IPFire Developers Summit 2012 - I - feedback

by Michael Tremer, April 19, 2012

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A couple of days ago, I asked for your suggestions about what the IPFire development team should discuss on the next development summit.

Some of you already sent me ideas and I am still excited to hear more. Since one topic came up for several times now, I would like to start a little discussion about it: IPv6.

For example Niklaus Hofer sent me an email which says:

For the developer summit, I would really like you to talk about IPv6.
With IPv6-day coming up on June 6, I think it would be a great
'contribution' to that event, if Ipfire could launch official IPv6
support on that day (maybe in form of an extension?) or at least a
road-map for the support.

I am sorry to be the bad guy, but there will no IPv6 support for IPFire 2. Never. The reasons are very straight forward: Although the system itself would perfectly work with IPv6 (tests have been done and there is some information on the wiki), the web interface is such a shit code, that nobody ever wants to touch it. It is based on the old IPCop web interface, written in perl and just ugly code. The quality of an IPv6 enhancement would be very poor and that is not how I want to do it.

So, we started working on the next major version, which is called IPFire 3 to make really big changes on the system and get rid of lots of design problems like the one pointed out above. The good news here is that IPFire 3 without IPv6 would never be happening. It is a principal requirement for us to add IPv6 support, but that’s not easy. So why is that?

Here in Germany, we don’t have a single major provider which offers IPv6 (not even for testing). For example Deutsche Telekom is announcing support for this once a year, but actually nothing happened. On the business level it is even worse. Some regional providers offer native IPv6 support, but none of the developers lives in such a region.

What is left is tunnel brokers. On the last developer summit, we successfully enabled IPv6 on an IPFire 3 testing box which was connected to SIXXS. Some clients on the local network had bigger problems accessing the next Internet, because Mac OS X could not use an IPv6 DNS server and Windows 7 was a bit bitchy, too. However, tunnel brokers are not the way I want to access the internet.

If someone of you got some more information about what techniques ISPs are using to give their customers access to the IPv6 internet, I would like to hear about it. We can currently only guess how the future could possibly look like, but that is not a good thing to do. We have already discussed what kind of obstacles wrong design decisions can be…