Topics about the networking software (ssh, nfs, samba, ...). No questions about network drivers there.
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NetworkManager does automatically explore how it can connect to the internet and then does connect without asking. f.i. it may announce the presence of the computer via wifi and then enable an insecure connection via wlan. This may not always be desireable. Sometimes you would rather like to connect yourself statically via LAN instead or you do not want to connect at all. Though the system rescue cd is rather secure now by showing an empty list at netstat -atupn even low level services like DHCP used to automatically establish a connection could cause harm in security relevant scenarios. My wish would be either having to start networkmanager like Xorg by hand or enabling a boot paramter that will disable the automatic start of networkmanager. Furthermore I would appreciate some open DNS root servers to be preconfigured in /etc/resolv.conf like 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 in case that you do not want to use networkmanager because they will work from anywhere and save you from recurrent typing work in case that you have to configure into a static LAN.