basesystem has no ping capability (Bug #320)
There are at least two providers of the ping command in the grimoires, yet neither is included in the base system. Most distros are currently using iputils over netkit, which I fully support since netkit has no IPv6 functionality.
Because of the dependencies/conflicts between iputils-base/netkit-base, it's likely worthwhile to settle on a standard. I've noticed at least one spell dependent on netkit-ping (gnome-nettool), which will cause a lot of grief with iputils based systems.
Given increasing deployment of IPv6, I propose we standardize on iputils, and include it in the basesystem dependencies as soon as possible.
No issue with an optional multi-dependency at all...
Point is, some form of it should be available to the base system.
Established installs will often do what they want - fping/ping6/netkit/whatever.
But, if you're installing a new system and aren't sure whether the network drivers are installed/working properly, only having arp, rarp, ifconfig, and route as your only innately installed troubleshooting tools is problematic. Even worse if you deploy IPv6-only systems much of the time.
Using wget to verify end to end connectivity lacks some level of elegance ;-)