We asume you have a Bluetooth adapter in your computer and a Bluetooth device (such as a mobile phone or PDA) and want to exchange data between that device and your Debian system.

Install Bluetooth support:

aptitude install bluetooth

Read /usr/share/doc/bluez-utils/README.Debian.gz to get some understanding of what's going on.

You need to be able to pair devices, for which you need a passkey-agent, either this for GNOME:

aptitude install bluez-gnome

(or gnome-bluetooth)

Or this for KDE:

aptitude install kdebluetooth

On your Bluetooth device you can now try to pair. On the device you need to choose something like the "setup", "connect" or "Bluetooth" menu and then search for Bluetooth devices. You should find your Debian system, called something like debian-0, where debian is the hostname of your Debian system. On your device, select the Debian system. The device will then ask for a PIN, you can make one up. (choose four digits, say 2309 )

On your computer you will get a pop-up information balloon asking for the PIN, something like Pairing request from Phone (xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx) where Phone is the name of your phone and xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx is its MAC address.

Click on the information balloon.

Another window will pop-up. It asks for the PIN, enter the one you just made up. (e.g. 2309 ) and press [Enter].

Your phone sees that the PIN matches and shows it on its display.

Both devices are now paired.


A Broadcom bluetooth dongle may start off in hidden mode ([http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=384379 bug report here])

To fix this you can run:

# dbus-send --system --dest=org.bluez /org/bluez/hci0 org.bluez.Adapter.SetMode string:discoverable

This should probably instead be added to /etc/init.d/bluetooth.

Helpful Commands

Display your Bluetooth device (for proof that it was installed properly)

hcitool dev

Search for remote bluetooth devices

hcitool scan

KDE Issues

Since the PIN should be implemented on a user level, we need to make some changes to /etc/bluetooth/hcid.conf

comment out the line

passkey "2309";

and add the following line directly below it (Note: kdebluetooth includes the program kbluepin):

# passkey "2309";
pin_helper /usr/bin/bluez-pin;

KDE also expects a file /etc/bluetooth/link_key to be present.

# touch /etc/bluetooth/link_key
# chmod 644 /etc/bluetooth/link_key
# /etc/init.d/bluetooth restart

In KDE, run kbluetoothd. Click on the Bluetooth icon in the system tray, this loads Konqueror with the Bluetooth:// URL. You should be able to see your device and do some simple file transfers by clicking on the device and choosing the proper transfer protocol.

Scanning for the PC from your device should bring up a window in KDE that asks you for a PIN. Now you can send files to your PC (KDE should bring up a program to handle this).

Some of this information was gleamed from [http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=225703&highlight=dbus-send+-system+-dest%3Dorg.bluez+%2Forg%2Fbluez%2Fhci0+org.bluez.Adapter.SetMode+string%3Adiscoverable ubuntuformus]

HID : Human Interface Device

See also