Ubuntu Linux: Connecting with the Bluetooth Manager

Neither my work nor home installation of Ubuntu Gutsy 7.10 had Bluetooth Manager working out of the box. But it required only a little bit of tweaking.

I have a Nokia 6230 which is Bluetooth capable.  It also has a 1mpx camera, which I use every now again and used to download to my Windows machine.

Anyway, I was hoping that the Bluetooth connection on Ubuntu Gutsy would work straight out of the box and that I need only plug in my Bluetooth dongle.  Alas, it wasn’t that easy.  Nevertheless, I quickly had it working on my work computer and as I’m now left having to repeat the same steps at home, I thought I’d share the love.


Plug in the Bluetooth Dongle

A seemingly obvious first step, but with us guys who come from Windows to Linux, it’s better to start from step 0. Make sure the Bluetooth Dongle is plugged in and the light is flashing, which at least means it’s powered up.  While you’re at it, enable Bluetooth on your phone (if like mine it’s not permanently enabled).

Ubuntu’s Bluetooth Manager

My installation of Ubuntu 7.10 had the Bluetooth Manager icon sitting next to the date & time by default.  It’s a very vanilla installation, so unless you’ve changed anything on yours, that’s where you’ll find it.

Now instinct had me right-click on the icon, but nothing happened. Without thinking, left-clicking was the next reflex and that popped-up a box with 3 options:

  • Preferences
  • About (obvious, warrants no explanation)
  • Browse Device

Browse Device

This seems to be the obvious choice, however, once the Browse Device box launches, you relise there’s nothing inside.  This is where eventually your devices will show up, but we have to go fetch them first.

Preferences

There are three tabs in here. The first one is named for your device/computer, the second is services and the third is general.

On the first tab

The first option is to set how visible you want your adapter to be.  I just chose ‘other devices can connect’, because you can control who does what.

The adapter name is what you want to call your little toy,  class of device will define what it is (mine’s a desktop computer) and bonded devices shows what devices you’re connected with, which should be empty on first load.

On the Services Tab

I think what you see here depends on your Bluetooth Dongle, but I had the following services: Input, Serial, Network & Audio. I ticked input and audio, because that’s the extent of what I want to use my Bluetooth for.

Once you’ve ticked the services, you can then highlight the service and a box will appear underneath it, where you can add a device specific to the service.  What should happen is:

  • Highlight the relevant service
  • Click the Add button under Input Devices
  • A Create Device box opens up, tick Show All Devices
  • It should show your Bluetooth-enabled devices.
  • Highlight and click connect.
  • It will think for a few seconds and disappear as if all went well.
  • You will then see the device when you right-click on the Bluetooth Manager icon and click Browse device…
  • However, chances are, when you try to connect, Ubuntu will give you a Bluetooth Manager error which says: “obex://[00:e0:03:47:f0:92]” is not a valid location. Please check the spelling and try again.”

General Tab

Before I tell you how to fix that error, just this about the General Tab. This is where you set by who and how your Bluetooth device can be accessed. If you tick Automatically Authorise incoming requests, it means anybody can connect to your device.  If you’re looking for trouble, tick it.

Hardware database: leave it ticked, it will select the appropriate driver for your device automatically.

Notification Area: I’ve set mine to display when adapter is present.

How to solve the problem

So you tried to use the Bluetooth Manager on Ubuntu to connect to your Bluetooth device, but you came up with this error: “obex://[00:e0:03:47:f0:92]” is not a valid location. Please check the spelling and try again.”

The fix is in the updated version of the software that Ubuntu’s Bluetooth Manager uses. Here’s how to fix it:

  • Go to Applications – Accessories – Terminal
  • Copy (CTRL+C) this instruction: sudo apt-get install gnome-vfs-obexftp
  • In the terminal windows, paste (CTRL+SHIFT+V) the instruction
  • Hit enter and type the root password when prompted (if you’re not logged in as root)
  • It will tell you what it’s going to do, so if you accept type ‘y’ and enter
  • Wait until it has downloaded and installed the software
  • Once it’s done, close the terminal window

It’s fixed! If you already followed the steps in the Tabs section, you can now right-click on the Bluetooth Manager icon, choose Browse device… and choose your device from the list. Highlight, click connect. On my phone it asked for a password to authorise the connection. Type it and on your computer it will say that Bluetooth Manager has an authorisation request – type the same password and up comes the directory of your phone.

If you can’t see your device when you’re selecting Browse device…, then try repeating the steps above under the Settings Tab.

Update (09 Jun 08): I installed Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron a month or so ago and tonight plugged in my Blue Tooth dongle for the first time on the new install. I wanted to connect with my phone, same as above, and it worked without having to do anything. So if you’re not using Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron and you have this problem, upgrading will solve this and various other problems for you as well.

3 Comments

  • Mike B

    11 March 2008 at 18:19

    u rock!

  • 1Earth

    11 March 2008 at 20:43

    Hey Mike – can I assume you managed to fix your Bluetooth issues 😀

  • Karl

    18 May 2008 at 20:27

    Hi, I installed the gnome-vfs-obexftp package yet it still displays the error.

    and worse yet, if I try and connect twice, my bluetooth keyboard and mouse stop working, but it was doing that before I installed the package as well.

    To fix, I pull out the dongle and reinsert it then it works again.

    back to hcitool scan/sudo pand –connect/sudo hidd –connect for me..

    maybe something in my setup is just wrong.. bluetooth seems to be very buggy and locks up a lot for me when I use GUI tools like 'send to' and bluetooth preferences, but I've pretty much worked most things out like keyboard, mouse and sharing a 3G internet connection from a mobile phone without using the GUI.

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