WireGuard in systemd-networkd

Daniel Kahn Gillmor dkg at fifthhorseman.net
Wed Jan 10 08:09:35 CET 2018

On Tue 2018-01-09 18:38:59 +0100, Jason A. Donenfeld wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 4:20 PM, Daniel Kahn Gillmor
> <dkg at fifthhorseman.net> wrote:
>> very cool!  systemd-networkd end up invoking wg(8)?  or does it interact
>> with the kernel directly?
> We taught systemd to talk the generic netlink protocol --useful for
> all sorts of new things cropping up in the kernel -- and then after
> that we taught it to talk wireguard, which builds on top of generic
> netlink. And, it doesn't introduce any build-time dependencies into
> systemd-networkd. So it's there for people who want it and not there
> for those who don't. I think this is the right approach for
> Linux-centric approaches like systemd.

cool.  this sounds very much like you've decided that the netlink
interface is now stable, which is good to hear :)  It becomes much
trickier to update the interface when you've got external tools (whose
release cycle you don't control) talking to them!

>> if doesn't need wg(8), then once the new release of systemd is made, we
>> may want to change the dependency recommendations for the wireguard
>> kernel module packages.
> Maybe? I'm not quite sure what the Debian semantics for
> recommendations are. If additional recommendations crowd out existing
> recommendations, or introduce some kind of automatic selection logic
> where only one has to be satisfied in an install-recommendations mode,
> then I'd be hesitant. The reason is that wg(8) allows users to see
> what's going on with the wireguard interface, whereas networkd only
> enables setting up the interface but after doesn't give much
> visibility into what's going on. So all users who run wireguard
> probably want wg(8), and only some users who run wireguard
> additionally will want systemd-networkd. But as I said, I don't know
> what the Debian recommendations are supposed to be precisely, so you
> can decide this better than me.

thanks for the explanation.  debian's semantics are:


Basically, Recommends: isn't the same as a hard Depends: -- it's
possible to ignore a Recommends: on systems you want to consciously keep

The disjunction (A | B) means "if one of A or B is installed, don't bother
trying to satisfy the other; but if neither is installed, install A".

systemd-networkd is shipped (but by default disabled) in the systemd
package itself.

At the moment, wireguard-dkms (the kernel module package) Recommends:
wireguard-tools (which supplies wg(8)), which i'd write as:

  0)  Recommends: wireguard-tools

So i think we have several other choices:

  1)  Recommends: systemd | wireguard-tools

  2)  Recommends: wireguard-tools | systemd

  3)  Recommends: wireguard-tools, systemd

  4)  Recommends: wireguard-tools
      Suggests: systemd

Of the above, i think i'll probably either stick with 0 or move to 4.
given what you said above, i don't really like the idea of using the
disjunction; people already running systemd will have systemd-networkd
available; and i don't want the wireguard-dkms package to encourage
people to install systemd if they've already made a decision to avoid
the default and not use it.

oh, also, any reference to systemd here would probably be versioned to
be at least the first version that supports it.

let me know if you have any other preferences or suggestions.

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