Ubuntu and Bluetooth

In theory, Bluetooth is a great technology, but in practice, I find Bluetooth implementations on many operating systems and drivers for many sticks immature, unstable, not very well integrated into the OS and cumbersome to use. For example, I find the standard Bluetooth integration in Ubuntu 10.04 too rudimentary to be of much use. But then I stumbled over this web page which describes how to easily integrate the Blueman project in Ubuntu for using a mobile phone as a 3G gateway to the Internet over Bluetooth (dial-up functionality). Yes, Bluetooth is too slow these days to make full use of 3G speeds beyond but in most cases, the 2-3 MBit/s that can be squeezed over the Bluetooth link are sufficient. Also, Blueman makes file transfers from and to a mobile phone a quick and easy thing and the integration into the native file browser is great. So here's the short version of how to make it work:

  • Install Blueman: sudo apt-get install blueman
  • Hide the default Bluetooth manager icon in the tray by deactivating it in "System -> Preferences -> Bluetooth Manager"
  • Plug in a Bluetooth dongle and the Blueman icon will appear in the tray. The rest is pretty much self explaining