This piece of Debian documentation states that package ifenslave is necessary for bonding:

First install the ifenslave package, necessary to enable bonding

Yet I know of two Debian 7.10 (wheezy) hosts where dpkg --get-selections | grep ifenslave returns ifenslave-2.6 install (i.e. package is not installed) and there are multiple entries /proc/net/bonding/* with MII Status: up.

So is package ifenslave really necessary for bonding or is it not?

  • Interestingly, I tried this on one of my SLES 11 SP3 servers. running rpm -qa doesn't show ifenslave, although it definitely is installed, but via the package iputils-ss021109-292.28.1. Maybe it behaves like this in Debian. Also: you can bond interfaces without the use of ifenslave, it's just much trickier. – Lenniey Jan 5 '18 at 13:59
  • packages.debian.org/wheezy/ifenslave – Colt Jan 5 '18 at 14:02

No, the ifenslave package is not required on Debian systems. From that package's README.Debian (Debian 9 system):

[The] best way to configure bonding is via the files in /sys/class/net/$master/bonding/. This Debian package therefore does not contain the binary from the kernel sources, but provides a shell script with identical functionality. ...

You can also enslave interfaces using Debian's /etc/network/interfaces file:


Using the /etc/networking/interfaces approach results in bonding being configured by setting values in /sys. The ifenslave approach merely provides a shell script to make configuration easier.

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