Monday, July 26, 2010

KDE file transfer with KBluetooth

After many years being a Windows user, I took my first steps as a Linux user under Ubuntu. As I started to learn more about the GNOME desktop manager, one of the pleasing and welcome surprises was to find out how incredibly easy it was to transfer files from and to my mobile phone using Bluetooth. From that point on, I tend to use this feature more often, uploading MP3 files or wallpapers to my mobile, or downloading pictures I took from its on board camera. In Windows XP I had always avoided the matter, not willing to download a few hundred MB just to get Bluetooth file transfer to work, or simply too lazy to install Nokia's own software and have to use their specific cable.

If you have used Bluetooth file transfer in GNOME, you'll probably agree on how easy to use it really is. In my experience, the best way to go about it is to register your device first, so it's all about sending and receiving after that. The device itself appears listed from the moment it is registered and all one has to do after that is choose whether one wants to send or browse the device to retrieve files.

Starting the registration process for my device using the Device Manager.

As I started using KDE, I naturally wanted to get the same Bluetooth functionality, but I found that things were not as intuitive. Coming from the GNOME model, I wanted to register my device (A Nokia E65) so I could easily send files or browse its contents after that initial registration. Here's how I did it:

My mobile found was quickly found by the Kbluetooth Device Manager.

After starting KBluetooth, I opened the device manager and tried to register my device. The application ran a scan and found it. Unfortunately, KBluetooth claimed my device did not support input service, which made it impossible for me to complete the registration.

KBluetooth apparently didn't like my device.

I found this error message surprising, especially because my device was fully compatible and could easily be registered under GNOME. I then started the usual "Googleing" process to try and find some more information about this error message. I found a THREAD that had been open for some time on the subject. If you read that thread, several models from different manufacturers are still not supported. In my case that meant I didn't have an intuitive way to browse or retrieve files from my phone.

KBluetooth provides an easy way to send files to any detected device.

Luckily, sending files to the device was quite simple, but how could I retrieve files from it? I was thinking of using the PC as the control mechanism, and it never occurred to me that I could actually send files from my mobile to the PC!! Somehow I thought that "input service" error would make it fail.

I gave it a try one day, and Voila! worked like a charm. All I had to do was change KBluetooth preferences > Bluetooth Adaptors and make my computer visible. After that, I could send any file I wanted from my phone to my computer.

This solution is very simple, so much so that I was ashamed I had not found it earlier. The downside is that it always requires a new device scan before sending files, which can be a bit annoying, but at least I can send and download files to and from my mobile using KDE's own KBluetooth. Hope this helps in case you were having similar problems.

Note that it is possible to install GNOME Bluetooth manager to work around this problem, but I didn't want to go for that solution.

Thanks for reading


  1. Back for Comment #2 :)

    I have actually got a new phone and tired similar things as you did. I was running Linux Mint!!

    The best application out there that I found that works a charm is Wammu -

    Basically an interface to a terminal application to interact with your phone! Best thing about it is that is supports way more functions that GNOME or KDE have for there Bluetooth managers.

    Note - Im pretty sure that you will have to have a connected phone with Kbluetooth before you can use Wammu... so the post is still relevant !!


  2. Nice stuff!

    I will give it a try when I have second, thanks for the info!

    Take care

  3. I went through this a while back. I read an article on blueman bluetooth. I installed it and setup my phone. I later removed it, but kdebluetooth worked. I guess it was using the config files that blueman setup. Kdebluetooth is useless by it's self. Why can't it setup bluetooth connections like gnome/blueman? It is in the Ubuntu repos.