Connecting a Linux PC and PalmOS PDA via Bluetooth
This document describes how to set up a PPP connection between a
Palm PDA and a Linux PC. Once you give your PDA an IP address, you
can share your internet connection with it or/and do all sorts of
interesting stuff with it. I decided to write this guide down and
publish it, as I had been asked a number of times how to do
I tested this using a Fedora Core 1 Linux PC, equipped with a
generic ("Billionton") Bluetooth USB dongle and a Palm Tungsten
T3, running PalmOS 5.2.1, which comes with bluetooth built
in. AFAIK, the palm does not support Bluetooth PAN. So this
document describes how to connect using RFCOMM and PPP. Your
milleage may vary with other versions/hardware.
This document is split into two parts: PC configuration and PDA
configuration. I suspect that the PC configuration part can be
used to connect any other bluetooth-enabled device.
Setting up your Linux PC.
You need the BlueZ Linux
Bluetooth protocol stack. Presumably, another one would do as
well. The installation of BlueZ is beyond the scope of this
document - most recent distributions (like Fedora) come with
it. If that's not the case with yours, refer to the documentation
on the BlueZ site. Your
bluetooth adaptor should be supported by your kernel for these
instructions to work. Mine was supported via hci_usb.o
- Edit /etc/bluetooth/hcid.conf, set a name for your
- For security, edit /etc/bluetooth/pin and enter a pin
number needed for a device to connect to your PC.
- Turn on your palm. Turn on bluetooth and make it
- On the PC again, run hcitool scan to discover the
palm. Note the device's bluetooth address (something
- We need to set up a configuration file for the ppp
daemon. Create a new file called /etc/ppp/peers/btpalm
and add the following:
noauth #we require no authentication
local #local connection
asyncmap 0 #charmap
idle 1000 #disconnection after 1000 idle seconds
noipx #disable novell ipx
passive #the client (palm) initiates the connection
silent #no info needed
192.168.2.1:192.168.2.2 #Server:client ip address
This will give your linux PC the address 192.168.2.1 (for the
ppp interface connecting the pc to the palm) and the
PDA 192.168.2.2. Change these values if they're not
suitable/are taken etc, but make note of them.
- Edit /etc/bluetooth/rfcomm.conf and add the following:
device 00:00:00:00:00:00; #that's your palm's bluetooth address (found above)
channel 3; #that't the channel that the T3 seems to be using
comment "t3"; #change that to what you want (no difference)
- Make sure that you have the rfcomm devices
(/dev/rfcomm?. Fedora doesn't. If you don't have them, create them (under /dev, do mknod /dev/rfcomm0 c 216 0, etc).
- Start your bluetooth interface. hciconfig hci0 up
should do it, or start your bluetooth service if your
distribution provides one.
- Start the service discovery protocol (sdptool add SP)
and start the LAP (LAN Access over PPP) daemon. You need to
listen for incomming connections, and start the btpalm ppp
script that we wrote above. The command is dund -s call
btpalm (or whatever you called your ppp script). You may automate this, by putting these
commands at a startup script, like /etc/rc.d/rc.local
or what your distribution provides.
- Enable IP forwarding (echo 1 >
- Enable masquerading/nat. My distribution (most recent
ones), use iptables. A simple rule (what I use), would be
/sbin/iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -s
192.168.2.2/255.255.255.255 -o ppp0 -j MASQUERADE. This
assumes that you're sharing the connection at ppp0 (my ADSL
modem) to the computer at address 192.168.2.2 (the Palm PDA,
according to the pppd configuration above). Change it, if you
want to share your primary ethernet connection (eth0), or if
you assigned the palm another ip address. You can automate
the last two steps, by putting them in a startup script, as
- That's all for the server!
Setting up the Palm
Now you can do all kinds of neat stuff on your palm, such as read and
write email, browse the web, use vnc, ssh, smb etc :-)
- Turn on bluetooth
- Set up a trust between the PC and the palm. You will need to
input the pin you set up before.
- Set up a "connection" (as palm puts it) between your palm
and the PC via bluetooth. I presume that this is the ppp
interface configuration side on the palm.
- Set up a network connection, using the "connection" set up
before. No username or password is needed unless you set one
up in the server configuration side. Add a DNS server or two
to the connection (the ones you use in your desktop should be
ok). If any gateway is required (it shouldn't AFAIK), use the IP
address you gave the PC in the pppd configuration above.
- Connect! That's all :-)
Last modified: Tue Dec 9 10:18:43 GMT 2003