Network Manager is a shitload better then anything I've ever seen or used in Windows and it is better then what I've personally experienced in OS X.
I mean seriously... if you look at the utter clusterfuck that is Windows wireless and then tell me that Network-Manager sucks then you just have no clue what your talking about.
Seriously. Can anybody here dogging on Network-Manager can even tell me what Network Manager's dispatcher is for??
(Becuase if they did then they would never have a issue with say... something as simple as configuring a ipsec tunnel to work with NM)
And you all are complaining about wired network support?! Hell it's always had perfect ability to aquire a DHCP address, even in it's shitty-as-fuck early days.
As far as static IP address...
A. If your trying to use network manager on a server your a moron. It's a 'NETWORK' 'MANAGER'. It's designed to manage connecting to networks. Networks as in plural networks, multiple networks, networks that you connect to as more then one, as in something you don't do with a server.
B. If your on a network with no DHCP server then:
1. Let the autoconfig stuff work so that the system will automatically give itself a ip address and just automagically work with other self-addressing machines on your network.
2. Use the existing functionality in each and every single linux distribution out there and configure the network interface with a static IP address. Same way it's been done for centuries.
And if Network Manager tries to fight that configuration, file a bug. With the Linux distributions I use Network-manager completely fucks-off when I configure a static configuration.
Oh. And for the record, Network Manager is perfectly capable of doing and remembering static configurations for both wireless and wired networks.
Here is some examples of how much network manager 'sucks'
1. It automatically is able to not only allow me to join multiple wireless networks, but networks with different levels and different types of security.
2. It not only is able to do that, but it is able to remember the configuration and generate such configurations on the fly.
3. When I am running a VM in Network Manager the virtual ethernet switch for my virtual network of virtual machines are able to connect, on the fly, to the internet through any network interface I happen to be using at the time. It just 'goes'.
Why? How? Because NM works with the routing iptables for my VM and dynamically configures them for each network.
4. My 3G phone 'just works' with Linux.
It's worth noting that:
PPPD and chat scripts DO NOT work correctly with the phone. It _can_, but that puts my phone into 'gimp mode' with basically crippled network performance.
To tether my 3G phone I need to have something that communicates with a serial connection to do settings and configurations and then connect to the network using the virtual ethernet 'usb0' device.
This 'just works' with Network Manager. Zero configuration, no scripts, no fucking around with sniffing Windows ppp connections to figure out how to configure the stupid thing. It 'just works'.
5. Once connected to 3G or through local ethernet network I can setup my laptop as a wireless access point through the use of Ad-hoc network configurations.
It just takes a few clicks of the mouse and then I can share the connections with anybody around me.
Usefull for those 'off site' meetings used to get out of the office early.
6. I do not need to use a root account (either through su, logging in as root, or sudo) to use it.
Instead the applet that I use interacts with the deamon through DBUS and access can be regulated and controlled via Policykit, if I so desired. (useful for corporate laptops).
This means that instead of having to open a terminal, or run a entire GUI program as root under my user account (as would happen with gksu or gksudo) I just can configure my machine to work with almost any network, on the fly, without passwords, in a very safe and secure manner.
This results in better security. Instead of having thousands of lines of code running as root under the control of my user account I have a single dbus connection from my user's bus to the systems bus.. a system which is much easier to monitor and harden against potential threats in a multiuser environment.
8. I can plug in a USB ethernet adapter or USB wireless adapters and have it 'just work' with Network Manager. No reconfiguring, no worrying about if something is going to show up as 'wlan0' or 'wlan1' or whatever. None of that. It _just_works_.
(oh, and same thing happens with PulseAudio and USB audio devices... I can even transfer sound from one device to another as the application is running with no fits or pauses.)
So ya. Network Manager is a huge half-baked pile of shit.
Only this pile of shit is more user friendly, better designed, easier to secure, has more capabilities, wider hardware support, and is easier to extend through simple if-up/if-down scripts, then any other mobile network management tool avialable for any other OS anywere.
I challenge you to tell me a single tool that comes remotely close to that.
Yes this pile of shit, with a single small applet interface in the systray, is is able to do more in Linux then a entire army of network configuration tools (each hardware-specific wireless manager shittier then the next) and dozens of screens of wizards in Windows and works with much more hardware, in more different circumnstatces then what is avialable in OS X..
Ya, go ask how well those OS X users that purchased Ralink devices like their little network tool...
So Network MAnager isn't perfect and isn't everything to everybody. Nothing is and nothing else comes as close. So stuff it. If you don't like it, nobody is forcing anybody to use it and it is trivially easy to disable in any Linux distributions if you know anything about how init scripts work and the related tools in your distros.