The Netbook Newbie's Guide to Linux
Back to the Bluez
Episode 5 I opened up my Acer Aspire One again after a prolonged interval while I was involved in a very different project and was puzzled to discover that Live Update was offering me a "Bluetooth patch". It's not just that the hardware doesn't have Bluetooth - that's easily fixed by plugging in a dongle - but even if you do plug in a dongle, the operating system remains blissfully ignorant of it. I assumed this was because there's no Bluetooth support in the kernel supplied with the AA1's version of Linpus.
I decided to install the update anyway - with some reservations: see Is it Evil. The standard Linux Bluetooth software suite is Bluez, and presumably the Acer offering was based on this, so with hope rising in my heart I plugged in my subminiature Bluetooth dongle. You can pick these little fellers up in Maplins for around £20, but my preference was for an eBay purchase, which cost me all of £3.40 - including delivery!
When these things are conferring happily with the operating system a tiny blue light flashes in the depth of their being. The light can be faint, and you might need to cup your hands over the device to see it, but it's there. I cupped and peered. Alas, there was no blue light. Damn.
This could mean one of two things: either I was right about there being no Bluetooth kernel support, or the device itself was for some reason inherently unrecognisable by Acer's Linpus - although I knew it worked OK with Windows. A simple command line utility solved that dilemma straight away:
My lsusb output
...and there it is, the little darling. British, too. A device that the
lsusb 'list USB' utility could find, but the kernel didn't know how to use.
Clearly, what was missing were the relevant kernel modules - but see What's Really Missing. I can understand why Acer might omit Bluetooth hardware, and therefore core Bluetooth software from the machine, but to issue a "Bluetooth patch" that adds the tools without the core kernel modules seems totally daft.
I queried Acer UK marketing about this, and I'm still waiting for them to get back to me.
Meanwhile, we can fix the problem ourselves, thanks to a generous contribution from a discussion group contributor called linker3000 in the Aspire One User Group.
Patch what patch?
I had no idea there was an "official" Acer bluetooth patch; at least my attempts at Windows update er I mean AA1 update (whatever it's called) have never offered it to me.
I have got about three-quarters way through the incredibly faffy procedure in this article and had some success using one or both of two different "dollar fifty" bluetooth dongles from dealextreme.com
Bluetooth on my AA1 does actually "work" in the sense that it can scan around the area and get responses from local devices. Sadly any attempt at a working ppp connection via my phone seems doomed; "no route to host" from the l2ping seems to be the scuppering factor.
Also the very presence of the netbook in the same room now seems to send a previously working Nokia PC Suite on an unrelated machine into a dither.
I have to say that if you get a 3G Huawei E160G dongle for the AA1 it just plugs straight in and works (via the inbuilt Mobile Partner software) so actually I wish I'd done that now instead of rashly buying a 3G phone.
Just installed EEEBUNTU on my Aspire one ( w HDD) and am well happy with it. The only mod I've made is to use Synaptic to add Evolution using a full intrepid DVD for a repository. Added a 3, G3 dongle for when I'm out and about and it worked as soon as I plugged it in. Have previously made assorted mods to Linpus (some from these articles) but this is *much* better.
I don't use Bluetooth but there's a configuration option for it so I guess it's set up.
there are lots of versions of linux - and you are aware there are more than one version of windows? Would this bluetooth work if plugged into windows 95 - no. Windows 98 - no. Windows 2000 - no. XP - probably. Vista - probably.
Like I said , there are lots of linuxes. Its just a pity that Acer have a crap one.
But its ok as its linux to totally generalise and assume as it doesn't work on MY COMPUTER then it will never ever work on anyone elses.
Bluetooth on eeepc
Bluetooth on EEE pc 901 worked right out of the box...
no setup, no nothing: turn it on using the button to turn on networks; connect to the bluetooth app you want and download whatever you want to be downloading.
I dropped Linpus as soon as I could because almost everything I tried to install failed with a dependency error. It seems that Acer didn't put as much effort into the quality control of the software as they did the hardware Just install Easy Peasy Ubuntu Netbook Remix (http://www.geteasypeasy.com/) and then it just works. Both Cambridge Silicon Radio and Broadcom work with no configuration.