The new DHCP client is being proposed by kernel developer Stefan Rompf and will (when completed) automatically recognize when a Linux user has disconnected from a particular DHCP server and look for a new connection.
But the effort is not without its detractors who feel that a new DHCP client is not necessary for Linux.
DHCP (define) is a cornerstone of Internet connectivity assigning dynamic IP addresses to user connections.
According to Rompf, current DHCP clients on Linux do not recognize temporary disconnections. Such disconnections are common for notebook users that travel between different networks or that roam different hotspots and WLANs.
Rompf argues that the disconnection is not necessarily a limitation of the current 2.6 Linux kernel, as the kernel itself will notify userspace of a disconnection/reconnection event.
However, a feature that is expected to debut in the 2.6.17 Linux kernel will make it even easier to deal with disconnection/reconnection events. The most current Linux kernel release is 2.6.15 with 2.6.16 currently at the release candidate 4 stage.
Rompf said the 2.6.17 kernel will allow userspace to influence connection event signaling, so that a DHCP client could be notified that a connection has terminated and the client should attempt to obtain a new IP address.
The problem, though, is that in order to take advantage of the new feature, you need software that will support it, and that's where Rompf's new DHCP client comes into play.
"The DHCP client is a userspace program to obtain IP configuration when connected to a local network," Rompf told internetnews.com. "It won't be part of the kernel, but I hope for distributions to pick it up.