Network Manager applet crashes periodically in Ubunty 11.04 / Natty Narwhal

Since I’ve been using Natty Narwhal a.k.a. Ubuntu 11.04, I’ve increasingly run into a scenario where the Network Manager applet crashes. Now, any old app crashing on Ubuntu doesn’t catch my attention quite like nm-applet‘s does because the crashing of nm-applet TAKES THE INTERNET WITH IT!

It’s maddening because I’m typically crash-surfing 10 sites at once and all ten of them suddenly have those “server” errors. Before, I cottoned on the the fact that nm-applet was having a crappy day, I would do the troubleshooting dance of making sure whatever proxy I was using didn’t time out on me or that Firefox hasn’t automagically started surfing in “Offline mode”.

Once I noticed that my Ubuntu wireless notification icon was gone, restarting is was as easy as:

  1. Firing up terminal. Do this by hitting the Windows/Super key and start to type “term”;
  2. Enter the words, “nm-applet” and it should bring back the notification icon. The only pitfall with this approach is that closing the terminal ends the nm-applet process you started from that terminal. My advice is to consign that particular terminal to your 4th workspace to avoid accidentally closing it.
    jane@Jumanji:~$ nm-applet
    ** (nm-applet:4258): DEBUG: old state indicates that this was not a disconnect
    ** (nm-applet:4258): DEBUG: foo_client_state_changed_cb
    ** (nm-applet:4258): DEBUG: foo_client_state_changed_cb
  3. By starting up nm-applet through the terminal, one persistent message I’ve been getting is:
    ** Message: Caught signal 15, shutting down...
    ** (nm-applet:13167): WARNING **: _nm_object_get_property: Error getting 'WpaFlags' for /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager/AccessPoint/194: (19) Method "Get" with signature "ss" on interface "org.freedesktop.DBus.Properties" doesn't exist

In conclusion, as of 05/24/2011, nm-applet on Ubuntu 11.04 is pretty crashy, get in the habit of Ctrl-C-ing whatever post/email you’re handcrafting so you don’t lose any work. Cheers and see the associated images:

Published by

Jane Ullah

I wear many hats. In no particular order, I am a: wife, geeky blogger, a twitter-happy aspiring photographer, and passionate about things I believe in.

  • Duncan Murimi

    my network manager crashes repeatedly, when i start my laptops  Bluetooth. The internet also drops with it. upon turning off Bluetooth, it returns back to normal.

    • Hi Duncan,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with nm-applet crashing on Natty Narwhal / Ubuntu 11.04. Unfortunately, I have not been able to decipher any “triggers” for nm-applet crashing. Each time, it’s just the “Caught signal 15, shutting down…” message. I’ll update this post with any more info I ferret out.


      • Duncan Murimi

        Thanks Jane. Looking forward to the solution of this problem.

  • I’m experiencing the same issue, though thankfully it doesn’t appear to affect the actual internet/LAN connection, just the display of the network-manager indicator. I hope this gets fixed soon.

    • Really? I wish I could say the same. How I know nm-applet dies is where every page on Firefox gives me a server not found error. This is a really nasty bug and I hope they are able to find & fix it.

      • I have been suffering another bug were certain pages have been throwing out ‘unable to connect’ errors. It seems random, and typically effects secure websites (though certainly not all secure websites) and VPN.

        I’m frankly stumped on that one, and I don’t know whether it could be related to this nm-applet bug. When navigating to any of the effected pages or connecting to VPN, there seems to be no significant period of negotiation. It’s almost as if the broswer/network-manager don’t even try to connect.

        I do hope, for your sake, that this bug is fixed soon though. Maybe my bug will disappear with it *crosses fingers*.

        • There was an update today but I’m 100% certain the bug is still there. Quite annoying. 🙂 and almost enough to make me wish I had Windows 7 back on my notebook! Almost, not quite. 😛 I’m enjoying the instant boot-up time with Ubuntu. Thanks for checking in and I’ll keep you posted.


          • Sometimes we forget the best thing about Linux is the choice and alternative we have.  e.g If network manager applet is giving you trouble, you can always try wicd. Wicd has always been the tested and always trusted connection manager which (even though does not have some of the fancy features of network manager like adhoc connection sharing and 3G mobile card support) always does what it says and does it very well. They is always conman (developed by the meego guys – moblin to be precise) and if for some reason all this don’t work. You always have another Linux distribution or desktop environment to try out.  (Anything but windows :p)

            I did some search and it turns out you are not its a known issues. here are some bug reported on launchpad u might wanna check out


          • I may well try WICD just to see if it can solve my issues w.r.t. those connection refused errors (at the very least it could tell me whether network-manager is the culprit).

            I was running connman until I upgraded to Natty, and to be honest I’m not too enthused at the prospect of switching back. It’s still in pretty heavy development and had a tendency (at least with my built-in WiFi) to drop the connection periodically. I suspect that this is a hardware rather than a software issue (as a light touch/push on the laptop surface, where I suspect the WiFi card is located, usually raised the connection again), but for whatever reason network-manager is able to cope with whatever hardware issues (dry joint/connection?) are there, no dropped connections with it since upgrading.

          • Out of curiosity, what wireless card are u using? I did have some issues with wireless always causing my system to kernel panic turned out to be caused by a buggy broadcom wireless module shipped with natty (upstream problem)

          • The card’s built in to my Sony VAIO FZ31M. A quick glance at the output of lspci indicates it’s an Intel Corporation PRO/Wireless 4965 AGN.

            The two reasons I suspect hardware issues is that a) whenever the card went down (the indicator lights for WiFi and BlueTooth would go dark) a firm push to the laptop chasis would bring the back up again, and b) the single USB port located on the same side (as where I assume the card is located) does appear to support anything other than power-over-USB (useful for my flexi-USB fan, not so much for a USB drive). I figure that side of the laptop might have a loose/dry connection or too, and that the (frankly lowsy) heat dissipation of this laptop could have exacerbated matter, causing one or more dry solder joints.

            I’d be happy to be proven wrong though. How did you identify that it was a kernal panic rather than a hardware issue?


          • Because the same machine worked perfectly on kubuntu 10.10 and the only thing different between 10.10 and 11.04 in that angle is that 11.04 uses the new libre broadcom driver which is quite buggy, while 10.10 prompted me to install the proprietary wl driver. However I feel mine issue is different from yours. Intel wireless cards are known to work very well out of the box on Linux

          • @anubeon:disqus My Wireless card is: Intel Corporation PRO/Wireless 5100 AGN and my HP notebook has always suffered from heating (too hot) and I’m beginning to think your suspicion of a hardware problem might be right. So far, the bug reports @bigbrovar:disqus  has linked to don’t address my specific issue and I’m a little overwhelmed by the bug reporting process. Off to do some Ubuntu docs. reading …

  • Carlo Ved

    Hi there!


    Is a bug that has been triaged. Hopefully soon will be solved.

    • Thanks for the link, Carlos! Like you, I hope they fix this ASAP.

      • Carlo Ved

        Actually, if the icon nm-applet disappears  as a workaround I am using I press: Alt + F2 and use the command:
        nm-applet -sm-disable
        Until they fix this bug is the best workaround I found.

        • What does the  -sm-disable command do? I tried “nm-applet -sm-disable” at the terminal and got this message:

          jane@Jumanji:~$ nm-applet –help
          Usage: nm-applet

          This program is a component of NetworkManager (
          It is not intended for command-line interaction but instead runs in the GNOME desktop environment.

          Thanks again for checking in! 🙂


          • Carlo Ved

            Hi, I am so sorry there is missing a “-“, in the command.

            You have to run the command. If you use the terminal you will have to keep it open. Just press Alt + F2 and run the command is this:
            nm-applet –sm-disable

            To be honest I dont know what it does the –sm-disable, I just found it some months ago in a forum. I just now that it works I have been using since Ubuntu 10.10 (since this bug exists).

            c u

    • Blakelybean

      It is now Y2011 M11 D22 and the problem is still present although possibly does not happen as often (at least not to my experience of it).

      Here are the notes that I created for solving the problem, taken from all the notes I found on this forum and from the bug reports in clear (albeit repeated) instructions for people who have a hard time with computers:

      This note was/is relivent for, OS: Ubuntu v11.04 Natty Narwhale, Desktop: Unity hosting the Gnome 2 desktop.

      To restart the network-manager, from a terminal (to bring up a terminal press CTRL+ALT+T) execute the following command:
      sudo restart network-manager

      Note the network manager’s applet is designed to run in a graphical desktop enviroment (GDE) so it can not be run from the command line interface (CLI) more commonly refered to as a terminal.
      Therefor, to restart the network manager’s applet in the applet indicator area within the GDE:
      press ALT+F2
      A command window will open, enter the follwoing in that command window:

      Note: Others have stated that they needed to add some arguments to that command to get it to work. Here are those arguments:
      nm-applet –sm-disable
      Warning: There is no documentation on what the –sm-disable argument does so use it with extreme caution.

  • I get this “** (nm-applet:4796): DEBUG: old state indicates that this was not a disconnect 0

    (nm-applet:4796): Gtk-WARNING **: Failed to set text from markup due to error parsing markup: Error on line 1: Entity did not end with a semicolon; most likely you used an ampersand character without intending to start an entity – escape ampersand as &
    ” to the tune of 600+ GB of error messages per day :/  It tends to fill up my hard drive and I ahve to go delete the log file. 

  • Pushing Ctrl-Alt-T is a quicker way to open up the terminal :-).

    I’ve been having the same issue. My workaround consists of hitting Alt-F2 and running nm-applet.