BlueZ 4.x for Intrepid

Mario Limonciello superm1 at
Thu Oct 2 07:24:16 BST 2008

Hi Everyone:

Unfortunately rather late in the development cycle it was brought to my
attention by Emmet and Onkar that some major regressions had developed
for the BlueZ 3.x stack regarding input device pairing.  Returning back
to an earlier snapshot wasn't a good option because a lot of bugs that
focused around the improvement with Symbian devices were resolved in the
versions in Intrepid.  The jist of the regression centered around
keyboard pairing working, but after the device was paired, it wasn't

As a data point for comparison, the idea was thrown around to try out
the 4.x stack to see if this issue existed there too.  I did some
initial packaging for the 4.x stack and placed it on the bluetooth team
PPA [1].  The issue was resolved, but unfortunately in the time period
between 3.x and 4.x, the entire API changed and the project migrated
onto a new version control system.  This makes pulling out any relevant
fixes to the exact issue quite difficult in a timely fashion. 

Switching to the 4.x stack does have the other significant advantage of
providing a much more user friendly experience along with a pairing
wizard.  I've been able to flawlessly pair to multiple headsets,
keyboards, mice, and a Blackberry.

Being that the problem is resolved in the 4.x stack, Emmet, Onkar,
Michael Casadeveall, Steve Kowalik and myself worked on bringing over
all other library related changes to the PPA as well. [2]

At this point the packages on the Bluetooth PPA should be in very good
shape and significant improvements over what's currently in Intrepid. [1]

So, anyone who has an interest in anything Bluetooth related for
Intrepid, I ask that you try to test these packages and look for any
regressions in your related packages. [3]   Particularly, the KDE
experience hasn't been tested by anyone with BlueZ 4.x, so if a KDE user
could comment a little bit on this, that would be quite helpful.

Here's the basic overview of what you can do to help test:

   1. Start out with an up to date Intrepid system.
   2. Add in the Bluetooth PPA as described in [1]
   3. Perform an APT upgrade.  You'll likely see a lot of other
      seemingly unrelated applications updated.  This is for the
      libbluetooth2->libbluetooth3 transition [2].
   4. Restart the GUI
         1. If you are on gnome, killall bluetooth-applet &&
            bluetooth-applet to restart the GUI
         2. There should be an equivalent for KDE, but i'm not aware of
            what it is
   5. Attempt to pair and use your relevant devices.  Gnome users, use
      the nice pretty wizard now.
         1. Input devices should work immediately when paired.
         2. Audio devices will create another ALSA device, but it's not
            representable as a "card" to ALSA.  You can test these with:
            aplay -D headset $FILENAME
         3. OBEX transfers should work to phones or other OBEX targets.
         4. If you set up gnome-user-share, OBEX transfers should work
            to your computer too

Provided nothing detrimental comes up, these packages should ideally be
uploaded to Intrepid shortly after beta.  I'll try to address a few
things that might be coming up:

    * Hildon patch for bluez-gnome.  This was dropped, but Emmet wrote a
      new patch that makes bluez-gnome use a horizontal layout that fits
      well on smaller devices.  Currently it's in the bluez-gnome
      package on the PPA and It's being discussed upstream right now for
      widespread adoption.
    * Doc Team & Translation team.  I sent an email to their mailing
      lists a few days ago, but I didn't see any traffic about how this
      will affect them.  I expect it's more beneficial than anything for
      doc team as the documentation is much easier with a Point and
      Click interface.
    * API changes.  Any packages that were rdepends on libbluetooth and
      showed obvious problems, we went through wrote a handful of
      patches for to make them work with BlueZ 4.x.  Once the final call
      is made on bringing 4.x into Intrepid, we'll submit those to the
      appropriate bug trackers.

Thanks in advance!


Mario Limonciello
superm1 at

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