ifconfig(8) syntax intuitiveness

Erik P. Skaalerud erik at pentadon.com
Wed Aug 24 06:26:17 PDT 2005

Joseph Garcia wrote:
I was using ifconfig when it occurred to me how non-intuitive it is
having to use as the netmask when adding an address
that is on the same subnet as an address already on the interface. For
example, if you already have on fxp0, then you should be
able to add the following address with this command:
	ifconfig fxp0 add netmask

instead of:

	ifconfig fxp0 add netmask

I second this. I had problems with this when I first used IP aliasing on 
FreeBSD long time ago because I had the wrong netmask set. (/24 instead 
of /32).

I also understand that “alias” is the same thing as “add” and “–alias”
is the same thing as “delete”. Personally, I never really did like the
alias/-alias commands because they didn’t seem like the right verb to
be using for the type of action that I was doing. I thought, “I’m not
aliasing an address to the interface. I’m adding it to the interface.”
Actually, this is fine the way it is because people can use what they
like. Although, I do like the verb "remove" better than "delete".
Again, that's because I felt that I was "removing" an address from an
interface and not "deleting" an address.
Well, "add" just points to "alias", so thats no biggie really.

I second your thoughts about "delete". You don't delete it, you remove it.

Again, these are just ideas to make ifconfig(8) more intuitive and a
bit more user friendly. Any opinions on these issues? I know they're
small isssues, but I feel that any steps to making Unix utilities more
intuitive and user friendly without compromising security and features
is a step in the right direction.
I have another suggestion for ifconfig aswell. Show netmaskes in human 
readable format (decimal) instead of HEX. I mean, who really thinks 
about netmasks in HEX formats?

If someone could work on these changes it would be good stuff. One thing 
one must keep in mind is to not just blast away all the old keywords. 
They must still function to keep compability (This also goes for the /24 
netmask instead of /32).

- Erik

More information about the Users mailing list