As part of my investigations to the "/etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules" issue reported just now, I discovered the "/sbin/nameif" program, which reads the file "/etc/mactab" if it exists, and associates interface names with mac-address.
It has to be run prior to the interface(s) starting, so I envisage it hooked into "/etc/init.d/network" to be called only if the file "/etc/mactab" exists. "jiim-barber" on one of the debian lists offers "[ -x /sbin/nameif ] && [ -r /etc/mactab ] && /sbin/nameif " as a code-frag that could be included in "/etc/init.d/network".
The format of "/etc/mactab" is:
        #--- /etc/mactab : associate network interfaces with MAC address
        eth0    00:08:02:01:02:03
        eth1    00:08:02:01:02:04
        eth2    00:08:02:01:02:05
        #--- End
I'd assume that the default config would *not* include "/etc/mactab" which would only be created if the default udev-assignment needed to be modified.
If this feature doesn't make it into release 1.4 I'll not be upset.
Regards - Steve.
Stephen H F Ralph
Principal Computer Officer | Integration Team | ICT Services | Transform Sandwell
Sandwell MBC | Freeth Street | Oldbury | West Midlands | B69 3DE
Email: steve_ralph@sandwell.gov.uk