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Finally Synching my Blackberry on Linux

Some readers may recall all of the attempts that I’ve made in the past to synchronize my Blackberry with Mozilla’s Thunderbird email and calendar client. During each of these tries, I had relied on the OpenSync framework, along with the Barry project for communication with my phone, and a number of different solutions to link into Thunderbird. At various times, these included the opensync-plugin-iceowl, opensync-plugin-sunbird, and bluezync packages, none of which yielded success.

While running GNOME on my Debian laptop, I had managed to successfully synchronize my phone with the Evolution mail client. Even so, I continued to work at Thunderbird synchronization because I disliked Evolution, seeing it as a Microsoft Outlook clone, which is a platform that I have had considerable problems with in the past.

With my recent installation of Kubuntu 9.10 on my PC, I have been exposed to the Kontact PIM suite, and have thus far been impressed. Kmail is a solid email client, although the way that it handles the setup of multiple email accounts is confusing to say the least, forcing the user to create a sending, receiving, and identity object for each account, and then to link them together. Likewise, Kontact is a decent application, but is sorely lacking basic GUI configuration options, something I never thought that I would say about a KDE app. Finally, Kalendar does everything that one would expect, and allows the user to display appointments in a number of useful ways. All have excellent integration, and live in a tray widget that uses the native KDE notifications system to let me know when something important has happened.

Most importantly however, I managed to get the entire Kontact suite to sync with my Blackberry after about five minutes of playing around in the terminal. Unlike during previous installation attempts, I found the latest stable Barry packages available in my repositories, so installation was a snap. I simply added the following packages to my system:

  • libopensync0 v0.22-2
  • multisync-tools v0.92
  • libbarry0 v0.14-2.1
  • opensync-plugin-kdepim v0.22-4
  • opensync-plugin-barry v0.14-2.1

From a terminal, I then used the msynctool application and the following steps to do a little bit of configuration:

  1. msynctool –listplugins if the install went well, this command should list both kdepim-sync and barry-sync as available plugins
  2. msynctool –addgroup BB create an OpenSync sync profile for my Blackberry called BB
  3. msynctool –addmember BB barry-sync add the barry-sync plugin to the BB sync group
  4. msynctool –addmember BB kdepim-sync add the kdepim-sync plugin to the BB sync group
  5. msynctool –showgroup BB this lists each of the plugins that we just added to the BB sync group, along with their member numbers. In my case, barry-sync was member number 1, and kdepim-sync was member number 2. The output also showed that while barry-sync still needed to be configured, kdepim-sync had no configuration options to be set.
  6. msynctool –configure BB 1 configures member number 1 of the sync group BB. In my case, this was barry-sync, and simply popped a config file in the nano text editor. All that had to be changed in the file was the PIN of the Blackberry that the plugin would attempt to sync with.
  7. msynctool –sync BB actually performed the synchronization process. For safety’s sake, I made sure that Kontact was fully closed before running this command.

And that’s it! In the future, I simply have to run the msynctool –sync BB command to synchronize my Blackberry with Kontact. That’s one more reason to stick with Linux – Blackberry synchronization that isn’t tied to Microsoft Outlook!




On my Laptop, I am running Linux Mint 12.
On my home media server, I am running Ubuntu 12.04
Check out my profile for more information.
  1. John Charlton
    February 10th, 2010 at 19:15 | #1

    Thank you for the instructions. I followed your instructions and I am having trouble syncing with my Blackberry Storm (model 9530). I had to change permissions on /dev/bus/usb to make the usb writeable then barrybackup worked but not msynctool –sync BB

    I am getting a time out error:
    Member 1 of type barry-sync had an error while connecting: (-1, error sending control message: Operation not permitted): Probe: GetConfiguration failed
    Member 2 of type kdepim-sync just disconnected
    All clients have disconnected
    The sync failed: Unable to connect one of the members
    Error while synchronizing: Unable to connect one of the members

    John

  2. John Charlton
    February 11th, 2010 at 09:47 | #2

    It did work on my laptop after:

    sudo chmod -R a+rwx /dev/bus/usb

    Thank you for the instructions.

    –John

  3. Jon F
    February 11th, 2010 at 16:00 | #3

    Thanks John, sorry that I didn’t have a chance to get back to you sooner.

  4. Louis
    February 14th, 2010 at 16:28 | #4

    I did all of the above steps but the following happens:

    owner@ubuntu:~$ msynctool –sync BB
    Synchronizing group “BB”
    Member 2 of type kdepim-sync just connected
    Member 1 of type barry-sync had an error while connecting: Unable to find PIN 3009efe3
    Member 2 of type kdepim-sync just disconnected
    All clients have disconnected
    The sync failed: Unable to connect one of the members
    Error while synchronizing: Unable to connect one of the members

  5. Louis
    February 14th, 2010 at 16:33 | #5

    BTW the PIN it say it cant find is not the pin on my phone or the one I entered

  6. Jon F
    February 16th, 2010 at 14:35 | #6

    Louis,
    You should probably check the configuration file for the blackberry again and make sure that it contains the correct PIN for your device. If it does not, correct it and try the sync process again. If it does, there may be a larger error with the software, and you should probably talk to either the Barry developers or the OpenSync developers.

  7. Enrique
    July 1st, 2010 at 06:38 | #7

    Hai, i’m verry pleased with this solution, but i’ve the same error message as above. I think i did’nt configure the msynctool –configure BB 1 well. Please can you publish a screenshot how you enter the pin in the text?

    Here’s mine:

    # Comments are preceded by a ‘#’ mark at the beginning of a line.
    # The config format is a set of lines of .
    #
    # Keywords available:
    #
    # DebugMode – If present, verbose USB debug output will be enabled
    #
    # Device – If present, it is followed by the following values:
    # PIN number – 21079498
    # sync calendar – 1 to sync calendar, 0 to skip
    # sync contacts – 1 to sync contacts, 0 to skip
    #
    # Password secret – If present, specifies the device’s password in plaint$
    #

    #DebugMod

    Thanx, Enrique

  8. Jon F
    July 3rd, 2010 at 18:04 | #8

    @Enrique looks like you’re missing the line that configures the device. You’ll need to put a line in that looks like this:
    Device[tab][PIN#][tab]0[tab]0

  9. techie
    July 20th, 2010 at 13:16 | #9

    @John Charlton
    I found that the sudo chmod trick is not a permanent solution. The blackberry picks up a different bus and device location each time you plug it in, or restart. I found that by modifying the 10-blackberry.rules file accordingly, you can create a permanent solution. Here are the steps (I appologize if they are difficult to follow)

    1. open a terminal window

    2. type btool -M (you should get the operation not permitted error if you’re having this problem)

    3. type the command “lsusb” to get a listing of all usb devices plugged into your system

    4. Find the one listed as Research In Motion and write down everything you see listed for that device

    5. in the terminal, enter “gedit /etc/udev/rules.d/10-blackberry.rules” (without quotes)

    6. Here, I copied the top two entries (four lines) under newer devices with USB storage

    7. I pasted what I had copied at the bottom of that page, and verified (or modified) the part in both entries: SYSFS{idVendor}==”ofca” (ofca should represent first part of the ID from the lsusb command that you wrote down)

    8. Next I modified the part of the script (both entries): SYSFS{idProduct}==”0004″ (in my case I had to change it to SYSFS{idProduct}==”0008″ (the number should correspond to the last part of the ID right of the colon from the LSUSB command that you wrote down)

    9. Save the file

    10. Reboot the udev service (or just restart your machine)

    In my case everything worked, and I did not have any further permission issues. The blackberry device syncs perfectly every time.

  10. Jon F
    July 22nd, 2010 at 07:42 | #10

    @techie – Thanks for the contribution! Stuff like this is always helpful to other readers who are having similar issues.

  11. September 13th, 2010 at 19:12 | #11

    First like to say thanks!!!!
    this works with the calender part just have to configure the contacts.
    also have anyone tried using 2 blackberry’s would like to sync with wifes phone and have it all on 1 calender.
    once again great job!!

  12. malcor
    November 16th, 2010 at 14:49 | #12

    Hi,

    great work, unfortunately my problem is a little different, maybe you know something? This is error msg I get when syncing:

    Synchronizing group “BB”
    libopensync-kdepim-plugin(7360)/kio (KDirWatch) KDirWatchPrivate::removeEntry: doesn’t know “/home/marco/.kde/share/apps/kabc”
    Member 2 of type kdepim-sync just connected
    Member 1 of type barry-sync had an error while connecting: Unable to find PIN
    Member 2 of type kdepim-sync just disconnected
    All clients have disconnected
    The sync failed: Unable to connect one of the members
    Error while synchronizing: Unable to connect one of the members

    I guess its about the kabc, but no clou^^

  13. malcor
    November 16th, 2010 at 14:59 | #13

    i got it, i took the wrong PIN, but thanks, this a the best sync tutorial for my bb 8810 that ive found so far!! good job!

  14. Jon F
    November 21st, 2010 at 14:52 | #14

    Malcor,

    Glad to hear that you got it to work.

    Jon F

  15. sola
    December 1st, 2010 at 18:12 | #15

    It seems that it is important to use TAB characters as separators in the barry-sync config file in the “Device” line and the Password line.

  16. January 12th, 2011 at 00:46 | #16

    There is a BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Linux —> http://linberry.webcindario.com get ir free!!!

  17. TWOHOT
    February 7th, 2011 at 10:58 | #17

    PuntoAzul :
    There is a BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Linux —> http://linberry.webcindario.com get ir free!!!

    That site is not in English sir … can you translate :)

  18. AndrewS
    November 7th, 2011 at 12:42 | #18

    Hello

    I know this thread was started a while ago, but I just found it. The sync process with my BB 9105 seems to work fine, but where does the data go within Kontact??? I think I must be missing something…

    TIA

    Andrew

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