network completely unusable when vpn connect fails
I generally use WiFi for my network uplink, and use a VPN connection over the WiFi connection. In some cases, the VPN connection cannot succeed. An obvious possible reason is that the service is unavailable. A second possible reason is that a local administrator restricts VPN access over the local network. In my case, currently, the usual reason is because of a particular issue in network manager (#1725779), which has been confirmed but not resolved. In these and similar cases, I or other users may want to use a basic WiFi connection without VPN as a second choice after discovering that VPN cannot be used. Such use would appear to be a very common and basic use case, though strangely, it is not currently supported in the applet.
Instead, after failing to connect to VPN (perhaps after multiple retry attempts), the applet tears down the WiFi connection, which itself has no problems and could be used as is, and then attempts to reconnect to the VPN service over a new WiFi connection to the same access point. As long as the VPN connection fails, this cycle repeats indefinitely, preventing the user from utilizing the direct WiFi connection because the overall connection state is never stable.
Worse, it appears that the applet provides no interface idiom for the user to express the idea that "I know the VPN connection is unavailable, so please keep a connection open for WiFi without tearing it down, and without trying to open a VPN connection." Not having this ability is a bad situation for the user, because it means that any network access is completely impossible until VPN becomes available. The applet does allow disconnecting from VPN once connected, which disassociates the VPN connection with the WiFi access point, but the ability to effect this disassociation is unavailable until after the VPN connection completes, making it useless is the current scenario.
NM Applet should accommodate the use case of using a direct WiFi network connection as a fallback when VPN cannot connect successfully. It should be possible for the user to direct the applet behavior to try to connect to VPN but to keep the WiFi connection open regardless. The user should never be caught in a viscous cycle in which having a successful VPN connection is required to prevent the system from trying to make one, and in doing so making all network activity impossible.
- Ubuntu 18.10
- GNOME Shell 1.12.4
- Network Manager 1.12.4