:: Automatic and Painless
Networking on Linux should not suck like it does right now for the desktop user. The desktop user should never need to use the command-line to configure their network; it should "Just Work" as automatically as possible and intrude as little as possible into the users workflow. The computer should use the wired network connection when its plugged in, but automatically switch to a wireless connection when the user unplugs it and walks away from the desk. Likewise, when the user plugs the computer back in, the computer should switch back to the wired connection. The user should, most times, not even notice that their connection has has been managed for them; they should simply see uninterrupted network connectivity.
:: Flexible, Extendable, and Open
The most important pieces of NetworkManager are desktop-environment and distribution agnostic, functioning just as well in Gnome, KDE, Xfce, etc. across distributions like Fedora Core, Debian, Gentoo, and Slackware. And since the NetworkManager components communicate with each other using dbus, its easy to rip out and replace any of the User Interface pieces at any time.
:: Application Integration
Using the awesome power and flexibility of dbus and hal, NetworkManager provides facilities for other desktop applications like browsers and email clients to be aware of the network's state and adjust their operation accordingly for features like offline operation.
NetworkManager is distributed under the GNU General Public License v.2, and is Copyright (C) 2004 by Red Hat, Inc. and others