How to check NetworkManager version on Ubuntu

Last updated on January 15, 2021 by Dan Nanni

Question: I am trying to set up a VPN tunnel using NetworkManager on my Ubuntu Linux, and want to check whether the current version of my NetworkManager has native support for this VPN tunnel. How can I check the version of NetworkManager installed on my Ubuntu, and how to find out NetworkManager versions available on other Ubuntu releases?

NetworkManager is a standard network configuration daemon for Linux, whose primary goal is to keep network connectivity active at all time. Unlike stationary server environment, typical Linux laptop/desktop can connect to the network via more than one physical (wired/wireless) or virtual (VPN, VLAN, VxLAN) network interfaces, and can switch from one interface to another dynamically, depending on locations and user preferences. That is when NetworkManager really makes your life easy by enabling automatic connection setup and migration.

To support a variety of network configurations and emerging new VPN software, NetworkManager has been regularly updated with new releases every now and then. If you want to use NetworkManager to configure a custom VPN tunnel, you need to check the NetworkManager version and see if NetworkManager provides native support for it.

The following describes two different ways to check NetworkManager version on Ubuntu.

Method One

The easiest way to check the version of currently installed NetworkManager is to run NetworkManager itself.

For example, to check NetworkManager version on Ubuntu 18.04:

/usr/sbin/NetworkManager --version
1.10.6
Another shortcut is to use nmcli, a command-line-based front-end for NetworkManager. nmcli is enclosed in network-manager package, and nmcli version is matched with that of NetworkManager.

$ nmcli --version
nmcli tool, version 1.10.6

Method Two: rmadison

Sometimes you may want to find out what version of NetworkManager is offered by different Ubuntu releases. For example, you are trying to configure WireGuard VPN on NetworkManager, and this requires NetworkManager version 1.16 or higher. You want to find out which Ubuntu releases come with NetworkManager version 1.16+.

For that, you can use a command-line tool called rmadison. This tool queries the Debian archieve database remotely and finds out which package version is registered for different releases and archtiectures. So by using rmadison, you can find out exactly what version of NetworkManager is available on different Ubuntu versions.

$ rmadison network-manager

For example, the above output indicates that NetworkManager version 1.16+ is available starting from Ubuntu 20.04 (focal).

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