MAC Address Policy none
systemd-udev package installs
"/usr/lib/systemd/network/99-default.link", which sets
Link.MACAddressPolicy=persistent for all software NIC devices. This proposal is to add to
the policy so that we use
Link.MACAddressPolicy=none for bond/bridge/team devices.
- Name: Thomas Haller (NetworkManager), Dusty Mabe (Fedora CoreOS)
- Email: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>
- Targeted release: Fedora Linux 38
- Last updated: 2023-04-20
- Devel list thread
- FESCo issue: #2824
- Tracker bug: #2107754
- Release notes tracker: #859
On Fedora, udev by default changes the MAC address of a wide range of software devices.
This was introduced by systemd 242 in early 2019 (Fedora 31), when
extended to affect more types of devices.
MACAddressPolicy=persistent udev's aim is to provide a stable MAC address, otherwise
the kernel will assign a random one. However, that can cause problems.
For interface types bridge/bond/team, an unset MAC address has a special meaning
to the kernel and the MAC address of the first port is used. If udev changes the MAC
address, that no longer works.
Now the generated MAC address is not directly discoverable as it is based on
other data. Even if there were a tool to easily calculate the MAC address, it could be cumbersome
to use it without logging into the machine first. The MAC address can directly affect the
assigned IP address, for example when using DHCP. When booting a new virtual machine, the user might
know the MAC address of the (virtual) "physical" interfaces. When bonding/bridging those
interfaces, the bond/bridge would get one of the well known MAC addresses.
interferes with that.
While Fedora inherited this behavior from upstream systemd, RHEL-9 does not follow this behavior (centos9, rh#1921094). For RHEL-8, this doesn't apply because the systemd there is too old to change the MAC address of most software devices.
The proposal here is to change to
MACAddressPolicy=none for the device types where this causes
the most issues (bridge/bond/team).
This was also discussed on upstream systemd mailing list here. The upstream systemd maintainers' opinion is that the current udev behavior is desirable, but accepts that distributions (or network stacks such as NetworkManager) may choose to change the default depending on their needs (reference). The goal here is to find out what the Fedora community thinks is the most appropriate default.
The RHEL-9 bug is rh#1921094.
A Fedora bug after the change: #2188280
Benefit to Fedora
- Consistent behavior with RHEL8 and RHEL9 for bond/bridge/team devices.
- Bridge and bond interfaces can get the MAC addresses from their first port.
In the case of
MACAddressPolicy=none for a bond (or bridge) the bond will
get a MAC related to one of its physical NIC devices. In the case of provisioning
new systems (especially in a large datacenter) information about the server
can be used to configure the network environment (DHCP, Firewall, etc) before
the server is ever even powered on. This does mean that you may have to update
your network environment configuration if you replace a NIC (con), but that you
won't have to update your network environment configuration if you re-install
your server (pro), which is what you'd have to do now with
- Deviate from upstream systemd.
It is desirable that RHEL and Fedora behaves similar. A possible outcome could be the current behavior stays and RHEL 10 would change behavior. On the other hand, different distributions (or even Fedora spins) have different uses and needs. Deviating might be fine. In the same vein, there is also a desire to stay close to upstream systemd behavior. But the uses of systemd project go beyond Fedora/RHEL, so deviating here may also be fine.
- Proposal owners:
The main goal of this request is to generate productive discussion and find the desired behavior. The implementation/changes are simple to implement.
- Other developers:
Other projects that wish a certain MAC address are welcome to set it for their devices. Including using udev's MACAddressPolicy.
- Release engineering:
Not needed for this change.
- Policies and guidelines: N/A (not needed for this Change)
- Trademark approval: N/A (not needed for this Change)
- Alignment with Objectives:
After the change, the MACAddressPolicy for bond/bridge/team device types will be set to none.
How To Test
Create a bridge/bond interface without setting the MAC address. Note that if
the MAC address is random at first. Note that attaching the first port will update the controller's MAC address.
On the other hand, with
MACAddressPolicy=persistent, the MAC address of the controller is fixed
and not inherited from the port.
Bond/bridge/team devices would again get assigned the MAC address of the first NIC added to the device.
- Contingency mechanism: (What to do? Who will do it?)
If the change is rejected, nothing needs to be done. The change itself will be simple to implement.
- Contingency deadline: beta freeze
- Blocks release? No