When I got my new laptop, one of the features it had that my previous one didn’t was Bluetooth support. There are a few Bluetooth related utilities for Gnome that let you send and receive SMS messages and a few other things, but a big missing feature is the ability to transfer files to and from the phone easily.
Ideally, I’d be able to browse the phone’s file system using Nautilus. Luckily, the Maemo guys have already done the hard work of writing a gnome-vfs module that speaks the OBEX FTP protocol. I had a go at compiling it on my laptop (running Ubuntu Edgy), and you can see the result below:
Browsing files and viewing images stored on my phone
There are a few rough edges:
- While I can get a list of discovered devices at the location obex:///, it displays the raw bluetooth addresses rather than device names. Furthermore, the files displayed here are symlinks to the appropriate obex://[$ADDRESS]/ URLs, which aren’t that useful given that gnome-vfs does not support symlinks pointing to other schemes or authorities. This could be fixed by generating .desktop files instead, which would make it possible to provide nice icons too.
- Can’t rename files. This might be a limitation of the OBEX FTP protocol though: the man page for the command line obexftp client says moves only work with Siemens phones.
- Doesn’t seem to handle devices disappearing very well — when I tried turning off Bluetooth on my phone and told Nautilus to reload the window, Nautilus hung and stopped redrawing til I turned Bluetooth on again.
I don’t have any ready made binaries for others to try at this point. Below are some notes for anyone else who wants to try building it:
- You’ll need the osso-gwconnect, osso-gwobex and osso-gnomevfs-extra modules. I grabbed them from Maemo Subversion.
- When trying to build a debian package for osso-gwconnect, I removed the libosso-dev and mce-dev build dependencies, and made an equivalent change to the configure arguments in debian/rules. The configure script also asks for BlueZ 3.2, while Edgy only has 3.1. The package built fine when I decreased the minimum version requirement.
- You’ll need to build osso-gwconnect and osso-gwobex before osso-gnomevfs-extra. There are a few build problems with this last module:
- The autogen.sh script asks for automake 1.8.x specifically, but works fine with the current 1.9.x releases.
- I had to change a dbus_connection_disconnect() call to dbus_connection_close() in obex-module/src/om-dbus.c.
- You only need to build the obex-utils and obex-module directories. There are other bits in this module that you probably don’t want, and some bits like the replacement GTK filesystem backend didn’t build for me.
With a little bit of work, this would fit into the main Gnome desktop quite well. When talking to Bastien a while back, he said that the extra dbus daemons shouldn’t really be necessary, so it might be worth trying to bypass them.