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D-Bus is a message bus system, a simple way for applications to talk to one another. In addition to interprocess communication, D-Bus helps coordinate process lifecycle; it makes it simple and reliable to code a "single instance" application or daemon, and to launch applications and daemons on demand when their services are needed.

Higher-level bindings are available for various popular frameworks and languages (Qt, GLib, Java, Python, etc.). dbus-sharp (a fork of ndesk-dbus) is a C# implementation which targets Mono and .NET 2.0. Tmds.DBus builds on top of the protocol implementation of dbus-sharp and provides an API based on the asynchronous programming model introduced in .NET 4.5. The library targets netstandard 1.5 which means it runs on .NET 4.6.1 (Windows 7 SP1 and later) and .NET Core. You can get Tmds.DBus from NuGet.


In this section we build an example console application that writes a message when a network interface changes state. To detect the state changes we use the NetworkManager daemon's D-Bus service.

The steps include using the Tmds.DBus.Tool to generate code and then enhancing the generated code.

We use the dotnet cli to create a new console application:

$ dotnet new console -o netmon
$ cd netmon

Now we add references to Tmds.DBus in netmon.csproj. We also set the LangVersion to be able to use an async Main (C# 7.1).

<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk">
    <PackageReference Include="Tmds.DBus" Version="0.5.0" />

Let's restore to fetch these dependencies:

$ dotnet restore

Now we'll install the Tmds.DBus.Tool.

$ dotnet tool install -g Tmds.DBus.Tool

Next, we use the list command to find out some information about the NetworkManager service:

$ dotnet dbus list services --bus system | grep NetworkManager
$ dotnet dbus list objects --bus system --service org.freedesktop.NetworkManager | head -2
/org/freedesktop : org.freedesktop.DBus.ObjectManager
/org/freedesktop/NetworkManager : org.freedesktop.NetworkManager

These command show us that the org.freedesktop.NetworkManager service is on the system bus and has an entry point object at /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager which implements org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.

Now we'll invoke the codegen command to generate C# interfaces for the NetworkManager service.

$ dotnet dbus codegen --bus system --service org.freedesktop.NetworkManager

This generates a NetworkManager.DBus.cs file in the local folder.

We update Program.cs to have an async Main and instiantiate an INetworkManager proxy object.

using System;
using Tmds.DBus;
using NetworkManager.DBus;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace netmon
    class Program
        static async Task Main(string[] args)
            Console.WriteLine("Monitoring network state changes. Press Ctrl-C to stop.");

            var systemConnection = Connection.System;
            var networkManager = systemConnection.CreateProxy<INetworkManager>("org.freedesktop.NetworkManager",

            await Task.Delay(int.MaxValue);

Note that we are using the static Connection.System. Connection.System and Connection.Session provide a connection to the system bus and session bus. These static members provide a convenient way to share the same Connection throughout the application. The connection to the bus is established automatically on first use. Statefull operations (e.g. Connection.RegisterServiceAsync) are not allowed. For these use-cases you must create an instance of the Connection and manually connect it.

When we look at the INetworkManager interface in NetworkManager.DBus.cs, we see it has a GetDevicesAsync method.

Task<ObjectPath[]> GetDevicesAsync();

This method is returning ObjectPath[]. These paths refer to other objects of the D-Bus service. We can use them with CreateProxy. Instead, we'll update the method to reflect it is returning IDevice objects.

Task<IDevice[]> GetDevicesAsync();

We will now add the code to iterate over the devices and add a signal handler for the state change:

foreach (var device in await networkManager.GetDevicesAsync())
    var interfaceName = await device.GetInterfaceAsync();
    await device.WatchStateChangedAsync(
        change => Console.WriteLine($"{interfaceName}: {change.oldState} -> {change.newState}")

When we run our program and change our network interfaces (e.g. turn on/off WiFi) notifications show up:

$ dotnet run
Monitoring network state changes. Press Ctrl-C to stop.
wlp4s0: 100 -> 20

When we look up the documentation of the StateChanged signal, we find the meaning of the magical constants: enum NMDeviceState.

We can model this enumeration in C#:

enum DeviceState : uint
    Unknown = 0,
    Unmanaged = 10,
    Unavailable = 20,
    Disconnected = 30,
    Prepare = 40,
    Config = 50,
    NeedAuth = 60,
    IpConfig = 70,
    IpCheck = 80,
    Secondaries = 90,
    Activated = 100,
    Deactivating = 110,
    Failed = 120

We add the enum to NetworkManager.DBus.cs and then update the signature of the WatchStateChangedAsync so it uses DeviceState instead of uint.

Task<IDisposable> WatchStateChangedAsync(Action<(DeviceState newState, DeviceState oldState, uint reason)> action);

When we run our application again, we see more meaningful messages.

$ dotnet run
Monitoring network state changes. Press Ctrl-C to stop.
wlp4s0: Activated -> Unavailable

Further Reading