Palm Centro hotsync via Bluetooth on Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex)
November 2, 2008
I worked all this out with a lot of help from the tutorial on pilot-link.org – changing things to suit the Centro’s slightly different interface, and putting in Ubuntu 8.10 specific stuff.
Make your PC visible
Go to System->Preferences->Bluetooth, choose “Temporary visible” and set the slider to 30 minutes. This should give you enough time to pair it with the Centro – if not, you can always set it again. If you aren’t worried about security, you can set it to “Always visible”. Leave this window open – we’ll use it soon.
Set up Bluetooth on the Centro
First, ensure that bluetooth is enabled by going to Prefs->Bluetooth. Make sure that you have set a device name, and set visibility to “Visible” (you might want to set it back to “Hidden” when we’re finished with the setup). Screenshots (although out of date) can be found at
if you need help.
Second, pair the Centro with your PC. From Prefs->Bluetooth, tap on “Setup Devices”, “Trusted Devices” and then “Add Device”. Make sure that “Nearby devices” is selected from the drop-down list, and select the PC from the list. Tap “OK”. Now you need to switch back to the Bluetooth screen on the PC, and click on the “+” sign. Click “Forward”. The Centro should appear in the list – click on it and then click “Forward” again. A PIN code will be shown on the PC screen – type this code into the dialog box that appears on the Centro. The two devices are now paired. Tap “Done” three times to get back to the Prefs menu.
You now need to add a Connection profile on the Centro. Go to Prefs->Connections and add a new connection. Give it a sensible name (e.g. “BT To Linux”), choose “Connect to PC”, “Via Bluetooth”, and then tap on “tap to find”. Choose your PC from the list, then tap “OK” twice to save the connection.
Next you need to add a Network profile on the Centro to use this connection. Go to Prefs->Network, and choose “New” from the drop-down menu. Give the profile a name (e.g. “Linux”) and choose your new connection from the list. Leave the username and password blank.
Finally, open HotSync program, and select Options > Modem Sync Prefs > Network in order to be able to select the newly-made network connection. (Thanks very much for David and LF pointing this out in the comments!).
Re-open the network connection screen (Prefs -> Network), choose the new Service that you just created, and switch back to the PC for the next part of the configuration.
Set up dial-up networking on the PC
This method uses dund, which is a part of bluez that is apparently deprecated. I tried really hard to find an alternative, but I couldn’t – if anyone knows about it, leave a comment! So you need to install the bluez-compat package:
sudo aptitude install bluez-compat
create a new file /etc/ppp/peers/dun:
115200 10.0.1.8:10.0.1.40 local ms-dns <enter your dns server address here> noauth debug
Start up dund temporarily on the PC (as root):
dund --nodetach --listen --persist --msdun call dun
Now click “connect” on the Network profile screen on the Centro. You should see many lines of output on the PC, followed by the “Connect” button changing to “Disconnect” on the Centro. If so, you have connected successfully! At this point, add the following line to /etc/rc.local so it will start on reboot:
dund --listen --persist --msdun call dun
Set up Hotsync
On the Centro, go to HotSync. Select “Modem” (rather than “Local”) in the middle of the screen. Choose “Linux” from the list below the HotSync icon. Next choose “Primary PC Setup…” from the menu. Put the IP address of the PC (in my case 10.0.1.8) into the “Primary PC Address” field, and leave the other fields blank. Tap “OK”, and choose “LANSync Prefs…” from the menu. Make sure that “LANSync” is enabled, rather than “Local HotSync”.
Now to test the connection, issue the following commands on the PC:
sudo aptitude install pilot-link pilot-xfer -p net:any -l
Tap the hotsync icon on the Centro. If the connection works, you should see a list of your Centro’s files appear in your PC’s terminal window! You can now sync over bluetooth by setting the serial port to “net:any” in the pilot sync tool of your choice – I use jpilot.
Supposedly it is possible to share your internet connection from the PC to the Centro by running this command as root:
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
It didn’t work for me though – perhaps AT&T have locked down Blazer on the Centro so that it only works through MEdia Net?