Wednesday, August 4

How I got my blackberry tethered in Debian on my eeePC

Previously I had been using my N95 to tether my eeePC and so allow me to get online wherever I was. This was brilliant when I was out and about, or at work on a day when we were allowed use of our laptops (such as Saturdays, late overtime etc).

When I upgraded to my blackberry one of the few things I didn't consider at the time was the connectivity with Linux. I never used any of the media features of my N95 and so I presumed it'd work exactly the same with my blackberry, where it'd offer the connection to my laptop without problems. I was wrong ;).

At first it appears there is _no way_ to connect your blackberry in a sensible way to a Linux PC, all it will normally offer is file storage access via mounting the sd card used to store data within the blackberry (As far as I'm aware there is still no way of accessing the "application" memory within the blackberry in Linux). This is fine if your just wanting to pull photos and videos from your blackberry, but is utterly useless if your wanting any kind of advanced functions such as tethering or syncing items to the blackberry.

Once I had plugged in my blackberry I first checked it had loaded correctly for mounting:

[ 881.144078] usb 1-4: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3
[ 881.277189] usb 1-4: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[ 881.298369] scsi3 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
[ 881.299784] usb 1-4: New USB device found, idVendor=0fca, idProduct=8004
[ 881.299798] usb 1-4: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=5, SerialNumber=3

Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0fca:8004 Research In Motion, Ltd.

So its showing up and the system has detected it, if you can't get this far then you need to look into sorting out your USB, its most likely just an option in the kernel you've missed.

The program which is commonly named for working with blackberry's is known as "Barry" (Gentoo users maybe thinking "Oi, thats one of our cows!") - The program can be found at : Net Direct however as I am using Debian I dont want to compile the source myself, seems to be more trouble than its worth as the package is already in a debian tree.

So it sounds like a simple case of just getting the program via aptitude right? Wrong, unfortunately its only in the Sid tree, and so isn't normally available as it may break your system (Personally this seems kind of backwards behaviour - you can easily break your system using your root password and debian don't stop you having that.).

I was left wondering what to do for a few hours at this point, some people told me to give up if it was in Sid as I was likely to crash and burn (which I really didn't want to do on my eeePC as reinstalling/fixing is such as pain without any input media). However someone assured me that with a package like barry, if it did all go wrong it would just be a case of removing it again, as it simply only had one dep which wasn't already in the stable tree - this dep was libbarry!

After a little more research I found I could grab the .deb files myself, and someone from #debian advised me this would be the most productive way of going about installing the application.

I grabbed both the barry-utils.deb and libbarry-0.deb from the debian site and then proceeded to install them via:

dpkg -i libbarry0_0.15-1_i386.deb
dpkg -i barry-util_0.15-1_i386.deb

Once you've done this, you should be able to connect your blackberry and using barry-utils check its connected. I'll cover more of this in my next blog post on getting your blackberry working within linux
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