/nm-online with /usr/bin/true which always exits with 0.

system:~# sed -i "s|/usr/bin/nm-online -s -q --timeout=30|/usr/bin/true|g" /etc/systemd/system/NetworkManager-wait-online.service

Reload the Systemd daemon

system:~# systemctl daemon-reload 

Ensure the Symlink is correct

system:~# systemctl disable NetworkManager-wait-online.service
system:~# systemctl enable NetworkManager-wait-online.service

Further reading

Have fun 🙂

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