Sometime last week I lost the ability to manipulate my laptop’s network state through the nm-applet in the wibox panel that I have set up in my Awesome WM config. Apparently the latest version of the NetworkManager has changed the policykit requirements for aquiring appropriate access to the dbus.

Any time that I tried to initiate a change to the networks through the nm-applet I received an error along the lines of "Not Authorized to do that".

My laptop seems to have been watching too much 2001 A Space Odyssey. No Laptop, just becuase you saw HAL do it in that film does not make it okay for you to tell me what I can and cannot do.

Eventually I found this Arch Linux documentation page that included some options for dealing with this issue:

I chose Option 3 from that page. I didn’t like Option 1 because I don’t run any session managers and am not a huge fan of the way the gnome keyring thing works all the time. Option 2 doesn’t appear to be an option since my user already was a member of the wheel group.

The steps that I took were:

  1. Add a new group called network: sudo groupadd network

  2. Add my user to the network group: sudo usermod -aG network username

  3. Add a rule file for NetworkManager to the PolicyKit config. For this step create the new file, /etc/polkit-1/rules.d/50-org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.rules, with the following contents:

    polkit.addRule(function(action, subject) {
      if ("org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.") == 0 && subject.isInGroup("network")) {
        return polkit.Result.YES;
  4. Finally restart the nm-applet process to load the changes.

And there you go, master of your own NICs again.

" "