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Wireless Hacks by Rob Flickenger

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Bluetooth File Transfers in Linux

Exchange data freely between your Bluetooth device and your Linux box.

Getting on the Net [Hack #17] from anywhere your cell phone works is pretty darn cool, but your phone probably has other features. Maybe someone messaged you a photo from their family barbecue that you want to copy over to your laptop. Or maybe you just want to install some applications on your shiny new phone.

The heart of file transfer over Bluetooth is called the Object Exchange , or OBEX, protocol, a binary file transfer protocol run over not merely Bluetooth, but also Infrared and even generic TCP/IP. The OpenOBEX project at http://openobex.sf.net/ offers the most ubiquitous open source implementation of the protocol. You can get packages for libopenobex and openobex-apps from the sid distribution, and Red Hat packages for openobex can be had from the SourceForge site or on rpmfind.net. Bluetooth actually supports two different OBEX profiles for transferring files: OBEX Push, which is primarily used for dumping individual files to a Bluetooth device, and OBEX File Transfer, which supports a richer set of file exchange operations.

Unfortunately, the present state of the art in Bluetooth file transfer using Linux is still in considerable flux. The openobex-apps package contains an obex_test application, which offers one very rudimentary way of sending files to your Bluetooth devices. First, you need to figure out which Bluetooth channel your phone or other device uses ...

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